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Focus On Humour News

Comic Relief Actors from well-loved RomCom Love Actually, and veterans of pop Take That, were among the huge number of famous faces who were raring to make fools of themselves to make us laugh and to support the recent Red Nose Day. And with the British public taking part in weird, wonderful and slightly wacky fundraiser events to raise money to help others less fortunate too, Comic Relief this year raised over £73 million from generous donations… and there were a lot of giggles along the way. It just goes to show that as a nation we like a good chuckle, a witty pun or some clever satire (especially as a relief in uncertain times), and as ever, humorous greeting cards are reflecting our tittering tastes. Focus On Humour Cards takes (a laughing) stock of the news, views and fresh card launches in this sector of the market. Celebrity Watch Earlier this month, Rosie Harrison, founder of Rosie Made A Thing, was excited to hear that This Morning’s Ruth Langsford had received Rosie’s Leopard Skin design for her birthday from Rylan Clark-Neal from the X-Factor. Never grow up Drink champagne on a space hopp er Ruth posted the card on social media with the message ‘Thankyou Rylan for your fantastic birthday card... ain’t that the truth babe!!’ She later tweeted Rosie that she loved it. Retailer, By The Way in Bradford On Avon, also let Rosie know that her Space Hopper card was bought for author Jilly Cooper on her 80th birthday! Above: The Rosie Made A Card design that Jilly Cooper received.

Ohh Deer’s Mr. Men Makeover Who didn't giggle at Mr. Tickle stretching his long long arms through windows and around corners to surprise an unsuspecting victim of his tickle-attack, making them twitch and laugh uncontrollably? Or those times when we suppressed a chuckle when Mr. Bump, the Mr Bean of the Mr. Men tribe, had another horrible accident and yet another bandage was applied. Well, now the Mr. Men and Little Miss characters have joined the Ohh Deer greeting card community, albeit with a twist in their illustrative style, in a licensing tie-up with Sanrio (owner of Mr. Men & Little Miss). Ohh Deer illustrator, John Bond, has redesigned the iconic Mr.Men and Little Miss characters, with the publisher releasing all the designs as greeting cards and coasters with stationery launching towards the end of this year. John is well-known for his quirky and funny illustrations, but even he found the responsibility of redesigning these classic characters a daunting task. He says: “When Ohh Deer asked if I would be interested in redesigning some of the Mr.Men/Little Miss characters, I had to re-read the email a couple of times to ascertain if it was some kind of joke. No joke! The prospect of working on such an iconic (and personally nostalgic) Above and above left: Two of John brand was as exciting as it was daunting. Bond’s slightly wonky and lovable Mr. I didn’t want to compromise the Men illustrations from Ohh Deer. simplicity and playfulness of Roger Hargreaves’ original designs, so I kept colours and brushstrokes to a minimum, only adding detail where totally necessary. For me, the key feature in creating a fun, engaging, relatable character are the eyes. Big, small, wonky, it’s all about the eyes!”

Contents 5-7 10-11 13-17 19 20-21

Overview A Question Of Taste New Launches Retailers’ Views Humour Ranges' Artists

Editor in chief: Jacqueline Brown ( Main contributor and Deputy editor: Gale Astley ( Advertisement director: Warren Lomax (

Focus On Humour is published annually by Max Publishing (publishers of Progressive Greetings). It is distributed with the May edition of Progressive Greetings. Max Publishing, United House, North Road, London, N7 9DP Tel: 020 7700 6740 FOCUS ON HUMOUR 2017


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Focus On Humour News

Buddy Goes On-Demand

Granny’s Bad Language Hits Social Media

Humorous card publisher, Buddy Fernandez, is getting personal with its print-on-demand service across its whole range. That not only means the Buddy boys can expand their range to over 500 designs this year - including new illustration and photography ranges - but it also gives their retail customers a chance to have bespoke designs just for them! Prowler in Soho has already taken up the option, with Buddy coming up with a load of very naughty humour cards made especially for its London store. The designs were so good they made the store’s window display, and they’ve already re-ordered due to high demand. Email Buddy on if you’d like them to come up with some unique designs for you.

‘Terrific Wonderful Awesome Tremendous’ is the lovely birthday message on a Redback Cards' design that Henry Fraser’s grandma thought she would send to her grandson to highlight his best qualities. However, granny didn't fully understand the acronym, which, when the initial letters of those words are placed together, spell out TWAT. Henry, a disabled mouth artist, posted the picture on Twitter, saying: "Got this birthday card from my grandma. The sentiment is beautiful, but she didn't realise what the card was trying to say!" The post has been a big hit on social Above: The Redback card that Henry media, with 4.3k shares from website Lad Bible Fraser’s granny sent him. alone ( And, as a result of the online story, Redback Cards’ co-founder, Chris Stanley, has kindly donated the ‘Terrific’ card design and all the sales royalties for Henry's chosen charity, The Matt Hampson Foundation, a fantastic charity inspiring and supporting young people seriously injured through sport (

Top: Buddy Fernandez has helped its customers which greeting card path to take by offering its cards under the banners of naughty (featured) and nice (with a halo). Above: One of Buddy Fernandez’s tamer card designs from its Old Enough to Remember range.

Witty Women Of Cartoon History

Shark Tales

Recently opened at The Cartoon Museum London’s Bloomsbury, card publisher Cath Tate Cards is sponsoring and co-curating The Inking Woman - the first comprehensive exhibition of British women cartoonists and comic artists in the UK. For the first time the work of more than 50 women from the 18th century to the present day will be shown together, illustrating the changing ways women have viewed themselves in society and been viewed by society. Up to the mid-20th century women had to counter the common misconception that ‘women don’t have a sense of humour’ and some published only using their surnames, hiding that they were women. Then in the 1980s and 1990s the new ideas of the women’s movement fed through to cartoonists who saw themselves as ‘women’ cartoonists who began to tackle topics previously hidden from ‘polite’ society such as sexuality and gender roles. The exhibition also illustrates the changing media that cartoons have appeared in over the past 250 years. There are prints from the 18th century, mass produced newspapers, magazines, postcards and comics through to videos, self-published zines and modern online publishing, and of course, greeting cards! The exhibition will feature women cartoonists that Cath Tate first published on greeting cards over the past 30 years. Cath reveals: “I am helping to curate The Inking Woman exhibition, particularly the section that covers the women I was working with in the 80s and 90s. I started publishing postcards and then greeting cards using work by women cartoonists in the late 1980s and then became aware of how many really good cartoonists were around at the time that were virtually unknown. I wanted then to have an exhibition to show people how much talent there was and finally, now some 25 years later, it is happening!” Cath adds: “The exhibition came about when I was with cartoonist Kate Charlesworth, and publisher of graphic novels, Corrine Pearlmann from Myriad Publications. We approached Anita O’Brien who runs The Cartoon Gallery and she agreed to have it in her gallery. Funny, political, timely and historical, its the first show if its kind and not to be missed! The Inkling Woman at The Cartoon Museum in Bloomsbury is open from 26 April to 24 July 2017.

Michelle Hickling, designer for Coulson Macleod, has been having fishy flashbacks since the recent launch of the publisher’s funny ‘Fishy Business’ range, featuring the everyday concerns of the fish world. Reliving a scaly moment, Michelle, who was aged 10 at the time, came home to find her beloved pet goldfish, Barney Rubble, floating upside down. Michelle believes that Fred Flintstone, her sister’s goldfish, who was bigger, had bullied him to death. Her Dad without realising then asked who wanted fish ‘n’ chips for dinner. Barney, at this point, was being eaten by Fred. Needless to say Michelle is scarred for life.

Above: British female cartoonist from the 18th century to present day will be exhibited at The Inking Woman exhibition. Above left: A Grizelda design from Cath Tate Cards.


Below: A design from Coulson Macleod’s Fishy Business range.

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Focus On Humour News Blessed Be Thy Humour Heritage Art & Design (HA&D) is delighted to be entering into the humorous greeting card market with its new range The Vicar of Scribbly, available from May 2017. Launching with 15 everyday designs and eight Christmas designs, the range will be offered to independent retailers via Gift Wrap UK (HA&D’s independent distributor) and national accounts by Heritage’s own sales director Andy Lloyd. As three of the four owners of HA&D have come from the Hanson White (UKG) stable they know the humorous card market extremely well. “We're very pleased to be back in humour," says Andy, “and hope that the style of The Vicar of Scribbly goes down well with our customers. We have tried to be a little more upmarket in our approach instead of competing in the middle-ground a la Giggles,” added Andy. As for The Vicar of Scribbly range name, it came about from a joke. Peter Goodman of HA&D, explains, “The artist is a friend of mine and some while ago got accused of looking like a vicar! So, when it came to coming up with a name for the range, I suggested using the name The Vicar. However, the artist’s style is very cartoon and sketchy, and he/she said, what about calling it The Vicar of Scribbly, which was perfect!” So, who is The Vicar of Scribbly? “That remains top secret for now,” says Peter, “but if you see a man or woman in a dog collar it could be them.” Watch out at PG Live next month for four vicars roaming the show’s aisle and on the Heritage Art & Design stand ‘blessing’ visitors. Above and left: Two designs from The Vicar of Scribbly range from Heritage Art & Design which can be seen at PG Live.

UKG’s Property Developments Romantic Adventures is a new fem-to-fem humour range from UKG that takes retro panels from vintage Marvel comics for girls, such as Millie and My Love, and puts a hilarious new editorial twist on images originally intended to portray the dramas of teen romance. Witty editorial brimming with Gen Y attitude is combined with a fresh, make-up inspired colour palette. Disney is not just for kids! Disney Pixar’s movies are testament to this and the recent additions to UKG's Disney Humour Collection feature contemporary meme-flavoured humour and incorporate movie stills from a whole host of Pixar's modern classics. The evergreen Toy Story is joined by designs featuring stills from last year’s critically acclaimed Inside Out in addition to a bunch of other favourites in between! Right: Disney Pixar’s Inside Out hit movie is now licensed by UKG on cards.

Claws And Paws Hilarious comic artist Nick Hannaford-Hill has taken a look inside the minds of man’s best friend(s) and explores the very different personalities of cats and dogs for a new 12 card range (right) called Cat and Dog by Paper Rose. Cat and Dog already exists as a popular range of calendars that is licensed through MGL.

Left: Alec’s Cards featuring Barry the penguin. Below: A gently funny Alec’s Cards design now available from Splimple.

