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Keep Your Pants On! Next year will see a bewildering amount of superhero characters gracing our big screens: LEGO Batman, Wolverine, Fantastic Four, Ant-Man, Wonder-Woman, Captain Underpants and of course Justice League – Part I, which features a plethora of ‘A-list’ superheroes all in one film! And greeting cards are very much ‘caught in the web’ of this superhero trend that is increasingly embracing both sexes. PG asks some super-powered card publishers what they feel is the fascination of these masked marvels for children and how this is reflected on children’s card designs. The combination of special powers to protect good over evil, a mask to hide your identity and rebelliously wearing your pants on the outside, it’s no wonder superheroes have wide appeal for children, with superhero sales worth £82 million to the UK toy market in 2015. “Superheroes are role models for kids even though they don’t know it! It’s lovely for children to look up to people who Above: Ready to fight crime, a superhero do good things! My son Luca’s favourite character on a Laura Darrington card. superhero varies. It is either Batman or Below: Laura Darrington’s Spider-Man (sometimes he likes to just son Luca in a Batsuit! be Spiderbat!) Some days, Spider-Man wins over Batman because of the cool webs that fire out from his wrists!” says Laura Darrington, director of Laura Darrington Design. Behind the mask most comic book superheroes in their normal lives have insecurities and troubles, but by donning their costume and cape they turn into a perfectly built, killer-abed hero, in control and with powers beyond those of mortal men. This narrative has a huge attraction to kids in furnishing them with the tools to build their confidence. “My children and their friends pretend to be all kinds of superhero characters, their imaginations are amazing actually! 4


I have noticed boys seem to be the most obsessed with superheroes but I can only guess it is because it makes them feel confident. Superheroes are strong and courageous, maybe this makes them feel safe and confident themselves!”, ponders Laura Sherratt, director of Laura Sherratt Designs, adding, “We have a current kids collection called Sunny Smiles that are embellished with fun wooden buttons and jolly googly eyes! The characters featured range from monsters and dinosaurs to mermaids and superheroes!” Yasmin Rahmatullah, director for YTR Design, agrees that wearing the superhero gear can be a ‘skin’ of selfconfidence for a child: “Kids love to pretend to be superheroes as it’s fun and gives them a chance to be creative and explore. It gives them a sense of power and definitely helps them develop their confidence. Iconic characters such as Batman, Superman and Spider-Man have amazing superpowers... flying, jumping, running at the speed of light. They are brave and powerful and battle the bad guys to save the good people and kids want to show that they can be helpful and do good too.”

Above: Spider-Man giftwrap from Gemma.

Above: This design from Laura Sherratt’s Sunny Smiles range has a superhero with googly eyes.

Left: A superhero’s flowing cape and mask has huge appeal for children, as seen on a YTR Design card.

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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Above: Yusuf Ahmed gives the thumbs up to his Captain America costume complete with shield. Above right: Kali Stileman’s outside pant wearing superhero character can be found on giftwrap as well as a card design. Right: Paper Salad’s shero card design, which is also available on gift bags and wrap in the Paper Salad by Glick collection.

Truth and justice, selflessness and altruism, sacrifice and a commitment to protect those who need protection, the superhero’s story is pretty heavy on values and morality and reassurance to kids that good always triumphs over evil. Looking back to their origins, both Captain America and Wonder Woman were created expressly to literally fight the Nazi threat, while Batman initially spent much of his first year protecting his city's wealthy elite from murder plots, jewel thieves and extortion. “All children want to be superheroes in some form or another, and who wouldn’t? they catch the bad guys and save the world! The whole Marvel craze is so huge now and what with all the merchandise, children (and parents!) can’t help but be part of it. My four year-old son received lots of cards for his birthday with them on because at nursery they all play superhero games,” explains Farhana Ahmed, licensing and royalty coordinator for Paper Rose. However, her son Yusuf has been conflicted over which superhero character to idolise, having at least a couple of favourites: “It’s Iron Man or Captain America at the moment. Yusuf has the costumes for both but refuses to wear the Iron Man one. He maintains that you have to choose between the two! Although he is too young to see it, I think that idea comes from the rivalry between Captain America and Iron Man in the film, Civil War. I’m pretty sure it was the shield though that swung him towards Captain America!” But it’s not just the noble intentions of the superhero that appeal to children, it's the chance to be in incognito by wearing a costume: a cape, mask and pants on the outside in the fight for virtue and liberty.

“We have our very own superhero card that features in our Little People range. He’s one of our most popular characters and I think his appeal has something to do with his cheeky outfit. Our superhero wrap is flying out too! - Have a bit of fun trying to spot the superhero with the frilly pants,” jokes Lucy Tolson, director of operations for Kali Stileman. And it’s not just the boys who are wearing the get-up and ‘saving the world’. With the 2017 film release of WonderWoman the superhero landscape is changing with the emergence of the ‘shero’, a super-heroine. Gemma is launching a range of cards and wrap in 2017, featuring a new and exciting superhero aimed at girls, while the ‘super-women’ at Paper Salad have already launched their shero character on cards and on giftwrap by Glick. “Children love superheroes! It’s the idea of dressing up in colourful costumes and pretending to have super powers! It’s bright, lots of fun and appealing to both girls and boys, which is what we like our cards to be!” states Jess Hadfield, junior designer for Paper Salad. Continued on page 8

I Choo-Choose You Not all heroes are capped. Thomas the Tank Engine usually saves the day, keeps everyone ‘on track’, and is a railroad superhero for many kids. Louise Ellison, marketing executive for Gemma, explains how Thomas is a hero for her little boy Tom: “Tom is 4 and ½ and from a very young age he has been a huge fan of Thomas. As a toddler he started watching the television series, and very soon he had his first Thomas toy, a large push along that played the theme tune along with a ‘peep peep’ whistle. Over time he has grown his Thomas collection to include numerous kinds of trains; take and play, trackmaster and now his favourite things are the collectible minis, he also enjoys playing with the app on the ipad, and of course, watching the latest film at the cinema was a big event for him. It’s fair to say that Thomas is his hero! His knowledge of Thomas and Friends is extensive, and given the choice of toys out there, he still chooses Thomas every time. When I asked Tom why he likes Thomas so much he said, “Because he is a really useful engine always helping people, he goes on lots of adventures and has fun with all his friends.” I guess those are excellent traits in a hero!”

Left: Working for Gemma, Louise is lucky to have access to the publisher’s range of Thomas cards and wrap for her son Tom.



pg kids ad dp v2.pdf





a whole new era for Hallmark & Disney as we launch our one-stop shop for Disney, Marvel & Star Wars™ cards, co-ordinated gift wrap and bags.

Available in our new web store from January, you’ll find timeless designs featuring classic characters as well as quirky, contemporary new collections.









© Disney/Pixar

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Our classic ranges also feature added extras and innovation, from pull-out posters and stickers, to honeycombs and intricate pop-ups. Plus, our Handpicked Disney range offers designs exclusively available to independent stores.

Making us the only card company to offer everything under one roof.



To find out more call 0800 9020900 or 0127480104 from Ireland or join us at our January roadshows by visiting

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Jeanette Stevenson, founder of Pippi & Me, explains how both the superhero girl mouse and boy bunny designs are its best sellers. “There is something about the look of determination in the eyes coupled with the masks and flowing capes that clearly strikes a chord. Kids can easily imagine themselves as our endearing superheroes thanks to the classic flying pose mirrored in so many playgrounds. The cute stripy jumper or little pink dress also help! Kids love these cards, but we suspect it is the ‘inner child’ of many adults that relates so well to these loveable heroes.” With a multitude of DC Comics, DreamWorks, Disney and Marvel superhero characters being brought to life through a groundswell of blockbuster movies, numerous TV shows (across channel and Above: Pippi & Me’s superhero girl mouse design appeals to both kids and adults. Above left: A Marvel Avengers card from UKG. Left: Spider-Man Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can – Lizzie Whittington is a big fan of the webbed superhero.

streaming services), kids’ toys and costumes, it’s no surprise that children (and grown-ups’ inner child) are hooked on the superhero trend. “Superheroes have always appealed on kids cards, but right now they’re hotter than ever! You only have to look at the success of the Marvel movies, their Netflix shows and also the cartoons on Disney XD cartoons too to see why,” says Ben Whittington, senior creative manager Disney and humour for UKG. “My daughter Lizzie’s favourite superhero used to be SpiderMan but since starting school she's become more aware of the Avengers and likes to role play as Black Widow!”

However, is it really just the little ones who are dazzled by these super-humans, or are some bigger, grown-up kids (aka parents) getting in on the act? Jonathan Hardaker, product insight manager for UKG, admits, "My son Alfie is now 7 years-old, but he has loved superheroes from a very early age and can’t wait to see the latest movies when they hit the cinema, which gives me an excuse to go, I’m 31!! We’ve made sure his little brother Harry is following in his footsteps, pictured here (above) at only a few weeks old!”

Above: Alfie Hardaker with Thor and Captain America. Left: Baby Harry Hardaker is already a superhero fan!

