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Independent retailers contact Words & Wishes on 01942 233201

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Play Station You know a video game has made it when ITV daytime programme This Morning posts it on its social media page. Fortnite: Battle Royale has more than 125m players worldwide, and the chances are either your children or their friends are already passionate fans. But there are a huge number of more delightful characters, found on cards, that kids are going crazy for. The ‘Attenborough effect’ of Blue Planet II has triggered a ‘shore’-thing for card publishers and their ocean-life character designs as children look with wonder, awe and intrigue at sea creatures. And Peppa Pig reaches her mid-teens and turns 15 next year, but following in her trotters are a flurry of licensed characters, new and old, who are hot properties with children on cards. Focus On Kids’ Cards shares the news, views and new launches in the children’s greeting card market.

Top of the class Revamping and replanning its juvenile offering with a 40% refresh on its children’s cards product (Disney and non-Disney), UK Greetings’ studio has been creating a wealth of new kids’ ranges that are ready to launch. Joining the action-packed Disney favourites, such as Toy Story and Avengers, UKG’s Juvenile line refresh now includes the introduction of new Disney franchises - the new Mickey and the Roadster Races, the ‘fangstastic’ Vampirina and the tail-waggingly good Puppy Dog Pals, as well as a dash of magic and innovation for new look Disney Princess and below: Two new designs. Fairy favourite Tinkerbell and a refreshed Winnie Above Disney designs from UKG. the Pooh join the UKG renewed Disney line-up. Rachel Broadhead, senior product manager of UKG brand, birthday and occasions is excited about the new launch, explaining, “Our new Juvenile refresh is jam-packed with lots of new and exciting product for the birthday girl and birthday boy. Our Disney offering will continue to surprise and delight both retailer and consumer through innovative new product such as pop-ups, lenticulars and a sparkling Disney Cinderella carriage which really brings the Disney magic to life.” Non-Disney juvenile product have been revitalised too, with UKG’s Kindred, Googly Eyes and Boofle ranges all having a design rejuvenation. Rachel adds, “Bright, fun, eye-catching designs add vibrancy, and playful mermaids and cactus characters ensures our line is up to date with all the latest kids trends.” All of the new product will be revealed to the UKG salesforce in December and will be available to order from January 19. 4


Above: Battle Royale is a mass multi-player brawl (with weapons) where 100 players leap out of a flying bus on to a small island and then fight each other until only one is left. The last survivor is the winner.

Me to You joins ‘paws’ with Build-A-Bear Carte Blanche Greetings and Build-A-Bear Workshop have launched a new collaborative teddy bear, bringing Me to You brand to BuildA-Bear Workshop stores across the UK in the form of a Make-Your-Own Tatty Teddy furry friend. Visitors to Build-A-Bear Workshop can make their very own Tatty Teddy furry friend in stores, adding their own personal touches to create a Me to You bear. Head of licensing, Sarah Quigley, says, “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Build-A-Bear Workshop, who have strong synergies with the Me to You brand in giving generations of customers the opportunity to imagine new ways for kids to experience a world of wonder and stories by creating furry friends that can be loved and cherished always.” Above: The Build-A-Bear Tatty Teddy available instore or online.

Teenage picks “Right from the very start of The Taste Buds, we realised that teenagers would be ‘our crowd’, the cheesier our puns the more they love us”, states Sai Pathmanathan, founder of food pun card publisher The Taste Buds. Many teens and tweens follow the publisher on social media, especially Instagram. And it makes sense that the veg and food puns appeals to the young ones, since Sai, a neuro-scientist, works with schools, bringing science, art and literacy to the classroom. And much of her greeting card world has squeezed its way into the education world too. She says, “One of our new pizza designs (above) for Valentine’s Day has inspired a mathematics workshop all about geometry and finances! And a rather weird thing I didn’t envisage happening when appealing to the not-yet-adult… you’ll get orders via text from them!” Find out more about The Taste Buds’ workshops at

Focus on Kids’ Cards is published annually by Max Publishing (publishers of Progressive Greetings). It is distributed with the December edition of Progressive Greetings. Tel: 020 7700 6740 Editor in chief: Jakki Brown ( Deputy Editor: Gale Astley ( Advertisement director: Warren Lomax (

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Caroline Gardner supports Meningitis Now

Playground properties

In celebration of the design-led publisher’s 25th birthday, Caroline Gardner launched a competition for budding artists and young designers aged up to 16 to design a birthday card, with the winning design printed onto card to be sold with all profits going to the Meningitis Now charity. The competition, which attracted lots of fantastic entries from children up and down the country, was won by talented Felicity Hull, aged 8. “We absolutely love this design and the fun use of colour. Having lost her own brother, Oli, to meningitis when he was just seven months old, Felicity’s card stood out for its personal meaning making her card even more poignant,” says cofounder Caroline Gardner. To celebrate the launch of this card and 25 years of Caroline Gardner Publishing, the publisher threw a party at its Marylebone store. Felicity was a VIP and brought her family and friends along to view her printed design for the first time. “It was a great success and a wonderful celebration to launch Felicity’s card in memory of her brother Oli,” said Caroline. Meningitis Now is a cause close to the Caroline Gardner’s team’s hearts, supporting it every year through sales of its charity Christmas cards. The company has now raised in excess of £180,000 for the charity.

