An artist may use original oil paintings or watercolours as a Christmas card image or may discover a forgotten painting that would make an ideal Christmas card design. However, this is only the beginning.
Steps to Producing Christmas Cards
Whether the image is intended for personalised Christmas cards or business Christmas cards, the following steps are necessary:
- Photographing the artwork or using a print scanner
- Making the necessary adjustments to the Christmas image via photographic software
- Getting the Christmas cards printed, not forgetting the business cards
If the artist is inexperienced at fine art photography, getting a professional might be the answer.
Making Profit out of Christmas Card Printers
An initial outlay of a predetermined budget is necessary. Obtaining competitive quotes from fine art printers are essential for retaining profit margins. The larger the order, the cheaper each card will work out to be. Beware of special features such as embossed card and coloured fonts that could make cost creep up. However, if the commission is large enough, some printers might throw in the envelopes for free, or at least for very little. Cell bags purchased in bulk (some manufacturers sell them by the hundred) will keep costs down in the long run.
Marketing the Christmas Cards
If one knows where to look, there are many outlets for the sale of Christmas cards. Some shops are willing to display them on a sale or return basis, which means that the shop keeper will take their cut only if any sell. This is usually around 10 % of the retail price. It is vital to keep an accurate record of the quantity retained and the name of all outlets.
The artist may also approach businesses and corporations. The advantage of this is that orders are likely to be in bulk. A sample corporate Christmas card containing the company logo might help spur orders. The distribution of business cards serves to give a professional feel and keeps the artist in mind.
Craft fairs can yield lots of sales for a little extra outlay. Booking a stand early in the year will usually cut cost. It might be worth investing in display stands and table mounts to make the stall look attractive. Dotting the stall with original paintings will almost always spur interest and perhaps the sale of paintings. Offering a selection of Christmas card designs including local scenes, cute animals and traditional images is likely to encourage sales. A good impression is likely to encourage regular customers and new orders each year.
If the artist is able to, creating a website displaying the artist’s portfolio can do a lot to promote his work.
Creating a Christmas Card Portfolio
The artist may also try creating a portfolio (in pristine condition, of course) containing Christmas card designs for submitting to greetings card publishers or to take to art fairs. Making preliminary enquiries is always wise, as some have in-house artists. The images must also be consistent with the style of the publishing house – it is no good sending humorous Christmas card designs to a publisher who specialises in traditional Christmas cards.
The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook (A & C Black, published yearly) is an invaluable guide. It must be noted that the greetings card industry is a very competitive market and the artist may still make a reasonable living from selling Christmas cards by going it alone.
Making Money from Christmas Cards
Creating a piece of artwork as a Christmas card design is only the beginning. If the artist wishes to make a profit out of producing Christmas cards, consideration must be given to obtaining a good image of the artwork and negotiating a good price from the fine art printers. Persistence is necessary when trying to sell the greetings cards to outlets such as shops, businesses and craft fairs, and especially to the greetings card industry. But rewards can be reaped.