Four-Legged Superheroes Enchanting, mystical and with a silver magical horn of healing powers, Janna Cossettini, director for card publisher Deckled Edge, reveals why unicorns are the winged animal superhero for kids: “Superheroes are everywhere today. Catwoman, Batman, Spider-Man, and Wolverine… let’s face it, today’s kids (and former kids, aka mums and dads) love them! It’s been going on for ages. For crazy characters we can’t compete with Marvel, Disney, DreamWorks and Warner Bros for the sheer number of superhero combinations… or can we? I think we can. Imagining animals with extraordinary powers or imbuing animal powers on humans is not unique to today’s TV and comic book generation. But forget cats, bats, spiders and wolverines. My superheroes are Superhorses - legendary powers of speech, strength, flight, agility, and loyalty - the mighty Unicorn and Pegasus. They have names - Chiron, Pegasus, Haizum, Buraq, Sleipnir, Uchchaihshravas or more closer to home, the Uffington White horse in Oxfordshire. And there are different types - centaurs, unicorns, pegasi, and of course hippogriffs if you’re a Harry Potter fan. So what about it? Well it struck me one day that on one of our many local family walks through Joydens Wood and Chalk Wood, ancient woods where the forest is dense and sometimes the sky gets blotted out by the trees near the old Faesten Dic. This woodland can be overwhelming for a 4 and 5 year-old, but the children’s comfort lay in the fact there were crops of birch dotted along the way. They said, “Look, those white trees are a sign that unicorns live here”... and that was their first superhero.” 8


Above: Designs from Deckled Edge’s range of greeting card ‘superhorses’, Prancing Myth.

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The Kids Tribe

Below: Brainbox Candy’s wearable Facemat in action. Below left: More than a card, children can have a fun time with their Facemat.

Birthday bears, partying flamingoes and spiders, unicorns jumping rainbows and wearable cheeky monkey cards are just a few of the imaginative – and slightly, but wonderfully, crazy – kids’ card designs in collections that reached The Henries’ Best Children’s Range category this year. But what mad mindset created these fabulously fantastical ranges? The 2016 winner and finalists of the category reveal all. Winner of the Best Children’s Range category 2016 Facemat Funimals range from Brainbox Candy Mark Williams, co-director for Brainbox Candy: “Our inspiration for creating a children’s Facemat range initially came from the reaction of our own children when they first saw our original Facemat human faces range. Their reaction was fantastic and it made us think that we should go one step further and create an animal range aimed at a younger audience. The new range was an instant hit with children and also had the additional advantage of certain designs appealing to adults.” Elementary Elements: “The most important element we considered when designing this range was to make the designs fun and vibrant. We wanted children to quickly grasp the concept as soon as they opened the card. Alongside this, we made sure the Facemat easily popped off the front of the card. We have recently launched a new Christmas Facemat range, also aimed at children, which has a Santa beard on one side and a reindeer on the reverse. These look like being a big hit for Christmas 2016 and sales have been really strong.”

The Happy Birthday Range from Laura Skilbeck Laura Skilbeck, designer and director for Laura Skilbeck:

Scribbles range from Rachel Ellen Designs Rachel Church, co-director for Rachel Ellen:

“I really don't know where my inspiration comes from - I have two little children so I love their illustrated storybooks. I love the free and colourful illustrations of Richard Scarry (animals wearing clothes are always good in my mind!), Brian Wildsmith and Judith Kerr. I also love my kids’ drawings. Whenever we sit down and draw or make things together I'm left completely jealous that they can just make something so simple and so perfect without even thinking about it!” Above: Celebrating party animals Elementary Elements: “I don't think I are a key element in Laura’s Henries nominated range. intentionally design children's cards, I just draw pictures and probably have children on my mind a lot (I definitely go to too many children's birthday parties!) So I make cards that I love and then other people tell me that they're perfect for children, but I give them to adults too!”

“Scribbles started life on a page of a sketchbook literally from a few scribbles and inspired largely by colour combinations. All of the designs feature Above: Scribbles designs appealing hand-painted characters on a painted from Rachel Ellen Designs background with a hand applied die-cut age is not only initially handpainted, but the plethora attachment. Textured board, spot neon highlights of other elements such as with matching neon envelopes and a liberal amount flitter, a die-cut age and spot neon of gold flitter create quite a blingy and tactile feel attachment highlights create a visually stunning effect. which makes them really stand out.” Elementary Elements: “Giving the cards’ characters an instant appeal is important when designing children’s cards, and the suitability of the character for the age group. Most children’s cards are probably bought by parents or grandparents so it’s important to bear this in mind too. If a card makes someone smile then that’s a definite advantage!”

Sugar and Spice range from Janie Wilson Janie Cook, designer and director of Janie Wilson: “The inspiration for the card range’s imagery was strongly influenced by my own children. I have a 7 year-old son who is totally into creepy crawlies and spiders, but my 9 year-old daughter on the other hand loves unicorns and anything pink! Girls love ‘cute’! Children have such wild imaginations and I think it is important when designing cards for them that we tap into this for our inspiration.” Elementary Elements: “Colour is the most important thing when designing for children. The brighter the Above: Children love monsters, especially ready for a party! Janie Wilson’s better! I love to design children’s cards, it ones Sugar & Spice range uses coloured foiling gives me chance to go wild with colour!” for that extra ingredient.