Claire Bates, marketing manager for Danilo, reveals some hot licensing properties on its kids’ cards and giftwrap to look out for in 2019:

Above: Felicity with her winning design.

Christmas spirit Paper Salad recently donated a fun and bright bundle of its children’s cards and wrapping paper to Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice for its fundraising Christmas Fair. The publisher has a longstanding relationship with the charity and supply cards and wrapping paper throughout the year as the hospice buys the siblings of the poorly children presents for birthdays to make them feel included too. Left: A thank you card from the hospice to the Paper Salad team in appreciation of their kindness.

Off the shelf Hot off the press are four children’s books card publisher Kali Stileman has illustrated for Make Believe Ideas: Never Feed a Yeti Spaghetti, See You Later Alligator, No Probllama and Reindeer’s Nosy Christmas - all with fun, interactive touch and feel elements and engaging rhymes, and all available now - plus two more in the pipeline! Above: The No Probllama book illustrated by Kali.

Gemma celebrates Peppa Next year is going to be Peppa Pig’s biggest yet as she celebrates her 15th anniversary! The popular pig and her family is officially the number one preschool brand and Gemma is excited to announce that Peppa, George and a mix of their old and new friends will adorn a new children’s range (left) to coincide with Peppa’s celebrations. Also creating a stir for 2019 is the release of the live action Pokeman movie, Detective Pikachu, starring Ryan Reynolds. Pokemon is the largest selling digital gaming brand and Gemma’s super bold colourful designs bring a new, refreshed look to its Pokémon card range.

l Zog - Zog is the keenest dragon in school. He's also the most accident-prone. Luckily, a mysterious little girl always comes by and patches up his bumps and bruises. But will she be able to help him with his toughest test: capturing a princess? Danilo will also be looking to build new lines using Zog, the new animation being broadcast on the BBC this Christmas. l Doctor Who - The new series, starring first female Doctor Jodie Whittaker, was launched on 7 October and has an average of 9.1million viewers per episode so far. Danilo will be launching a new, updated card range for Doctor Who cards in Spring 2019. l Trolls - based on the original Trolls created in Denmark in 1959, a new animated series is coming to Netflix in 2019 and the second movie ‘Trolls World Tour’ is set to launch in April 2020. Danilo’s new official card range will match the vibrant colourful feel of Trolls (right) and will be aimed primarily at Girls 6-9 with a variety of relational and birthday captions. l Hello Kitty - This famous Japanese character

created in 1974 is a global marketing phenomenon worth $6Billion per year. Hello Kitty’s iconic imagery has appeal amongst all age groups with its iconic imagery. Danilo will be creating a card range that will mirror the cool and attractive appeal of this renowned brand. l How to Train Your Dragon 3 - February 2019 sees

the release of the third instalment of How to Train Your Dragon. The original movies and the Netflix animated series have all proved hugely successful with key themes focusing on dragons, friendship, heroes and adventure. Danilo will be publishing an official card range featuring key characters such as Hiccup and Toothless and will incorporate birthday, relational and ages 6-10 captions. l Ugly Dolls - Based on the Ugly Dolls launched in

2001, a new animated movie is due to hit cinemas in August 2019. Celebrating what makes us different, unique and special, Danilo will be publishing an Official Ugly Dolls card range in line with its primary audience of Girls age 6-10 years. l The Secret Life of Pets 2 - Pet

lovers will be excited to see the return of The Secret Life of Pets (right) with the second movie coming to our screens in May 2019. Following on from the critically acclaimed first film, Follow Max the Jack Russell and his furry friends on a new adventure. Danilo will expand its existing range of fantastic card and wrap range. FOCUS ON KIDS CARDS














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Shell-ebrating Ocean Life

Below left: A gorgeous octopi on a Kiddiwinks design from Think of Me.

Ancient and mysterious, the spiky, jellied, clawed and toothed, crazy and weird looking life that lurks in the depths of our oceans has long been a source of intrigue, even more so for children’s fertile imaginations. And then there are the mythical under-the-sea creatures, mermaids, and their siren stories. Then, when David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II documentary graced our screens it bought home to all of us that plastic is harming these beautiful, enigmatic animals, and we should respect the oceans more, especially for the next generation. With a wave of ocean-life illustrations awash on children’s card designs, publishers ‘shell-ebrate’ the deep blue.