On The Flip-per Side Splimple has taken over the publishing of Alec’s Cards, previously run out of the Lake District by cartoonist Alec McCarthy. But events leading up to this vital point in greeting card history is a rich and colourful tapestry of a story that began in 2009 when Barry the penguin came up with some greeting card ideas while he was waiting for his eggs to hatch. As Barry doesn’t have hands (he does have fine flippers though), he asked his mate Alec the human to sketch out his ideas - and before long there wasn’t a card shop at the South Pole that didn’t stock Barry’s Cards. But Barry, who had no wish to be a celebrity, simply wanted an anonymous life sitting on eggs and catching fish. So, in an act of true altruism he handed day to day control of his business to Alec... and Alec’s Cards was born. Alec the human soon relocated his HQ to Ambleside where he also ran a café with his wife. It was here a few months ago that the connection with card publisher Splimple was made. “On a cold afternoon in December,’ recalls Splimple’s md Stuart Caldwell, “I was walking from Arbroath to Haverfordwest with Miriam my Shetland pony and two Alpacas Tim and Jonty – and I was in need of a hot soup. I walked into Alec and Claire’s café, saw the cards sitting in a box by the till and immediately said “A bowl of curried parsnip soup and a fruit scone please.” A month later on the return journey, the deal was done. “It’s a complicated deal,” says Stuart, “as Barry the penguin has been retained as ‘consultant creative director’, with Alec translating his words from Gakker (penguin-speak) to English, and continuing to do the silly drawings. Barry’s mum Edith has always kissed every card for good luck and that’s a tradition we’re keen to preserve.” Although UK orders will be processed in the Forest of Dean, Peggy McNeill, a retired flautist from the City of Bristol symphony orchestra, has been employed to play a jolly Antarctic jig while orders are being checked and boxed up for despatch. “We felt it was important to do all we could to retain the characteristics that made the original Barry’s Cards so successful a decade ago,” added Stuart. Splimple has initially released 24 Alec’s Cards designs, featuring the original work of Barry and Alec. FOCUS ON HUMOUR 2017


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Humour Topical Spotlight

A Question Of Taste

Last month, the BBC News website reported on the Parental Guidance signs that have been displayed in card multiple, Scribbler’s stores for quite a few years, a story that was perpetuated by the Times, Telegraph and a multitude of radio stations. It was in the same week a customer accused Clintons of stocking a sexist card design (which was immediately pulled from the racks). Previous to this, in the run up to the most recent Valentine’s Day, Paperchase was criticised by a furious mum about the juxtaposition of a collection of adult captioned cards (displayed on top shelves) in a 'retailer well-known for selling children's products, such as fluffy unicorns and cute stationery'. So should card retailers and publishers take heed of public opinion or if they do ditch the X-rated designs are they succumbing to pressures of a nanny state? Should each know its market perhaps? And where are the greeting card boundaries of good taste? PG asks the opinions from some humorous card publishers and an indie retailer that are well-known for sitting in the naughty (card) corner. Dean Morris, founder of Dean Morris Cards: “I’ve never tried to apply the notion of taste to Dean Morris Cards. I always like my cards to look the best that they can as the greeting card industry is a fashion-led market, but humour can rise above those fickle trends (what’s next on cards after alpacas – geese?). I’m simply here to make some of the public laugh and plenty of the public have over the last 18 years I’ve been selling humour. I think it is up to each individual card retailer if it chooses to stock cards at the ruder end of the market. Each one knows its customers and its market, and some will display profanity proudly and others will have little naughty sections at the back of the shop or a discrete selection under the counter. These are the shops that get known for stocking the cheeky cards and are often served very well by that reputation. Name-calling and insults between the right people can be a sign of affection and, subsequently, sending a card with such on can be too. The card buying public and good taste is as arbitrary as people are unique. What always angers me – and this can relate to anything, not just cards – is the “I don’t like it so nobody else is allowed to like it” attitude, which sadly has even more power now that social media is with us. But really, I’ve never produced a card that would be considered illegal and never has any other publisher I know. I think there is much worse today to be concerned about than a rude word. They’re only cards after all.” Above: A straight talking Dean Morris Cards design. FOCUS ON HUMOUR 2017

Simon Spicer, managing director for KissMeKwik: “I managed to be blissfully unaware of these dramas but I wasn’t surprised. These media articles seem to appear every year! Tons of people buy these types of cards so I think the ‘offended’ may be in the minority. There are usually lots of supportive voices in the comments sections. The retailers know what their customers want. People being ‘offended’ on social media, and the subsequent newspaper articles, are really a bit boring. I personally wouldn’t turn to certain newspaper publishers for moral guidance. These are just cards designed to amuse, and in that spirit here is a picture of a cat.” Top left: Work emails when drunk is a bit of a no-go – a card from Modern Toss. Above: Irene & Gladys and some naughty innuendo on a CardMix card. Left: If only cats could talk… they can on this KissMeKwik card.

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Humour Topical Spotlight

Mark Graham, humour editorial manager for UKG:

Below: Letting it all hang out on a Traces of Nuts design from the UKG stable.

“We have every sympathy with the tricky situation that card retailers find themselves in. In the age of social media, a single complaint can very quickly go viral and lead to negative publicity, so it's understandable when stores opt for a safety-first policy of removing controversial designs from display. The boundaries of good taste are by nature subjective, but for retailers with a family consumer base, designs which feature swearing or sexual references, or other ‘prewatershed’ content clearly run a higher risk of causing offence. On the other hand, such designs are also regularly among the top sellers, so there is clearly still a significant market for edgier humour. The line is less clear in relation to other topics. With alcohol, for example, retailers can be wary of appearing to endorse excessive drinking. But if you take a gag such as ‘Happy Birthday to someone who enjoys the odd drink – especially the 7th and 9th’ you have to question whether consumers are actually going to take it literally, or simply view it as comic exaggeration. Another example would be 'Valentine, you drive me crazy'. It's debatable how many people would consider that expression to be a derogatory reference to mental health issues, but in the current climate it's the sort of thing of which we all have to be mindful.”

Retailer View Paul Jarman, owner of Creased Cards, Brighton: “For just the few years I’ve been in the industry, I’ve seen this story in the press many times. It seems on a slow news day or on the basis of a tweet on Twitter from ‘Grumpy of Greenwich’, a publisher or retailer feels the heat and the old story is dredged up, re-worded slightly and for 12-hours it’s ‘news’ again... As anyone who’s seen some of the cards Creased stock, we are very much in favour of carrying not only risqué but some of the rudest cards out there, with 30% of our humour card sales coming from the rude end of the store – however we’re perhaps different in that the ‘rude end of the store’ really is that physically. You must go past a pretty clear sign and the till point to get to stuff with profanity on it – and that means we can stop kids and warn parents of what might be seen. Perhaps other retailers should follow suite as removing cards from sale because of one Twitter complaint is ridiculous – however, sticking that type of card in plain view of people that aren’t expecting it is remiss too.” Above: Creased Cards in Brighton has signage in store so its customers know where the naughty designs are. Right: An embarrassing moment on a Hazel Bee card. Middle right: A design from Jolly Awesome.


John Higgins, partner of Go La La!: “Is it possible to define offensive humour? Humour is highly subjective and it’d be futile to expect everybody to laugh at the same things; just as well or we’d have no diversity in comedy. Here we’re talking about cards which reference swear words, sex and a few filthy put downs, it is hardly taboo stuff. Unfortunately, there’ll always be someone who moans, and the British media loves an ‘outraged citizen’ story to fill in the blanks between salacious gossip and celeb scandal. Naughty cards have their place, and that place isn’t within easy reach of eight year-olds; retailers who are stocking more edgy humour are correct to steer it away from kids, but should robustly stand their ground against the complainers. The stuff that’s been banished to the naughty step lately shows how humour has evolved since the days of Carry Above: Innuendo abound on a Go La La! design. On and Benny Hill. It’s faster, harder and more in your face... euphemism entirely intended. Some Go La La! humour is quite risqué yet plenty of shops love it, although we have been surprised by post offices and pharmacies taking them. Nevertheless, we also offer mainstream designs for retailers requiring less smut, but we’d go bonkers if we weren't pushing boundaries. With so much big stuff going on in the world, perhaps our last refuge is the ability to laugh at some pussy innuendo or a joke about willies.”

Capella Andrean, designer for Redback Cards: “Over the last few years we've made a conscious decision to move away from rude card designs after listening to feedback from customers and retailers alike. However, we understand there is definitely a place for rude and edgy cards in the industry. We believe that retailers are best placed to understand their audience and where necessary ensure that risque cards are sold and displayed appropriately. We like the way Scribbler has a PG rating on its stores, this gives the shopper prior warning so the customer can make an informed decision about whether they want to risk offence or not. Unfortunately humour, like offence, is subjective and a matter of taste formed by our cultural and social upbringing. By its very nature, edgy humour will push the limits of what passes for taste and decency so getting your joke to its intended audience is more crucial than ever. We have noticed many online card retailers opting for ‘rude/not rude’ options on their websites, which again is a great way of giving the customer a choice in what they view.” Above: Redback Cards has decided to move away from ruder cards, but still has a few. FOCUS ON HUMOUR 2017

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Humour New Product


Laughing In The Aisles PG showcases a comedy act of new humour card ranges that will have you in fits of giggles and laughter... and make you snort a little. l Have you ever wondered what’s going on in the mind of your favourite feline? The Dancing Cat range published by ArtPress has a few ideas. The range includes cards for blank everyday, occasions and birthday, all with plenty of cat-ittude. You might find yourself relating to these adorable fur balls more than you would like to admit!

l The Buddy Fernandez boys recently launched a bunch of new cards and ranges, now under the divided banner of ‘Naughty’ and ‘Nice’. And they’re going along very nicely thank you very much. Md, Lee Rowlett, said, “Dividing the designs up has made it easier for customers to see that we have plenty of softer designs, alongside the more riskier ones. And they’re still funny of course." Aside from the existing Classic Range, there’s now also Colourful, White Weddings and Babies, Child of the 80s and Inspiration.

l Cath Tate Cards has published its new Grizelda range, created by cartoonist Grizelda Grizlingham. The new range is topical, political and funny! Featuring jokes about social media and family life, Grizelda is also a featured cartoonist at Cath Tate’s ‘The Inking Woman’ exhibition. Grizelda has been a professional cartoonist for over 20 years. Her cartoons have appeared in The Times, Sunday Times, TES, The Big Issue, Private Eye, The Independent, as well as books and greeting cards. l Country Cards’ humour range continues to grow and attract new buyers. This range of mainly clean traditional 7” x 5” humour cards covers many subjects such as alcohol, dogs, farming, sports etc, and is available in Happy Birthday or blank designs. They are all published to the highest quality and individually cello-bagged. l Go La La’s new Rules of Engagement range is a colourful yet acerbic range of humorous designs that should appeal to anyone disillusioned with the demands of modern day living. If you find shopping is a chore, the kids are getting on your nerves, or the gym is a pain, then this range is probably perfect for you. Go La La may not offer a solution to your frustrations, but at least they can help you laugh through your tears.