Kiddiwinks range from Think Of Me Designs Freya Kane, creative director for Think Of Me Designs: “The inspiration for Kiddiwinks came from our two young boys and their friends and the animals, toys, vehicles etc that they are in to. Children love bright colours with bold and a simple design that catches the eye. For Kiddiwinks we created a super cute range that captures this.” Elementary Elements: “Although it is important to keep one’s eye on the current trends, some imagery is universal. Diggers and dinosaurs for boys and cats and princesses for girls are enduring images of childhood. Our Kiddiwinks cards are also beautifully tactile with a spot UV gloss finish and embossing. This range has been so popular that we have extended it across gift bags and children’s stationery.” Left: Think Of Me’s glossy spot-UV highlights used in its Kiddiwinks range add extra interest to the designs. FOCUS ON KIDS CARDS


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Playground Equipment Pre-Schoolers (Age 1-5)

Lucy Sticka and Heidi Richardson, partners of Little Paperie, Ashbourne:

Right: A gorgeous puffin character from The Art File’s Roar range. Below left: Bright, colourful and cute, a Good As Gold design from Paper Salad.

Top Of The Class: “We do really well with the Paper Salad’s children’s cards, they are so fab. They are really eye-catching, bright and modern, right down the matching envelopes. The drawings on them are also really relevant and very cute too! If we had room we would stock every single design! Stop the Clock’s children's cards are also a good seller for us. Again, I think because they are a bit different from the norm and have lots of character. We love The Art File’s collection of shaped stand up animal cards (the Roar range) too, they are so great for children and they always pick up the ones we have on display in the shop!” A Numbers' Game: “Most shoppers buying cards for those children of early years definitely want the age of the child on the design. We often end up designing something bespoke so it has the relation and the age. I’m not sure the children are as bothered by a card having an age on it but I’d say the majority of people do prefer to buy one which features the age.” Subject Matters: “We stock mostly independent brands and tend to prefer something a bit quirkier. You can never go wrong with superheroes (our favourites are from Paper Salad), and also for girls’ cards princesses, fairies, unicorns… in fact anything girly still sells well.” Pre-Schoolers (Age 1-5)

Heidi Early, owner of Earlybird Designs, Stoke Newington, London:

Right: A delicious Sunflower Bill design from Earlybird (the publisher). Below: A cat with more than nine lives, Hello Kitty remains a strong seller on cards from Hype.

Top Of The Class: “Our favs are Stripey Cats Cards with the googly eyes and Hype’s cards, especially its badged cards, in particular Miffy and Hello Kitty, even after all these years! And I have to mention our own in-house cards: our numbered badge cards sell phenomenally well, along with our new Sunflower Bill range.” A Numbers' Game: “Age cards are always really important for first and second birthdays and badged cards up to age 5. We always put the lower ages on lower shelves because younger children often like to choose the card for their friend - and tell the adult what card they would like for their own birthday while they are at it!” Subject Matters: “Dinosaurs are still a top seller for us, but in Stokey our customers don't like gender stereotyping, girls in particular, so princesses are pretty much a no no. We tend to go for gender neutral designs where possible, which is also better as shelf space can be tight. Animals are always a safe bet or big bold number designs.” 10


Independent card retailers report which publishers are supplying the right greeting card design ‘equipment’ for them to appeal to kids, tweens and teens.

Infants & Schoolers (Age 5-8)

Katy Shipley, owner of Supersales, Belvedere, London: Top Of The Class: “New to us a couple of month’s ago, but selling very well for this children’s age group, is Cherry Orchard‘s StoryTime range, based loosely on fairy tales and well-known children’s stories, with themes such as wizards, pirates and jungles, it’s hand-drawn and glittery and with an age number. And the publisher’s value range, Kaleidoscope, just sells and sells as it only retails at 99p, a perfect price for all the parties the children of this age group go to. Jonny Javelin’s Fudge and Friends range is really popular too.” A Numbers' Game: “When it comes to the schoolers age group I hardly sell any open kids’ cards, it's all about the number. At this age they are invited to so many parties and it’s important that they celebrate the age of the birthday boy or girl. Often adults nip in for the card, wrap and an age shaped balloon.” Subject Matters: “Children love the characters they recognise from their favourite films, TV and online programmes on cards. Danilo’s PAW Patrol and The Secret Life of Pets ranges are big favourites, as are its Shopkins range (there is an enormous collectibles craze going on) and Gemma’s Angry Birds designs. It is hard to keep up with the next new ‘thing’ for kids on licensed cards but what I have noticed is that often a grandparent will buy two cards for their grandchild - their favourite licensed character on an age card and also a relations card.” Above: The Secret Life of Pets - a card from Danilo. Left: A design from Cherry Orchard’s Story Time range.