“Over the past 18 months we have seen a big increase in sales of our ocean-themed designs in our popular Kiddiwinks range. I think there are several reasons for this. Environmentally, the oceans are a very pervasive topic right now. We’re all talking about it. The world is finally coming round to realising the damage that is being done to the oceans, and attempts are being made to reverse that damage. We’re fortunate to live next to the Pacific Ocean and we, and our children, participate in ocean and beach clean-ups that are held here in California, explains Dan Kane, managing director for Think Of Me Designs. Magical, mythical subject matter has always appealed to a child’s imagination, and the ocean is no different, believes Dan. “The ocean is bigger than ourselves, it’s both enticing and frightening, we can’t exist under it (at least not for very long) and so it lends itself well to flights of fancy. Being a keen scuba-diver, I Two of The Great British Card Company’s know that when you go beneath the surface of card designers share what they believe is the ocean you could be on another planet. the appeal of mythical It’s not an environment we’re used to being sealife on kids’ cards: in, and that unknown quality lends itself to a “Little girls have always wanted to be mermaids, and child’s fertile imagination.” narwhales are an endangered Connected to the Kali Stileman team, species very similar to the Rafferty Collins mythical unicorn.”- Jessica loves turtles Johnson, illustrator. “because they “I always loved the float with their magic of Disney as a child shells on their and living by the seaside in Blackpool, I would backs!” he says. get my Dad to take me to my swimming club Right: Rafferty and his an hour early so that I could pretend I was a favourite turtle toy. mermaid.” - Miki Rose, illustrator. Above: Beautiful ocean creatures on a design from GBCC.

“The wonderful thing about sea-life being featured on greeting cards is that it offers up such amazing creative opportunities to use beautiful colours on the creatures themselves, and on the sun filtering through the water ripples. It’s that fascinating underwater world where all sorts of fantastic creatures can squirt ink, blow huge fountains of water, have eight legs and snappy pinchers.” - Helen Pallen, business development and marketing manager for Cherry Orchard Above: Taken in the Galapagos last year with Helen Pallen’s friend’s little girl having her laces nibbled by a nosy seal.



Left: A Pusheen mermaid design from Hype.

Right: The latest Simon Elvin ranges for kids show the publisher bang on trend with the sea-life imagery so popular at the moment.

“We are launching a brand new collection of oceanic cards and gift dressing in January! The gift dressings will feature beautiful holographic foil in a shell pattern and the cards are set in an enchanting underwater party with mermaids, sea-unicorns, coral and pearl disco balls! Who wouldn’t want an invite to that party! We’ve been working hard on these new looks, and we’re so excited to launch them - as we often say in the studio, ‘no grit, no pearl’!” - Anna Price, head of design for Hotchpotch Above: A silver foiled disco ball pearl at a mermaid party – from Hotchpotch.

“The trend for mermaids really captures the imagination, for children and adults alike. It has origins in The Little Mermaid and can now be found on everything from mermaid-tail blankets to stationery - plus our cute range for children, Jack & Lily. We all love the idea of escaping to a magical kingdom under the sea and that’s what has given this trend such longevity.” - Amelia Strawson, marketing manager for Ling Design Above: Copper foiling on an under the sea design from Ling.

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“Children find underwater creatures fascinating and a little bit funny. It's the strange eyes, tentacles and bulbous heads that make them giggle. They also love the mystery of the sea, the fact that you never really know what's deep down there on the ocean floor. Whales are a big winner too. Their size is aweinspiring and the infrasonic noises they make are magical. My daughter Pearl loves octopuses. It's the number of arms they have and the way they pulse and move in the water.” Michelle Porter, writer & editor for Lagom Design Pearl Rose (age 8) - daughter of Michelle C Porter - writer and editor for Lagom Design, with Pearl's best friend Elisa (age 8): Pearl and Elisa love fish because, "Fishes are pretty." They think the message 'Best Fishes' on this Lagom card make it perfect to send to your BFF. Above: Shark tales - a card from Lagom. Left: Pearl and Elisa with the Lagom pretty fish design.

“For many children of a certain age, the sea (and its unique inhabitants) is very much a mythical destination. And the sheer excitement of ‘going to the seaside’ is still just as prevalent in adults as it is the young, especially if you don’t live as close to the coast as you would like. It’s the combination of undiscovered play area and amazing sea life that continually gives the ocean its magical appeal. For both of my children, they currently have a slight obsession with baby sharks… can’t think why. (Luca age 5 and Heidi age 2).” - Ross Harrison, business development manager for Laura Darrington Design Right: A design from Laura Darrington’s new The Scribbles Collection.