l There’s a plethora of new

humour ranges from UKG: Just For Gents/Just For Ladies gently pokes fun at the popular pastimes that both genders enjoy; ANON.sense is a simple but brilliant new take on the typography trend, putting a humorous twist on the inspirational slogans we’re all bombarded with; Let’s Hear It For The Girls is an eclectic mix of classic female themes such as wine and friendship, or topical lifestyle themes such as the gym or the perils of see-through leggings; Pet Set Go! is a new and contemporary animal photo range; Punny Profiles is a winning combination of popular lifestyle themes and witty puns; and All Fingers & Thumbs features ‘digit'-ally manipulated photographic finger and thumb characters.

l Hallmark will have ‘em rolling in the aisles with its new comedic card offering: Life Is Rosé features light humour for the more sophisticated ladies in your life, and taps into the rose gold trend; ‘*blank yourself’ lets you create your own joke with a selection of perforated punch-lines for you to choose from: Now everyone’s a comedian!; Fish & Chimps is a traditional humour range with a new funky neon look, and featuring our favourite pets and wildlife, it’s filled with howlers, growlers and meowers; and Face It is retro photo humour range with a point of difference. Pull the tab and eyebrows slide up or jaws drop down, adding fun movement to classic gags. After all, who doesn’t like to move it, move it?! FOCUS ON HUMOUR 2017

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Humour New Product l Hazel Bee is as erm, as busy as a

bee, working on a new designs that will be launching at Top Drawer Autumn. Well known for her quirky, brilliantly funny and simple illustrations, Hazel explains that there will be some cats in the pipeline (at least eight new designs) and, new for Hazel, a nonhumorous giftwrap range! But, for now, here’s a taster of one of her new designs... a lady bird. l Seven-T-7 is the latest humour collection from the JellynBean design team. Each design succinctly pokes fun at life today, encompassing topics such as dancing, drinking, dieting and growing up. The range of 20 5” x 7” cards are printed on a high quality textured board with a silk finish. All cards are supplied with white envelopes and individually cellowrapped... and all for the fantastic trade price of 77p! (£1.85 RRP). l Humour from Ling Design has been,

and continues to be, admirably provided by the ever popular, award winning Rainbow range; a seasoned favourite much loved by retailers and consumers alike. But Ling now has a new kid on the block in the shape of its brand new humour range, Silly Stuff, consisting of eight brand new bold designs all cleverly depicting everyday situations from a quirky angle that everyone can relate too – they’re sure to raise a giggle! All the cards come cellowrapped with an RRP of £1.59. l Kiss me Kwik’s ever-popular range of cards using illustrations from the archives of Ladybird Books gains a load of new additions, having held the licence for well over a decade. With the increased awareness of the brand via the hugely successful spoof books, KMK is reaching new customers far and wide. All cards are in stock and available to order now, and already flying out the door!

l Several new designs have just been added to Splimple’s Wordies range, which now offers over 40 titles. When Splimple was founded in 2002, its first range of Wordies cards was so exceptionally verbose that few could have predicted it would still be around fifteen years


later. However, last summer Splimple’s founder Stuart Caldwell took the decision to give Wordies a full visual makeover, moving from portrait to square and introducing completely fresh typography. Stuart says: “My son Matt, who had just graduated in graphic design from Falmouth, brought a fresh eye to the project and the results have been excellent, with Wordies’ sales over 100% up on this time last year.” l Danilo is delighted to be publishing an

official card range for Horrible Histories, the popular children’s historical-comedy book series. Horrible Histories has won numerous domestic and international awards and has been named among the greatest British children's television series of all time, so Danilo is very excited to be offering card designs, which capture the franchise’s tongue-in-cheek humour as well as interesting historical facts. l Lucilla Lavender is launching a new humour range called Stick By Me, created by Becky Mayhew. Her simple yet cleverly drawn stick characters feature not only on these cards but also in her brilliant blog Becky Says Things. Becky’s witty writing, and her ability to capture amusing human traits with just a few lines, is showcased in this her first collection for the company. The cards are charming, sometimes a little irreverent, and depict funny situations that we know only too well. l We celebrate with cards and cocktails so why not combine the two? Nocturnal Paper’s new Cocktail Cards are filled with wine, gin, beer, whisky or vodka... but never all together: although there is a heavy dash of some wonderful puns! So whether you like sipping your whiskey the old-fashioned way or rinsing with Riesling, there is something for your friend, dad, mum and your love. All the cards are 10cm x 15cm when folded, printed and packed with love. The range is ever growing because the cocktail list never ends. l Oliver Preston of Beverston Press has

brought out a new selection to add to his extensive range of feel good, funny cards, featuring cycling, cricket and shooting. Preston's cards, based around town and country themes, have a loyal following and a very individual style. This year Oliver is also working on two new books of his cartoons for publication in September, and a new pack of Brexit political playing cards - the picture cards featuring all the main players (and jokers) in the theatre of upcoming negotiations! FOCUS ON HUMOUR 2017

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Humour New Product l Paper Rose’s Grintastic range features

striking line illustrations by Richard Barrett, which paired with quirky puns and bold colours are sure to put a smile on your face! The publisher has recently updated the range with four new additions, and they’re already proved so popular that more designs are in the pipeline. Grintastic consists of both open and male relation designs, all 120mm x 170mm and paired with a white envelope. l Peartree Heybridge is introducing three new card ranges: The Wild Side, featuring our feathered, finned and furry friends playing ‘’The Beautiful Game’; What Is Your Cat Really Thinking – the secrets of the feline world; and What Is Your Dog Really Thinking – you can’t do one without the other! All the cards are blank open, cellowrapped with envelopes and size 125mm x 175mm.