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Infants & Schoolers (Age 5-8)

Stuart Delahoy, owner of Set Design, Leicester: Top Of The Class: “We like to be a bit different and not offer the obvious for infant age children. There are lots of cards out there that can work from the very young to the uni-student age market. We cross over with some successful ranges that our non-traditional card buyers love. Brainbox Candy’s Facemat range has been extended with child friendly animal designs, and it’s a winner! Cinnamon Aitch’s graphics with cute animals appeal too, from its Hello Sunshine and now Woodblock ranges.” A Numbers' Game: “Ohh Deer can satisfy if you want a card for the youngest children, from the John Bond range; these include the only age cards we do. Age gets less important as the years roll by, but yes the public still like an age card for the very young.” Subject Matters: “The gender divide is still evident in all aspects of the market and cards are no different. Step away from those Pink princesses and Blue pirates folks and be just a little more imaginative. We are a license and TV free zone, but the odd retro Mr Man or She-ra card from Hype can sneak in!”

Tweens (Age 9-13)

Lauren keen, manager for Sentiments, Burnham-On-Sea: Top Of The Class: “Here at Sentiments we have a very traditional customer base. We do very well with IC&G’s tall slim range for tweens. The metallic text including the age in both pink and blue are extremely popular and suitable for kids with all interests. We also do well with Noel Tatt’s All The Rage range. Bright and fun with some die-cut, the range is a great price point and again appeals to most people. A Numbers' Game: “When shopping for children ages 9 to 14 our customers do like to have the age on the card.” Subject Matters: “Our customers are very traditional and like to have a separate card for girls and boys rather than the more contemporary cards that are suitable for both genders. For those who like more of a picture the range from Wishing Well is very popular. They use fashion-led images for girls and technology and music themed images for the boys.” Left: Ideal for tweens, an everyday design from IC&G.

Teenagers (Age 13-18)

Emma Cole, manager for Postmark, Balham, London:

Above: Quirky and fun, a John Bond design from Ohh Deer.

Tweens (Age 9-13)

Louise Riley, owner of Sweet Autumn, Buckingham: Top Of The Class: “Best sellers for me are Pigment’s Happy Jackson range, Paperlink’s Epic designs and its new Wow range, Paper Rose’s Sunny Side Up, Mint’s Cool Britannia and Abacus remain strong with 100% Kids (grandmas love them especially!). When a tween does come in for this type of card it's almost a given that they will pick Happy Jackson.” A Numbers' Game: “The best selling cards for this age group by far are the designs that depict the age in large script and are totally generic, no sports or hobbies or cute animals to be seen.” Subject Matters: “Tween cards sales are better than ever, and the choice is probably the strongest I've known. I really don't think the 'kids' care too much what is on the card design or age wise. Very few come in these days buying for their friends. This age group are the biggest threat to our industry. They text and have little interest in cards when they come in the shop with their parents. The main purchaser's are the parents or friends of the parents of the child that the card is being sent to.” Above: Bright, bold and succinct, a design from Pigment’s Happy Jackson range. Left: Strong and contemporary design on a 100% Kids card from Abacus.

Top Of The Class: “For teenage girls, its Pigment’s Alice Scott range featuring black and neon pink text on a white background and references to shoes, make-up, chocolate and friends. And Pickmotion’s designs of Polaroid images with lots of pinks, blues and flamingos. The Art File’s Geronimo range for teenage boys, with its neons on black and grey, are simple with a stand out messages that look fresh. And Stop The Clock’s Black Lines range consist of simple drawings in a masculine pallet and lots of references to sports and outdoor activities.” A Numbers' Game: “Except for the milestone ages (13, 16, 18 and 21) an age card is not an imperative factor - they tend to be purchased by adults who would prefer to go for a safer option (especially when buying for boys). However, Rachel Ellen's Totally Tween and Paperlink's Epic collections are great numbered cards for this age group.” Subject Matters: “The majority of cards purchased for teen boys tend to be either sporty or technology based. Purchases for girls veer more towards glitter, clothes and trending imagery (ie flamingos and pineapples).” Above: ‘Let the Good Times Roll’ – a Black Lines design from Stop The Clock, perfect for teenagers. Left: Flamingoes and pineapples are currently popular trends that are a favorite with teen girls. A Polaroid style design @runnerkimhall by