“The trend of oceanic life and mythical sealife characters seems to be largely triggered by David Attenborough’s Blue Planet. This amazing documentary has generated a much-needed wave of environmental awareness. The ocean covers more than 70% of the planet’s surface, but incredibly we have only explored about 5% of this. What lives underneath the waves is fascinating to both adults and children; it’s an otherworldly and unexplored environment! Oceanic animals such as narwhals have swum their way into children’s hearts because they are so unusual and beautiful - a unicorn of the sea… almost something from our imagination!” Jojo Norris, senior designer for Paper Rose Above: Paper Rose’s Jojo’s Jungle designs have holographic foil with embossed detail.

“I think the underwater world fascinates children and adults alike and it’s a world that we rarely get to see with our own eyes, which makes you want to know more. Hopefully learning and seeing what lives down in the deep gives children a fascinating insight into another world!” Jonathan Crosby, director of Stripey Cats Right: Stripey Cats have added new designs to its popular Marine World range, Larry the Lobster being one of the new characters to swim alongside Percy Pufferfish, Clive the Clownfish and Selma Seahorse. FOCUS ON KIDS CARDS


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Party Games Everybody has a special day in the year celebrating when they were born, but when you’re young and little it’s an even bigger deal… not only is there cake, balloons, games and gifts, there’s a ginormous array of fun greeting cards to help mark the occasion. Focus On Kids’ Cards spotlights some new range arrivals. l This January Caroline Gardner is

launching some fantastic new children’s giftwrap to match its successful kids’ Playground card range. For boys, CG brings under the sea onto paper with fun shark, turtle and whales swimming around the paper in party hats among starfish and sea horses! For girls, there are sweet little bunnies, elephants and bears dancing around in their ballet outfits! The happy birthday titles are finished in gold foil for both wraps, adding that little bit of fun and luxury! GWL500.indd 1

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l Hallmark’s latest Lego minifigure range is

Mermaid, for fans of mythical creatures! These fun age cards, with just a hint of sparkle, feature ‘unicorny’ puns and are sure to delight the magic-lovers in your life. Bang on trend, how could anyone fail to love these ‘fairy’ lovely cards?! All at size 70 and price code 50 or 75, these are perfect for little LEGO fans who want something that is on trend and fun! l Launching at Top Drawer in January,

Hotchpotch’s new Sticky Toffee collection of children’s cards are die-cut with cute characters in fun scenes. Each card comes with a set of super-tactile puffy foam stickers that can be used to stick on the card or on the birthday girl/boy! Available with Birthday and ages 1-5 captions for both boys and girls, themes and trends include mermaids, llamas, superheroes, space, circus, jungle, swans and unicorns! Kids can’t seem to get enough of stickers and incorporating them into the cards adds another dimension of fun for their birthday! l Introducing the new Oi! range from Woodmansterne, based on the

bestselling Oi Frog! Oi Dog! and Oi Cat! series of books. The cards feature character illustrations from award-winning pairing Kes Gray and 10


Jim Field and are jam-packed with silliness and rhyming animal fun. Parrots will sit on carrots, foxes will sit on boxes, puffins will sit on muffins and of course there will be a frog on a log! l New to Lagom Design is the Magic

Numbers series of age-specific birthday cards by Kelly Hyatt. Bold and colourful, the numbers are printed using spot UV to create a super shiny finish. The digits are also embossed and the cards are adorned with gold foil. There are nine designs in the range, and each comes with a ‘yellow mellow’ envelope. l Laura Darrington has recently

launched its newest children's range: The Scribbles Collection. Comprising 32 fresh designs, with age cards up to 10 in both boy and girl styles, the collection caters for the budding mermaid, unicorn, pirate or dinosaur. The cards retail at £2.25 and come complete with a printed envelope. For more info please mail on l Pink Pig's kids age cards really stand out on the shelf with bright bold colours against crisp white backgrounds. Ages 1-10, with separate designs for girls and boy ages, the 150mm square cards are printed on beautiful heavy weight FSC board and are cellowrapped with a mint envelope, for girls, and an ivory envelope for the boys’ range. Sold in packs of six. l Gemma’s Super Mario range is powering up with striking new-look designs. Super Mario from Nintendo is one of the most beloved characters in the global entertainment industry. The world’s most famous plumbers, Mario and Luigi feature on Gemma’s striking new card range. The range includes ages five to nine, no age and key relations. And, much loved brand, Mr Men Little Miss will brighten up card displays with Gemma’s bright and bold designs featuring Roger Hargreaves’ highly recognisable and wellloved characters - includes ages three to five, open, relations and occasions captions.