l The Pigment stable is chock-full of

brand new humour with fun, fresh additions to the bestselling Animal Antics range! Keep your eyes peeled for a hilarious menagerie of brand new buffoonery and horseplay! And whether you want your chuckle muscle exercising or laugh lines stretching, Pigment’s Rib Ticklers range does exactly what it says on the tin! Brand new additions to this bestselling range are coming soon. l Introducing Really Good’s new colourful range of small cards with funny and niche compliments are a great way to bring a smile to a loved one’s face. ‘Even Fish Love Your Swimwear’ is not your standard compliment, but I bet it made you smile! With 24 quirky designs to choose from, there’s no doubt you’ll find the perfect sentiment to send to the special people in your life. Each card is 75mm x 105mm, blank inside, and cellowrapped with white envelopes. l Tillovision has gone emmental

in its efforts to make its new range, Cheesy Does It!, the cheesiest cards ever. Caerphilly crafted from Plasticine, the aspirational cheeses hang about on trendy slate cheeseboards, lounge on gourmet crackers and amuse their bouches with tiny jars of expensive pickle - it's a


cheesy dream, and they're living it. There are 34 different designs on the cheesy menu, which is pretty much a whole deli counter full, and there is birthday cheese for the extra-mature, Valentine's cards for cheesy love stories, and tiny baby cheeses for the dairy young. Cheesy Does It, every time! l Rosie Made A Thing’s Gin & Frolics range continues to expand. More funny birthday and occasion designs have been added to The Henries award-winning range, and the cards are proving more popular than ever. Rosie is launching 12 more Christmas cards at PG Live, as well as Christmas packs.

witnesS the fitnesS

l Tracks Publishing is pleased to

be launching at PG Live its new humour range called Fluff. The funny and bright designs include puns, googly eyes and real fluff. See how the traditional two-dimensional greeting card has been brought to life with fluff! Donald Trump’s hair – you’ll never look at it in the same way again! This 48 designs range covers major occasions captions and birthday. All the cards are 159mm x 159mm with fantastic, vibrant envelope colours and cellowrapped. Developed by Tracks talented in-house design team, these cards will be a great addition to any card display. l U Studio’s card range from Belgian/Thai illustrator Christina De Witte, otherwise known as Chrostin, is available now! The range is fun, funny and totally relatable. Chrostin jokes about everything from comfort food to fashion and creates illustrations that are fresh and feminine. Plus her cards come with an amazing neon orange envelope. There’s nothing funny about that! l Abacus is increasing its humour

offering this May with additions to two of its popular humour ranges, ‘Frank by Name’ and ‘Happy as Larry’. Ten new designs are being added to the long running humour range Frank by Name, whilst it’s younger and more risqué sister (or rather brother) range, Happy as Larry, sees the introduction of a further 12 new designs. The Frank designs feature spot coloured, black and white photographic images, captioned and printed on smooth board; whilst the Happy as Larry cards are printed on art board and feature hand coloured retro imagery. Both ranges are presented in a 5” x 7” format and are accompanied by white cartridge envelopes. FOCUS ON HUMOUR 2017

New range


See us at PG Live 6th -7th June, stand 307

See all our fabulously funny new ranges at E: T: 0208 671 2166 18_Humour 2017.indd 1

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Retailer Review

For The Craic When it comes to the longevity of humour card ranges retailers really know their onions - and yes, there are tiny tears of joy when a range is a longlasting winner with their customers, and not from peeling a layered vegetable. And when that humour range’s lifespan reaches decades, and not just years, it becomes a staple, bread and butter line that card racks can’t be without. But within the range there will always be one or two designs that people buy time and time again, so PG ‘unpeels’ some indies’ views on some craic-ing individual humour designs. Paperlink’s Funny Farm Carol and Roger Stephens, partners of Felicitations, Shepperton: “We found one of our most popular range is Funny Farm by Paperlink, and one of the oldest and the best is the design ‘It says concentrate’ (EFU022). This range is good for us as it's not crude, very funny and has wide appeal (probably because they are illustrated animal designs). Another range we do well with, and have consistent sales, is Out of the Ark from UKG... again, animal designs!”

Below: A Funny Farm (by Paperlink) classic… 'Shhh, it says concentrate'.

Pigment’s Rib Ticklers David Smethurst, owner of Best Wishes, Sidcup: “Humour cards for us have been a very important part of sales in our shop as they cover many difficult card buying decisions which customers have on occasion. We tend to stick to many of the old favourites which can be purchased by any age group, without causing too much offence. The Humour ranges that have stood the test of time for us are most of Paperlink’s humour ranges, especially Wrinklies, Bottomline and Bestie.Then there’s well-known favourite Eric The Penguin from GBCC, Virtual Safari from Emotional Rescue (from Is It Art) and Pigment’s humour ranges always sell well, especially Rib Ticklers, the vintage photographic one.” Left: Vintage photos feature in the Rib Ticklers range from Pigment.


Below left: The 'To Do' Redback card that is a winner for Snap. Below right: Woodmansterne's Hysterical Heritage 'Opening of a Waitrose' card is 'greateth' for The Card Centre. Bottom right: 'Don't go to work' is the answer to stress in the workplace, on a Harold's Planet card from Clare Maddicott.

