This year’s Christmas card designs are both high-tech and time-honored. And some of the best are made in Seattle.
Christmas and seasonal greeting cards have long been an artistic niche that inspires illustrators and designers.
This year’s designs are taking advantage of advances in drafting and production — holography, music embeds, digital photography and laser-cutting among them. Other designs begin life with time-honored tools like the paint pot, pencil box and scissors.
Shondra Neumayer, of Portland, combines vintage-style typography, folk-arty woodland silhouettes and marquee-light imagery with rustic barn-board backgrounds in cards she sells at her Etsy shop, InkDropDesign. She began designing cards out of frustration with what she saw as a market filled with cheap and cheesy holiday cards.
“Going to the mailbox should be an exciting event,” she says. “Each (year) I found myself asking the question, ‘Why can’t Christmas cards be cool?’” The Ampersand Merry & Bright card ($13 for 8 at etsy.com/shop/InkDropDesign) is a prime example of the work.
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The Museum of Modern Art in New York has been selling holiday cards since 1954. Chay Costello, the museum’s associate director of marketing, says pop-up cards have become particularly popular.
“We started to see an increasing trend toward cards with special features,” Costello says. “Instead of a card with graphic artwork on its front, many artists have begun to think three-dimensionally, with spiraling and fold-out elements and elaborately crafted pop-out constructions that result in a card that’s a gift in and of itself.”
The designs feature paper manipulation at its best: shimmering snowflakes, shooting stars, skiing reindeer, and holiday bouquets that “bloom” when the card is opened. There are twirling ornaments, sleds that swoosh through a forest, Santa perched precariously on a ladder decorating a tree, and a paper bucket full of holiday champagne.
New York-based artist Elsa Mora’s Wintertale Holiday Card ($20 for eight at momastore.org) includes a village complete with homes, holly and dancing children.
Other creative cards include the Papyrus Owl Felt Ornament ($9, an adorable felt owl that you can hang on the tree, and Christmas Tree Banner ($13), which folds out into a 4-foot garland of Christmas trees adorned with buttons, gems and glitter on a green ribbon.
Galison’s Tri-Fold Holiday Cards ($15 for 10 at galison.com) create a fun 3D effect with gingerbread people, Christmas deer or Andy Warhol’s festive shoes and ornaments.
For local cards with edge, pick up Seattle’s Sad Shop Christmas Cards ($5 each at etsy.com/shop/SadShop), with sentiments for the less-than-joyous, such as “Holidays are for crying and eating” and “Merry Christmas. Hopefully I sent this by February.”
For a hand-touched look, consider Sporelandia’s Joyful Forest Holiday Card ($3.50 at etsy.com/shop/Sporelandia; use code MUSHROOMGRAVY for 15 percent off), which features a whimsical original illustration of happy mushrooms in a forest by Seattle artist Katie Miller.
Send a piece of Seattle with the Hello! Lucky Happy Holidays From Seattle cards ($18 for six at Sip & Ship, Ballard), with all of the local landmarks on recycled paper.
ShopNW staff contributed to this story.