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l UKG has a gorgeous new

array of recently launched children’s ranges. One of which is its Disney Innovation collection, which is full of lenticular fun and pop-up pumpkin carriages…. and more! - adding a dash of Disney magic to any child’s special day! Code 530-550 (RRP £3.45- £4.55) l Redback Cards has a flamazing selection of cards for children... and not just cards; there are cute little enamel pins fit for collecting and pinning to kids’ bags and coats too! The Pinata range consists of colour-popping cards with stunning pins and lovely sentiments foiled to create a beautiful message. The recipient can keep the gorgeous enamel pin, long after their card has been lovingly displayed, to show their friends. l Second Nature has recently launched

two brand new kids age cards, as well as some general juvenile cards: Scribble Bear (ages 1–8 boy and girl) RRP £1.99. Hand-sketched with love, hand-finished with die-cuts, gems or sequins and exclusively designed by Tracey Russell for Second Nature, Scribble Bear is simply adorable! Hullabaloo (ages 1–8 boy and girl) RRP £1.49. Beautifully hand-painted characters bring this fun range to life, even cuter with googly eyes, gems or sequins and sparkly flitter. Paper Dazzle (3D general juvenile range) are show-stopping 3D cards decorated with pom poms, bows, tassels among other exciting hand-finishes. l Helen Wiseman’s new kids Age range is colourfully illustrated with popular characters and added foil and glitter stars. For ages 1-8 for both boys and girls, the A6 brightly coloured cards are complete with on-trend neon envelopes finishing off the funky look. l Pippi & Me is launching its new children’s range in January! The small new range from Pippi & Me, Miniminis, is super-cute, featuring adorable miniature creatures for young children, age cards and happy birthdays! Featuring tiny felted kittens, puppies, teddies, unicorns and snails, each design is 130mm

square in size and come individually cellowrapped with an envelope (85p + VAT). l Perfect for keeping the kids

entertained for a while, publisher and illustrator Shelli Graham has just launched her latest range, More than a Card. This brand new collection includes Build your Own Snowman and Build Your Own Christmas Tree cards in which the Christmas card itself can be transformed into a festive ornament. There is also a Christmas card that when folded flat becomes a fun gingerbread-themed board game. l Jane Houghton has some fab

Mini Animal Party Invitations, which are perfect for a little one's birthday party, featuring adorable illustrated woodland animals having a good knees-up! Printed onto 300gsm uncoated white card and finished with rounded corners, each postcard measures 105mm square and is accompanied by harvest yellow, bright turquoise and raspberry pink envelopes. Jane also offers some super-cute dinky Thank You cards, just what you need for your little one to say a big thank you after their birthday party. l A few of many little girls’ favourite things are all bought together in Marina B’s new range Little Lilly B! The collection has a wide range of themes based on what little girls love to do and play, such as horses and unicorns, budding artists, rainbows and flowers. All cards come with a funky envelope and cellowrapped. l Raspberry Blossom’s ‘Party Animals’ collection is perfect for little explorers who have a taste for the wild side. The safari themed collection is filled with brightly coloured and playful characters that are celebrating birthdays in a big way. Due to the collection’s popularity, the publisher now produces bespoke prints featuring the name of the child on the front of a truck being driven by their favourite animal characters. FOCUS ON KIDS CARDS


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Ringing The Bell What children’s card ranges are currently chiming with retailers’ customers? Who’s who in the kids’ design trends arena - are unicorns, dinosaurs, superheroes or mermaids holding their own? And could there be any tweaks made to designs, especially in the teens ‘assembly’? Focus On Kids’ Cards asks a studious bunch of independent card retailers to report back to class.

Denise Laird, owner of Spirito, Glasgow:

Julia Keeling, managing director of Wishes of Cudworth, Yorkshire: Class favourites: “Cherry Orchard’s Aloha! range is so playful and such great fun. They are contemporary cards with foil and flitter, featuring everything from robots to llamas. Additionally, Nigel Quiney does a great range of animal birthday cards featuring cute critters like monkeys, koalas and tigers which are colourful, bold and very relatable to younger children. Both ranges hit the right price point too, which is always a bonus.” Trends & themes: “Unicorns and flamingoes are very much still on trend but things change really quickly. Teddy bears never go out of fashion and, keeping up with the animal theme, I’ve seen lots of little mice and rabbits. Hallmark is great for the Disney and Marvel characters, with the modern classics like Toy Story, Frozen and Cars still popular. Plus Harry Potter bridges the age ranges as children have grown up with the books/films.” Publisher tweaks: “Older children are tricky as trends change so quickly and publishers need to be ahead of the game. Older children are just as likely to be into YouTube, reality TV and games like Fortnite than movies. It was interesting to see Topshop forming a partnership with Netflix to produce Stranger Things merchandise as it’s tapping into modern pop culture. For the tweens my customers sometimes are unsure of a child’s age so want an open card and not necessary themed to a hobby as they don’t want to pick something uncool. Bright patterns and funky modern fonts tend to do well.” Top: Julia Keeling amongst the flamingoes cards in her store. Above: Aloha! from Cherry Orchard has everything from Robots to llamas.



