How to create greetings cards that sell

It turns out that you can make a greetings card by slapping absolutely anything on a piece of high quality 300gsm paper stock, but… you can’t necessarily sell it. We know, we were shocked too.

Over the years though, we’ve worked out what goes into making a greetings card that really sells, so we’re quite happy to turn this knowledge over to you. (We’re also obliged to remind you that if you sign up as a creator with thortful we’re also handling your stock management, printing costs, postage, store front and customer service, so it’s as fuss-free as you can get.)

So without further ado, here are the things you need to think about when designing your future best selling greetings card.


What occasion do you want to cater for? Our customers come to us with an occasion in mind, so making sure it’s clear what occasion they’d send the card for is the best way to connect with them.

When getting started, we highly recommend prioritising birthdays as this (obviously) is our most popular category. We’ve actually got a separate guide on what makes a birthday bestseller. It’s also entirely possible for a card to cater to multiple occasions to maximise sales potential. A great example is this card by Emmy Lupin. What are we toasting to? Birthday? New home? Passing my exams? It works for them all, making it a firm top seller.

Some cards don’t require an occasion within the caption, but they’re still perfect for a specific occasion. This card by Jeffrey & Janice demonstrates this well. It doesn’t need to say ‘happy birthday’ in the caption but refers to ageing in a relatable, engaging way.


Think about who your customer would give the card to. If you’ve had a look at our recent briefs and insights, you’ll know that there’s a big opportunity around cards for partners and parents. Our research (which you can read here, if you missed it) shows that they’re the people our customers are most likely to buy a special card for. Classic designs perform particularly well in this space, for example this card by Dalia Clark Design.

We love this card by Arrow Gift Co. Cleverly, they’ve not specified which parent it’s for, for the broadest appeal.


Think about who would buy your card. Is it an arty person looking for something design-led, or a lover of vintage? A hopeless romantic, or someone who enjoys playful innuendo? You can read about the thortful shopper to get a better understanding of our customer base. Below are two examples of anniversary cards which appeal to very different audiences, but sell well on thortful. Card 1 by Twin Pines CreativeCard 2 by Joanna Miller.

Relationship between buyer and seller

Are they close? Or should the message be slightly more formal? Perhaps banter is more appropriate? Think about the life they share. This birthday card for dad by Hello Hatty is a great example of taking an experience and turning it into a relatable design and observational humour.


Think about the emotion you want to evoke. Is it a smile? A belly laugh or an eye roll? Or is it simply admiration for beautiful design? We believe emotional impact is the secret ingredient to a fantastic card, so it’s something we look for when moderating the cards uploaded to us. 

Suitable for print

Bright colours may look great on instagram but we’re print on demand, so make sure it’s CMYK friendly! A great example of a creator who carefully digitalises their paintings for print is Jo Scott Art, whose watercolour paintings turned greetings cards feel handmade and human with enough finesse to look professional.

This might feel like a lot to keep in mind all at once, but you can also think about the points above as a checklist. If you run through them with your idea, or a draft, we can say with certainty that you’ll be in a much better position to make sales with your design.

We hope this blog post has been helpful! As ever, if you’ve any questions please drop us a line – [email protected]. And if you’ve found this post but you’re not yet a thortful creator, here’s why we think you should join our community!

Team thortful