Redback Cards’ Good Things Helen Fisher, owner of Snap, Roman Road, London: “This card has been a winner since Redback introduced the range a few years ago. I think it's because it deflects 'you're an idiot' onto a to do list, but it's still suitably offensive without overstepping the mark. I can't give you quantities of how many of this design I sell as I'm not that organised, but I always order twice as many as the rest of the range. It's on trend in terms of its hand-drawn, simple design and it appeals to men and my younger customers.”

Woodmansterne’s Hysterical Heritage Anna Tink, assistant buyer for The Card Centre, Felixstowe: “It is always a pleasure to overhear the muffled giggles and outright laughter emanating from the humour corner in The Card Centre, Felixstowe where I work. To name a few that cause such mirth; stalwart stock such as the Rainbow range (Ling) and Paper House’s Eric the Penguin (GBCC), sit along side Cath Tate designs, CardMix’s Cattitude, Oliver Preston, Charlie Foxtrot and Woodmansterne’s range of humorous styles, including Matt, Punch and Spike Milligan. They all provide great material for our customers. It is to Woodmansterne that we turn for our biggest sellers in this area this year. The publisher’s Hysterical Heritage range features the Bayeux Tapestry. These delightful takes on that instantly recognisable historical icon, combined with metaphors on modern life, are proving hugely popular with our customers. Our bestseller is probably ‘Waitrose’ (386725), followed by ‘In-laws’ (386794). They are a most welcome addition to the laughter ratings in our shop, which incidentally is celebrating its 70th Birthday this year; something else to make us smile in 2017!”

Clare Maddicott’s Harold’s Planet Pete Whiteman, partner of Dzodzo, Woodbridge: “Humour, always a funny thing. Our best humour designs over the past five years are firstly, Harold’s Planet from Clare Maddicott (especially H0830) ‘How to avoid stress at work’. It has longevity because we all go to work and face stressful events on a daily basis, whether we are retailers, publishers, window cleaners or doctors. We all love to see the funny aspects of our work, in a good way, and this card says it all. Harold's Planet is a clean, silly humour that appeals to a wide audience; from the Sun reader to the Times reader. It hits the right notes both with males and females, and very importantly, it comes at an affordable price to send someone a giggle.” FOCUS ON HUMOUR 2017

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Humour New Product

Laughing Stock The Bayeux Tapestry, card buying blues, ageing scenarios and what animals are probably thinking are just a smattering of the topics that have popped into the bonkers brains of cartoon artists whose work currently feature on humour card collections. PG discovers the artist’s inspiration, graphic style and the comedic attraction behind a number of hooting humour ranges. Gina Mackintosh (Gina Mack for short), creator of Paperlink’s Just Saying range: “I am a single mum living in Norwich with a love of cats Prosecco and pork scratchings. I have crazy ideas while shopping in Tesco, doing the school run and cleaning out the cat tray… I then turn these crazy ideas into cards. Lovely people like Paperlink seem to totally `get` my doodles and ramblings and treat me like a fully functioning grown up creative person they can buy ideas from. Life is good!” Range’s origin: “I was looking at greeting cards through the exasperated eyes of a card buyer, rather than the recipient. Desperately trying to find the exact right card for somebody, then just sort of getting to the `oh sod it` stage. The Blue Card for men really sums this up.” Comic inspiration: “Because the first design to take shape was the `Blue Card`, the rest of the range ended up being quite irreverent and generally male. This led to the schoolboy humour of the `Childish` card and the male hobby related designs like football and gaming. The Hobby cards are still approached from the point of view of the card buyer, rather than the recipient. I look for any ways I can to continue to poke fun at buying greeting cards… the spoof personalised design is another good example of this (sorry Moonpig!).” Illustrative style: “I felt the style of the artwork had to look super scrawled out and a bit rough to fit in with the irreverent tone. Also, I can’t draw! This naive look gives it a throwaway `Oh whatevs` feel.” Laughter appeal:“I think the style’s appeal to the card buyer is that it then becomes the perfect antidote to more mainstream traditional card ranges, where, however hard you try, it isn’t always possible to find something spot on.” Above and left: Getting to the 'oh sod it' point of buying a card inspired Gina Mack to create a card range called Just Saying, published by Paperlink


Comedian Tim Vine, creator of Woodmansterne’s Tim Vine range: Range’s origin: “The fun of doing these little cartoons is it's another way of telling a joke. I love telling jokes out loud but I also love finding other ways. I'm thinking of telling jokes through sculpture next.” Above: Tim Vine's jokes now feature on cards by Woodmansterne….and soon sculpture?

Rosie Tate, director and co-creator of Cath Tate Cards’ Life Is Rosie range: Range’s origin: “First published in 2012, our Life is Rosie range has now become one of our bestselling ranges. The range is a combination of jokes and quotes from myself and visuals from designer Rachel Gallon. The range generally seems to appeal to women from late 20s to 40s because the jokes are all based on truisms from my life, and the visual look and feel of the range come from Rachel (who is still sickeningly young and in her twenties!).” Comic inspiration: “The retro 1940s, 50s, 60s look of the range has become associated with glamour and fun in the wake of the everpopular rise of the retro everywhere! Generally when looking for images for the range Rachel and I look for women (and men) that we’d like to be (often the people featured are models) but these are paired with captions that are a little truer to the unglamorous circumstances of real life.” Laughter appeal: “I think part of the designs’ appeal are that the captions that typify the range are about drinking too much, not exercising enough, the unescapable dominance of social media, friendships, relationships and generally muddling on through life.” Good friends offer advice, real friends offer gin.

Above and right: Rosie Tate and Rachel Gallon joined forces to create Cath Tate Cards' Life Is Rosie range.

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Artists Behind The Range


Joe Berger and Pascal Wyse, creators of Woodmansterne’s Stand Up range:

Hannah Twose, humour editor for The Great British Card Company’s You Know You’re Getting Older When... range: Range’s origin: “This range started when I said an off the cuff remark, ‘God, you know you’re getting old when you’re in bed by 10pm on a Friday night.’ Almost like magic there was an idea for a relatable humour range! A piece of paper was given to everyone in the office asking them to give one example of, ‘you know you’re getting older when…’. Once we had collected real life experiences of getting older, the rest was history.” Illustrative style: “We tried a couple of different looks for this range before letting the illustrator, Alex Gunn have a stab at it and her handwritten approach and quirky illustration style brought the range to life. After a suggestion from one of our retailers we have recently moved this range into ages as well!” Laughter appeal: “The beauty of this range is that with the colourful, relatable and funny designs this range really should have something for everyone. Whether you are in your 20s or 60s, we all have experience of what it is to get older.” Above: The 'You Know You're Getting Older When…' range was a GBCC team effort, triggered by Hannah Twose.

US cartoonist Jimmy Craig, illustrator of Woodmansterne’s They Can Talk range: Range’s origin: “I really wanted to start a comic strip and I've always loved animals, so it was kind of an easy decision to start doing animal comics. I uploaded the first few online and the response was instant, plus writing and illustrating them was fun, so it clicked right away.” Comic inspiration: “I like watching animals and really trying to understand what they might be thinking or saying rather than fabricating scenarios in my head. I always try to base the comics somewhat in reality, which I think helps give it a theme and keeps them relatable.” Illustrative style: “My illustrations are a little naive, especially in comparison to a lot of comic artists out there, but I think it's helped keep them identifiable. It also adds a sort of charm to the animals too.” Right: If we could understand what animals say is the comedic inspiration for cartoonist Jimmy Craig. His warm wit can be seen on Woodmansterne's They Can Talk range.

Range’s origin: “Ever since the dawn of time – well, ever since the dawn of 2000 – Berger & Wyse (Joe Berger and Pascal Wyse) have done a weekly comic strip for the Guardian newspaper. First there was one about Hollywood, which featured two enthusiastically awful screenplay writers, then a cartoon about food, which featured, among other things, some neurotic vegetables and depressed pigs… and finally, about three years ago, we were released in to the wild and allowed to do a cartoon about anything we liked.” Comic inspiration: “So when Woodmansterne approached us, we already had an archive of cartoons to get going with, and it was a case of picking out the ones that got closest to that magic formula of universality – cartoons that would speak to lots of people, relate to their lives, and work on a greeting card.” Laughter appeal: “Quite a few of the chosen cards come from the food cartoon era, and an alarming number feature booze. Still, food and drink is something we can all relate to. The drawing technique, while it has an individual style, varies a little depending on the cartoon and the joke. The way something is drawn can help that. Sometimes scruffy and simple is good; at others, detail is what helps. How we actually arrive at the ideas is a subtle blend of utter frustration and inexplicable magic. We never stop feeling grateful when a good idea falls in to our laps.” Above: Well known cartoonists, Berger & Wyse have been let lose on cards, and feature on Woodmansterne's Stand Up range.

Ian Blake, co-creator of Woodmansterne’s Hysterical Heritage range: Range’s origin: “I had this idea around ten years ago, and, since last year was the 960th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, felt it was the perfect timing for publishing this concept. I wanted to bring back the dream team of myself and Alex Lowe as writer. We have worked intermittently since 2005 on a number of Woodmansterne and CardMix creations, including Drama Queen and Genius, and know each other's humour pretty well and are great friends.” Comic inspiration: “The concept is a funny take on the Bayeux Tapestry where we present Saxons and Normans using contemporary references and combine them with their early medieval lifestyles. It's nice to borrow the style - one that looks so ancient and turn it to our own advantage. By creating my own soldiers and town folk that have the style of the tapestry, there's a lot of artistic creativity there. Then writing that in an ancient font strangely works as the icing on the cake.” Laughter appeal: “The range has pretty universal appeal since everyone knows about the Bayeux Tapestry and that part of British history, even if it's only Harold getting shot in the eye! It's always hilariously incongruous to have a figure from the past (in this case a thousand years) saying very contemporary things that somehow illuminates something unexpected about how we live today.” Above: Saxons and Normans go contemporary on Woodmansterne's Hysterical Histories range by Ian Blake and Alex Lowe. FOCUS ON HUMOUR 2017

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Immerse yourself in the greeting card world PG Live 2017 is the UK’s leading launchpad for thousands of original designs and fantastic new card collections. With over 280 major greeting card publishers, new start- ups and creative artists and designers, the must-visit show is essential for everyone who is part of the vibrant greetings sector.

“PG Live is certainly our favourite trade show of the whole year and we wouldn’t want to ever miss it! The show really is a fantastic showcase of brilliant publishers. The attention to detail, the atmosphere and the way we are all looked after is second to none among trade shows.” Miles Robinson, partner, House of Cards

Book your free tickets now to receive your free show preview and start planning your visit!

PG Live 2017

Tuesday 6 - Wednesday 7 June Business Design Centre, London


+44 (0) 1635 297070 @PGLiveLondon

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Progressive Greetings Worldwide - Focus on Humour 2017