Class favourites: “Current favourites with customers for children are Paper Salad with its bright colours and designs, Rachel Ellen with gold glitter, and also Claire Giles’ children’s designs in its Pom Pom range will definitely be a hit with the fabulous large brightly coloured age numbers. We are increasingly being asked for more gender neutral cards especially for babies, with neutral tones and designs instead of the more traditional baby colours.” Above: Claire Giles’ Pom Pom range is Trends & themes: “We find that themes a neon winner! that are popular on children’s ranges are those that appeal to adults also. The popularity of unicorns continues to go from strength to strength, as does pom poms and anything with fashionable colour palettes and cool, quirky characters. With children’s cards, we find the purchase often says more about the style of the buyer rather than the recipient.” Publisher tweaks: “Trends come and go so quickly in the social media age, and it is very important for designers and publishers to be able to spot trends and react very quickly. This is particularly true of the very fashion conscious teen market where ‘coolness’ is so important, and the use of really current teen words and phrases helps to make the cards more appealing - although it can be vary tricky to get right, and if you get it wrong it can end up as the greeting card equivalent of dad dancing!”

Debbie Hatch, partner of Paper Moon, Dore, Sheffield: Class favourites: “Our most popular publishers for children’s cards are Paper Salad, Rachel Ellen and Pigment’s Happy Jackson range, which is by far our best selling children’s range, especially in the higher ages. The designs are bright with fun wording and totally cool! Our customers don’t have to worry about buying a card that may not suit the child’s taste.” Trends & themes: “Unicorns are huge and are still our most popular image on a card. Our customers also love anything bright and cute.” Publisher tweaks: “There’s not a lot out there that’s different for the higher ages and tweens, usually it will just be a number on a background, this is why Happy Jackson stands out with the extra fun wording. It’s difficult to buy a card with a definite image for this age group, as they will all have different hobbies and interests, so an image that will suit one young person won’t suit another. Maybe a play on words, fun and jokey, is the way to go with this age group.” Left: Rachel Ellen has magical cards.

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Sue Bowler, partner of Bourne End Cards & Gifts, Bourne End, Buckinghamshire: Class favourites: “Within our juvenile offering Paperlink’s beautiful laser-cut range, Lacie, and Amaretto with its coloured foils, are great for teens, and Pigment’s Happy Jackson range is bright and modern with young age designs. UKG is our major supplier and it is very good at revamping its ranges, including its children’s offering. Paper Rose has also recently refreshed its Sugar Pips range, and its Marzipan Toybox is glittery, has wobbly eyes and is very neon - both are really popular. On the licensed front, Peppa Pig (from Gemma) remains a favourite with the little ones.” Trends & themes: “Unicorns are definitely up there in both adult and children’s designs, as well as sloths and llamas, and lots of neon colours. Paperlink’s Bangers & Flash range has been updated with neon shades with numbers on a patterned background and silver highlights, and Pigment’s Happy News’ sloth and llama designs are ridiculously popular.” Publisher tweaks: “Some card publishers’ designs are too juvenile for the children’s age. These days even small children are older than they used to be. They seem to grow up faster.” Above: Pigment’s Happy Jackson children’s designs are bright and contemporary.

Ros Jones, owner of Celtic Company, Welshpool, Powys: Class favourites: “Our top sellers are the Twingles range from Jonny Javelin and the newly up-dated ranges of 100% Kids from Abacus, which have just arrived. Our current favourite (and I know I’m blowing my own trumpet) is our own new range which we have just released - it has been very well-received and is selling through. Mama Bear is built around appealing woodland characters” Trends & themes: “We are finding that generic products with unicorns and dinosaurs are very popular. Giftwrap UK has a very strong range of bags and wrap and we have a lot of giftware and plush that we cross-sell with these. As far as licensing goes, it is Danilo’s Paw Patrol and Gruffalo all the way - now that Danilo is being represented by Words ‘n’ Wishes for indies we are dipping our toe into licensing for the first time and it's all good so far.” Publisher tweaks: “The teenage cards that are bought by adults tend to play safe - football, fashion, cute pictures of animals etc. We find we can go a bit more edgy (Happy Jackson from Pigment for example) here and there, but not too much. As a mum whose kids are now all out of their teens, it was usually humour that hit the spot - with the over-riding appeal of the actual cards taking second place to the money they hoped was inside!” Above: Built around woodland friends, Allf-a-Bet’s new Mama Bear range

Chris Beards, Mantons Cards, Port Erin, Isle of Man: Class favourites: “Mantons - being a card specialist with a large store - means we are able to stock the full range of children's age and relation cards, and customers love being able to choose titles such as ‘Nephew on Your 8th Birthday’ etc. Publishers we stock in our kids ranges include Molly Mae, Rachel Ellen and Noel Tatt. We don't see a particular gap in our kids ranges but we are always happy to look at adding new ranges and publishers.” Trends & themes: “Mermaids, sports, cartoon animals and dinosaurs are popular at the moment. We also sell a large selection of quality children's clothing and gifts so our children's cards also compliment our offering.” Above: Molly Mae has a amazing array of children’s cards.