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School Report PG showcases a class of new kids’ ranges who are sure to get an ‘A+’ in their greeting card grades. l Caroline Gardner has recently launched two new gorgeous children’s cards ranges: OUT - Once Upon a Time, with each design depicting a different bedtime story theme. There are three male and three female cards, all 140mm x 146mm. And, Zig Zag, which is a 3D children’s age range with carefully created cards that fold out into five sections to reveal a surprising and detailed scene inside. Sized 140mm x 146mm, the range covers ages 1-5 in either girls or boys options. l Carte Blanche has launched eight new

and adorable 9” x 6” Sarah and Duck classic children’s cards that all feature a colouring-in inside and includes an exciting new format on each card’s front where kids can colour-in these much-loved characters. Following the gentle adventures of a wide-eyed, 7-year-old girl and her feathered best friend, this BAFTA winning preschool animation has been a huge hit since its debut in 2013. l Daydreams, a new launch from Wishing Well, is an imaginative, juvenile range using a soft colour palette, enhanced with sparkling flitter and a full colour reverse. The all-new cute characters and whimsical wording are a perfect combination for these younger designs. Additionally, Tiny Twinkles from the publisher is an exciting and glittery age 1-3 juvenile range featuring fun characters and a brightly coloured flittered number. l Cherry Orchard have had a big year for the little people, making sure that their birthdays are a real hoot with four completely new lines of cards, featuring a whole gathering of cartoon creatures from owls to unicorns to snappy crocs. The vast collection, covering a range of formats, price ranges and styles, includes the square format StoryTime collection featuring the worlds of wizards and princesses, which is supporting the great work done by WellChild’s children’s charity with a royalty donation. 12


l Hip hip hooray! Coulson Macleod is

very excited about its first venture into children’s cards. Sprinkles is a fun range of 14 rhyming poem age cards with quirky font, a large number and stripy background. The range of 120mm x 170mm cards covers ages 2 up to 8 and features either a blue or pink background. This new range is being launched at Top Drawer (Stand O41). l Earlybird has collaborated with

talented children's book illustrator Daisy Hirst to release a new range of kids’ cards. Daisy has had two books published by Walker Books and her sweet style fits perfectly into the Earlybird brand. There are eight new 150mm x 150mm designs and some revamps of some of Daisy’s older best sellers. So with cats, sausage dogs, bears and a polar bear giving out hugs, it's all very cute. l Hotchpotch’s children's range Jam Sandwich will be sure to brighten any child’s day. The clever construction of the cards, with flittered die-cut numbers and fun characters, add an extra dimension to the cards. The collection includes children’s ages for both boys and girls as well as general birthday, to total 12 designs size 170xmm x 120mm. l Kali Stileman’s brand new

children’s birthday range, Super Spectacles, features animals in brightly coloured specs! With 20 15cm x 10.5cm designs to choose from, you are sure to find plenty of quirky characters to fall in love with! Super Specs complement the publisher’s Animal Selfies and Little People ranges perfectly. l Zoom to the moon, sail the seven seas in search of treasure, pirouette across a floodlit stage, or climb the turret of your own castle, this children’s range from Maurice and Maude will capture children’s imagination and dreams. Hand-crafted in her rural studio in Norfolk, Maurice and Maude’s creative designer, Alice-Jane Hutton, produces her warm, nostalgic, magical collections of cards for kids that will lead them to the end of that elusive rainbow.

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l Paper Rose is really excited about its eight

new 135mm x 208mm additions to the Jojo’s Jungle range, featuring lots of fun jungle characters for ages 1-4. Finished with an embossed holographic silver foil and an amazing pop-up design, they are bound to be popular with the little ones! l Created in partnership

with National Geographic, Animal Jam is a new signing for Gemma. Its new range of cards and wrap will launch in early 2017 featuring the key characters and it is already taking pre-orders. Additionally, the publisher with be launching its Num Noms range of cards and wrap in the new year, with cute cupcakes, ice-creams and fruity styles, in sugary pastel colours, sure to appeal to girls of all ages.

Danny Dalmatian and all their friends in hot pinks, peppermint greens, and other vivid hues. Joining the pack are canine buddies Kenny the King Charles and Cherry the Chihuahua…Yap Yap! l Maisie & Milo is Twizler’s brand

new children’s range, available in ages 1-6, general happy birthday and relations. Maisie is a beautiful unicorn who is very excited to be celebrating her birthday with her fairy friends and woodland animals. Milo the birthday boy loves being outdoors and spending his special day playing with his friends.

l The ever-

evolving designs from Pippi & Me include 15 new cards that particularly appeal to the humour, fun and loving nature that comes so easily to kids. Yes kids love them, but people of all ages seem to find these cheeky and endearing creatures irresistible.

l Paper Salad’s brand new children’s birthday

range Good as Gold is neon bright and finished with luxury copper foil on textured FSC board. This colourful range has 32 designs, including ages 1 to 9 in both boy and girl and other super cute characters. The cards are size 175mm x 125mm and come with a neon bespoke patterned envelope.

l 'Hip Hip Hooray' is a range of 12 brand

new cute and sparkly children’s designs from YTR, covering boys and girls ages 1-3 and also general birthday designs. The bright cards are enhanced with encapsulated flitter and presented wrapped with dandelion yellow coloured envelope. l The Disney Tsum Tsum range is stacks of fun and so collectable! And now there is a range of eight Disney Tsum Tsum cards from UK Greetings, with four of the designs including highly collectable pin badges! Additionally, UKG’s Disney Emoji range, featuring Emoji renditions of a whole host of everybody's favourite Disney characters and witty hashtag themed editorial, is fun, bright and perfect for today’s tweens and teens!

