Saturday, March 29, 2014

Saturday Gift Post--Caps and Gowns and Owls and Llamas? It's Time for Graduation Day.

While we've finally gotten to the point where we're not selling down to two Valentine's Day or Christmas cards when the holiday hit, I think last year still left us a little short when it came to graduation. This year I decided to be more organized about stocking up, to see how much we could sell if we had a decent selection through the last moment when the tassle was spun, or whatever the ritual is.

The things is, the cards are so repetitive. Can you have 40 cards with graduation caps being thrown into the air, with the caption "You made it!" on them? Yes, you can, but then what's the point of having an assortment? Just buy 12 good designs, 24 each, and you're set. Or you could dig a little deeper and find something better.

As you may have noticed, I like a good animal on my cards, and graduation has grabbed owls as their mascot. If you'll remember, I recently asked if their are any other holiday/animal matches that would work well for future cards, and one regular reader suggest St. Patrick's Day and snakes. I like it! That said, we are still left with owls for graduation. I asked Sharon to find the best owl card among our assortment (which is admittedly not as big as it could be, because so many looked the same), and came up with the newsprint design from The Found. I like it too.

Inspirational quotes run rampant in these days of future potential, and they are among our best sellers. The problem is that I've been bringing in the same cards for years, and while they often have pretty pictures of rivers and mountains, I don't know if they are interesting enough for this post. Next year, Artists to Watch could take ten lovely David Wroblewski (not the author, the painter) images and add a "Congratulations on your graduation" caption on all of them and see what happens.

So if I were to pick out one inspirational image card, I'd have to go with the Compendium Positively Green cards, as they use authors among their quotation sources, though admittedly, for many of them, I have know idea who the source is at all--I should try finding out. This rocket image has a quote from Michel de Cervantes: "Believe there are no limits but the sky." I guess "dreaming the impossible dream" is not a bad piece of advice for graduates, which is sadly what I think of when I think Don Quixote.

It's not just owls on cards, though. A MAC Classic card from Design Design features a peacock, which both inspired and confused me, as peacocks are also popular images on Mother's Day cards, the next spinner over. But I'll bet you can't find too many llama images, which is what illustrator Anni Betts used on her congratulations card for A Smyth Company.

And that brings me to generic graduation cards, which are, of course, the congratulations card. They are to graduation what love and friendship cards are for Valentine's Day. Both card studios and retail stores love this option, as the cards sell year round, though as Anne will say, graduation cards have more of a year-round sale than Valentine's Day.

When it comes to generic cards, I'm a big fan of the "mad props" card from Black and White and Red All Over (alas, unshown). I'd carry all their cards, but a good number of them are not appropriate for a card section in a bookstore. Inappropriate for kids and touchy parents, alas, but hilarious for the rest of us, in that meta humor way that Bob Mankoff talks about in How About Never--Is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons.

And finally, it's back to the cap and gown.  I understand that this is a very important occasion and humor isn't always called for, but for the right recipient, this is my favorite graduation card for 2014. Good Paper does indeed have very smart copywriters.

No comments: