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Happy Monday, campers!

Have you started thinking about your annual Christmas card?

Have you even started thinking that Christmas is next month?

Well, good news for all of you. Today we have a lovely guest post from the lovely Brynn Snyder, of the graphic design outfit Whitefield Design. She shares some really great tips for designing a knock-out Christmas card, and there is a little surprise for you at the end, so be sure to read all the way to the bottom!

As Christmas rounds the corner many of us are tempted to put up our decorations and play Christmas music prior to Thanksgiving. Another way to get in the holiday spirit is to start prepping your Christmas or New Years card. When picking out your holiday cards there are many things to consider: design (including color and style), print type (digital, off-set or flat ink), finish (uncoated or gloss), size (4x6 or 5x7 postcard, folding card, long rectangle, square, etc.) and cost (printing and postage).

For this post, let's focus on the design aspect of holiday cards Recent trends in design include using the front and back of the card, including a lot of graphics (stripes, chevron and other patterns), and showcasing family photos. With all the holiday card options out there, choosing just one can be overwhelming.

To simplify the process, start by considering your color palette.

You may find a card online that you love, but the colors aren't right for you. One possible solution is to use a local or custom designer who can work with you to design the card that meets all your needs. Here are some great holiday color combinations. It's OK to add in other colors besides the obvious red and green!

Now that we understand a little bit abut color, let's look at some different design options.

Photo heavy: The emphasis should be on you and your family, so choose a font and perhaps a few small design aspects that fit your style. In the first example below, this couple wanted to say Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and to let people know they were having a baby. They didn't want to have to write anything else. In the second example, the family also wanted the front to be sumple. The style of the back of this card is fairly popular, and worked well for this family as they wanted to share news without a lot of prose.

Multiple Photos: Including multiple photos is a fun way to tell a bit of a story with your card. Each of these cards is pattern-heavy, but each is very different from the other. You have whimsical (the wording in the banner could be changed), a modern chevron and a classy stripe. Note that the font choice makes a big difference in the style of each card.

Photo/graphic blend: This is the most common style for holiday cards available in a huge variety of styles, colors and fonts.

Tips and tricks:

To save on postage (and on time spent stuffing envelopes), go with a 4x6 postcard style. You can do a postcard style in a bigger size, but then you'll have to pay regular postage. If you choose a postcard go with a gloss finish. It travels much better and will reach its destination still looking great.

Bigger isn't always better. Stick with 5x7 or smaller, and reserve bigger sizes for special events such as weddings.

A colorful envelope is an easy way to spice up the presentation of your card. Cost is typically just a bit more than a white envelope.

To save time, purchase a custom stamp with your address (usually about $30 to $40) so you aren't writing your return address 100 times over. Another option is an address band, which is a really popular style right now.

Thanks, Brynn!

And now, for your promised reward. If you liked what you saw here (and I don't see how you couldn't), head over to Whitefield Designs, do a little shopping and when you're done, enter the coupon code "Shabby Apple Holiday" and receive 20 percent off your purchase. Just a little pre-Christmas treat.

And then come back and tell us, what will your Christmas cards look like this year?


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