l The Porch Fairies has introduced

7 and 8 year-old birthday cards into its children's hand-finished collection. These 160mm X 160mm designs, in their usual fairytale, enchanted illustrated style, are full of beautiful detail with bundles of sparkle and twinkle. You will see something new in the design every time you look! l Simon Elvin releases new juvenile designs every three months to ensure that retailers have a constant flow of fresh new designs at really competitive prices. Badge cards continue to be extremely popular, and the latest collection covers ages 1-9 for both boys and girls. l RUFF, ruff! Stripey Cats designer, Jonathan

Crosby, has added some vibrant new colours to his popular wobbly-eyed Stripey Dogs range. Now you can have Doug Pug, Shaun Sheepdog,

l Collaborating with Lagom, designer

Cozy Tomato has created two quirky and fun animal collections. Birthdays count when you’re busy growing and the cute and cheeky animals of the Cozy Tomato age collection form the numbers of every important birthday from 1-9. And the bright and bold designs of the Cozy Tomato Alphabet Collection feature everything from koalas to crocodiles. l Rosa & Clara Designs has a range of

nine birthday cards suited to little ones. Each of the designs features a pattern based on an original hand-drawn or painted illustration. The cards are 145mm square, printed in the UK on to 300gsm FSC certified board with a lovely subtle texture. Supplied wrapped, with a brown ribbed envelope. FOCUS ON KIDS CARDS


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Play Stations Plug in the console and commence the game, as a trio of card publishers who have ‘interactive’ experience with what’s hot with kids ‘show and tell’ market developments, share new ‘tot idol’ favourites and the heroes that are influencing greeting card ‘devices’, as well as exploring the positives cards can have on these mini players.

That’s Entertainment Daniel Prince, operations director of leading licensed card publisher Danilo, highlights several market trends in the kids’ entertainment field. New Digital Paths: “With the current digital age and new media era kids are definitely moving away from traditional television properties. While they are still extremely popular there are now several kids’ channels. YouTube has had a massive influence, as well as apps and gaming properties. Kids are watching a lot of Vloggers and these movie shorts created by fans and uploaded onto these online platforms get massive followings. Minecraft remains extremely popular for kids, as well as Lego properties.” Kids’ Collectables: “The collectable craze has really hit new heights this year with children with the success of Shopkins and there are lots of upcoming brands for 2017 with a collectable aspect.” Branching Out: “Movie brands like Despicable Me/Minions, Star Wars, Trolls have extended their reach through spin off TV shows and animated shorts, as well as DVD releases, adding longevity to a property’s life-span. Over the summer you couldn’t walk anywhere without someone playing Pokémon Go, that’s given Pokémon a new appeal, and it will be interesting to watch how the brand performs.”



Top Grades Danilo has a plethora of characterful licences for kids’ greeting cards and giftwrap throughout next year, triggered by a number of current and up and coming movies and children’s series aired on TV and online. Claire Bates, online marketing manager for Danilo, reflects on what properties are cool with the kids: “Noddy: Noddy has run on British television since 1955 and continues to appear to this day with brand new CGI series Noddy, Toyland Detective airing back in April this year. PAW Patrol: PAW Patrol is the official Number 1 UK preschool brand, with over 2.5 million viewers tuning in to Milkshake per month to watch it. Shopkins: This is currently the hottest girl brand in 2016, with over 65 million views on Shopkins YouTube channel. It’s been a massive success in all product areas especially toys. Secret Life Of Pets: From the humans behind Despicable Me came the popular film The Secret Life Of Pets, showing what our animals get up to when we’re not around. Having achieved over $100 million in its opening weekend this makes it the biggest ever opening for an original animated feature. My Little Pony: Back in fashion, and popular with girls. We have extended the Christmas range for 2017 and we will also be launching birthday card and giftwrap refreshes next year. We will be launching our My Little Pony Movie range in summer 2017 and The MLP movie is due to be released early October 2017. Despicable Me 3: Following on from the huge success of this brand (and the movies - Minions and DM2 are two of the top 10 bestselling animated films in history), our Despicable Me range offers a wide selection of cards, sticker sheets, build a minion, height charts, money wallets and a ‘tickle me’ sound card design. Yokai Watch: Yokai Watch is the hit Disney XD® comedy adventure following the everyday life of Nate who discovers that the world is full of mischievous beings called Yo-kai that create trouble. Nate's mission is to find creative ways to understand the cause of their bad behaviour and make friends with them.”

Left: The kids’ collectables craze just grows and grows - a Shopkins age card from Danilo. Bottom left: Danilo’s Daniel Prince (right) with colleague Trevor Jones (left) and Paperlink’s Bill Greeno. Below: A new addition for Danilo, the official Yokai Watch greeting card range for 2017.

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Tot Idol

Angels’ Delight

With licensed characters at the core of its business, Gemma International works with some of the largest children’s brands in the market. Louise Ellison, marketing executive for Gemma, explains the joy and pleasure these familiar characters can bring to little ones:

A brood of kids’ characters that will be giving children greeting card joy in 2017 from Gemma:

“Children love to have someone to look up to, whether it’s their mum and dad, brother or sister, or a fictional character. Quite often that ‘hero’ becomes a spirit guide, or moral compass as it were, furtively equipping the child with skills to face the many challenges that life throws at them, giving them confidence to overcome obstacles and build relationships. Films, books and television shows essentially tell stories about family, relationships, perseverance, and overcoming challenges and it is apparent that children learn so much from watching or reading, then acting out in roleplay or with their toys, the same scenarios. As well as the obvious good guy characteristics of personalities like Spider-Man, the loveable Peppa Pig, Thomas and Bob the Builder, and in recent years, an influx of girls’ heroines such as Elsa and Anna from Frozen, alongside the Disney Princesses, the familiarity of a child’s favourite character can bring them so much joy and happiness. For many their idol becomes their specialist subject and they feel good about themselves knowing they are able to recount everything they know about the characters!”

Emoji: OMG! emoji is a Gemma bestseller and continues to go from strength to strength, literally flying off the shelves. emoji is a fabulous all-rounder, appealing to male and females of all ages - it is quite simply a must-have brand! Fun fact: The weight of all emoji cards sold since launch to consumers is equal to the weight of six Fiat 500s! Trolls: The new Trolls movie has had a brilliant box office opening and the toys are featured on many hotlists for Christmas! With further products launching, including a standalone Trolls magazine, Troll fever is set to continue - the DVD will be released in February, which will be backed by a huge marketing campaign from DreamWorks. Another fun fact: If an average male took one step for every Troll card sold so far he would take enough steps to climb Everest and come back down again! Pokémon: After the incredible buzz around the release of Pokémon Go, Gemma has seen fantastic sales on its Pokémon cards and wrap. The app has excited older fans, and gained lots of new ones in the younger generations and it is expected to continue into 2017 as popularity grows with the launch of new toys and other products coming to market for the Christmas season. Mario: Gemma anticipates gaming and collectible brands to be big in 2017. Mario Run is due to launch in the Apple Store this month (December) and is expected to be a big hit, with the new app game appealing to a whole new generation of gamers.

Above: Tim Rudd-Clarke, director for Gemma, with Princess Poppy from Trolls. Left: George from Peppa Pig on a Gemma design. Below: Gemma’s Emoji range is one of its current best sellers.

Write To The Heart Of The Matter Delving in to how children feel about sending and receiving greeting cards, Hallmark’s recent International Literacy Day Survey unearthed some positive findings that it can improve not only their well being but also kids’ reading and writing skills. Esther Key, licensing and consumer marketing manager for Hallmark, illuminates on what inspired Hallmark to undertake this research project with ratifying results. “Statistics from the World Literacy Foundation show three in 10 children in the UK do not own any books and one in five children globally cannot read and write. At Hallmark we wanted to do our bit to help Left: Two little girls from Whitefield children learn vital reading and writing skills, so, ahead of International Primary School in Liverpool enjoy writing Literacy Day on September 8 2016, we launched a campaign to promote the their cards. Below: Hallmark’s International Literacy use of greeting cards as a means of boosting literacy levels in schools.” Day Survey gave the publisher the research to work with the World Literacy Key Discoveries: “The key findings of the study were that 40% of five year olds in the UK enjoy sending cards Foundation on a new downloadable pack because it enables them to practise their handwriting. Furthermore, over one-third of under-12s said they like receiving for teachers to incorporate greeting cards in to their lesson plans. cards to practise reading (37%). This study proved to us that teaching children how to read and write using more traditional methods, such as greeting cards, could be a powerful vehicle for boosting literacy skills and gave us the evidence we needed to work with the World Literacy Foundation on a new downloadable pack which helps teachers incorporate greeting cards in their lesson plans. We piloted this pack at Whitefield Primary School in Liverpool, which proved to be a huge success. After the lesson the children were filmed in a series of interviews saying they thoroughly enjoyed the lesson.” A Happy Sending: “The study also shed light on the emotional benefits of children sending and receiving cards, with 70% saying they want to send more cards to make the person on the receiving end happy. Two-thirds (66%) said they most enjoy getting a card from a family member and over half (51%) said that if they could write a card to anyone in their family it would be their mum. Furthermore, over a quarter of girls aged five to 12 (27%) said that if they could choose a famous person to write a card to it would be Taylor Swift. In terms of fictional characters, girls in this age group would most like to write to Harry Potter (26%) whereas Spider-Man is top choice for almost a quarter (22%) of boys.” FOCUS ON KIDS CARDS


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