Sally Matson, owner of Red Card, Petworth: Class favourites: “Our most popular kids’ ranges are Tache and Rachel Ellen and always Quentin Blake from Woodmansterne. We also sell a huge amount of Redback’s Liz Climo cards because they are very funny and cute but not offensive many of them are also relatable to current events and trends like climate change and being kind to each other. Tache’s cards sell because they are a bit different and the animals (meerkats, sloths and lots of dogs) are a bit bonkers. Rachel Ellen, especially her age cards, are favourites because they are gorgeously bright and glittery, and Quentin Blake is popular because the cards feature kids doing things - ie riding skateboards, reading, hanging upside down in trees.” Trends & themes: “Unicorns, dinosaurs, anything with animals and the Quentin Blake range are big themes at the moment. The grandparent market tends to be the main buyers for the Quentin Blake because it is a big range and there is a likeness for every child somewhere in the range.” Publisher tweaks: “The junior market (up to 8 years old-ish) is pretty well covered, but the teens and tweens market does need a shakeup. We find that U Studio’s 1000 Words range works well for that age range because they are photographic cards and a bit crazy. Card designers need to acknowledge the relevance of music and Playstations/Xboxes etc in the lives of this age group - they love humour (especially memes) and they love things that are quirky. All these kids follow loads of different pages on Instagram that have memes on them - if these were translated onto greeting cards they would be a huge hit - I suppose the challenge is that often they are very topical - a bit like daily newspaper cartoons.” Above: A quirky design from Woodmansterne’s Quentin Blake range.

Stuart Britton, partner of Occasions, Highcliffe, Dorset: Class favourites: “For our children’s ranges we pretty much deal with UKG and Noel Tatt simply because they offer such a huge variety. We stick to generic relations and age designs rather than licensed collections as we have a very elderly customer-base and they haven’t got a handle of what’s on trend for children. What’s important to them is the card’s title and words, such as To a Special Grandson or Great Granddaughter.” Publisher tweaks: “I think having such a wide selection of designs from Noel Tatt and UKG, the collection hits the design and theme mark in one way or another.” Right: UKG’s puppy, Boofle, goes up and away. FOCUS ON KIDS CARDS


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Merry Go Round Merry-making animals in the party mood, donning cone-hats or paper crowns and grasping big balloons and beautifully wrapped gifts, are the joyful menagerie on this year’s finalists and winner in The Henries Best Children’s Range category this year. And diving into the ocean’s depths, the celebrations continue, with octopi, turtles and mermaids having a watery ‘whale’ of a time. While those special little extra touches, such as badges, die-cuts or wobbly eyes, really help bring the animal magic to life. Tapping into their inner child, the imaginative minds behind these kids cards ranges reveal the inspiration behind the collection and rudimental elements to consider when designing children's cards.

Zoo Lane from Paper Salad Karen Wilson, co-director of Paper Salad:

WINNER OF THE BEST CHILDREN’S RANGE CATEGORY 2018 Party Popper from Cinnamon Aitch Sara Burford, co-director for Cinnamon Aitch: “Cinnamon Aitch is really thrilled to have won a Henries award for our children’s range Party Popper. It was a really fun range for me to work on. First came this idea for a name, and the range really needed to live up to that, something noisy, colourful and a sure fire sign of a party, was called for… Time for a change in direction from previous ranges, stop thinking in sophisticated neutrals or minimal monochrome and all those other tasteful grown-up design choices, and time to unleash the inner child. Go bright, go bold, even better go… neon! So with a mantra of ‘more is more’ when it came to the colour, vivid and vibrant combinations became key to making eye-catching, happy imagery that would appeal to children. A cute menagerie of animals fell into place, the style developed from experimenting with homemade printing, stamping and overlaying texture, inspired by that childlike-love of potato-printing and hand-printing. Party Popper imagery is simple with a naïve charm, and engagingly full of friendly faces and oodles of personality. There are cheeky faces, mischievous looks, party hats and lots of skipping, jumping and animal antics, and of course giant balloons. Recently launched new additions bring the range to 28 C6 designs and six little card packs, that are proving to be a winner with youngsters everywhere.” Above: Party Popper cards are super-colourful, with neon highlights and a bright colour co-ordinated envelope.



“We have always been known for designing children’s cards, we think it’s because of the bright colour palette that we use throughout our ranges, we also really love designing kids’ cards over everything else - we just find it fun! We don’t have inspiration as such, we just start by drawing icons that are popular with children at the time. Unicorns are still the number one best seller, followed by superheroes and dinosaurs, and we always add one or two new ‘on trend’ characters too - our pink dinosaur has also been a hit! We love playing with the colours and try to make the characters as cute as possible. Our award winning Zoo Lane range is our favourite to date. We decided to go to town with the envelope on this collection and even incorporated it into the design, so that the bright rainbow part can be seen even while it is still in the cello bag. This definitely adds to the appeal and also helps with our brand awareness!” Below: Paper Salad’s Zoo Lane range has a stunning envelope to accompany each card.

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Marzipan from Paper Rose

Hoot Parade from U Studio Design

Beverley Edge, artist of the Marzipan range:

Rob Hodgson, designer of Hoot Parade from U Studio:

“The Marzipan/Toybox brand has been a stable collection throughout my career, yet there are always new ways to explore the clay medium - whether it’s a new and brighter colour palette, new techniques to try or how we can adapt printing processes to enhance the best look for a 3D creation. My inspiration stems from childhood memories of creative 'rainy day' afternoons, and my Mum constantly having to keep me entertained with crafts. You have to keep pushing your limits and exploring your craft if you want to achieve something different and fresh, and it’s through this process that ideas are generated.” Child’s play: “I love seeing the world through a child's eyes and I like to think about the personalities that each character would have when I make them. I think about how they would move and play, what their interests are, are they cheeky or a little timid? I also Keep up to date with current trends of animal options and making sure there is enough of a mixture on offer to suit both boys and girls interests. As an illustrator, I have to think about the attraction of a card from an adult and child perspective. It has to appeal to both straight away. This section of the industry is up against a lot of licensed characters, most of which children are familiar with, they are comfortable with them and know the character's background from either TV or books. So you have to make your characters stand out and invite your buyers in to a world of new imagination and play.” Above and right: The Marzipan range from Paper Rose really stands out from the crowd.

“The main inspiration was trying to do a fun updated version of the badge cards you used to get as a kid. I tried to do a healthy mix of weird and cute and funny characters. There is a banana mad monkey, a penguin floating its way to a party on an iceberg, a one-eyed hairy monster and a dancing ladybird among the 12 designs, so hopefully something for everyone! The characters are mostly animals and working out which ones could fit inside a circular badge was a challenge in the beginning. I knew I wanted each card to incorporate the character and badge in a seamless way, and once we decided to put the badge in the middle of the design and use it as the face or body, then the characters started falling into place. Some of the fun was in designing how the badge looks when you remove it from the card - the spider for example, looks like a spider with the correct number of legs and eyes (eight of each if you’re wondering!), but when you take the badge away it becomes this cool monster face that looks nothing like a spider. I think that is really fun, that the badge can take on another life outside of the card and not just be something you wear on your birthday.” Child’s play: “Most important when designing children’s cards - Don’t speak down to kids when you’re designing anything, because they are smarter than you are.” Above and right: U Studio’s Hoot Parade, created by Rob Hodgson, is a fun (and weird) take on the traditional badge card.

Paper Gallery Juvenile Ages from The Great British Card Company Nick Adsett, group product director of GBCC: “We decided last year at GBCC to do a long overdue revamp of our kids’ cards which resulted in over 100 new designs being created from scratch. Accordingly, we needed to split that heavy workload between several different illustrators to ensure that we had a balance of different looks and could hit our prescribed deadline. The principal themes were: undersea world; tropical jungle; cool & crazy characters; space & dinosaurs; and storybook. We then differentiated further by the process content; large scale numbers; different sizes and price points; inclusion of relations titles; soft cutes; badge cards; graphic illustration style; detailed whimsy; fun character and finally graphic digital for the teen sends. Our Henries’ nominated range fell within the fun character genre, featuring die-cut square cards with boggly eyes, within our Paper Gallery range. The cards range from ages 1-6 and feature elephants, bunnies, cats, owls, crocodiles, monkeys, whales, dinosaurs, lions, unicorns and tigers - an eclectic mix! This range was one of the last to be designed so had the advantage of seeing what had gone before. We decided we needed something fun for the younger ones which could take the manic boggly eyes, but still slightly edgy.” Child’s play: “Fun, bright, great value for money!” Above and right: GBCC’s Paper Gallery Juvenile Ages features an eclectic menagerie mix.



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Focus On Kids Supplement 2018  
Focus On Kids Supplement 2018