Designing Holiday Cards That Sing

December 2015

This year's Twirling Tiger Press holiday cards (Photo: Maureen Joyce)

This year’s Twirling Tiger Press holiday cards (Photo: Maureen Joyce)

Sing along with me now, as I’m in that very festive, holiday, singing state of mind: “…12 drummers drumming, 11 pipers piping, … and a partridge in a pear tree.”

Designing our 2016 Twirling Tiger Press holiday card and packaging was a dream assignment. (Thank you, boss!) I needed to create a holiday postcard that grabs our team members’, clients’ and partners’ attention among all that holiday mail. It must stand out from the pack, display excellent design abilities (always two important requirements) and be on-brand with our company.

Here’s my favorite-things list that heavily influenced the design of our holiday postcard:

  • Communicating
  • Typography
  • Clever solutions
  • Design
  • Color palettes
  • Paper (which designers rarely get to specify these days)

Did I say communicating and typography?

With this assignment, I got to combine many of the drivers that truly excite me as a communicator.

For the love of typography, look closely at the dividing lines in between the numbers. Instead of ordinary rules, they are composed of repeating swung dashes and intersecting bullets. The weight of the varying fonts and color palette maintain balance and create a vibrant level of activity on the card. I love the festive colors, and if you are a design geek, you’ll notice the strategic use of gold on the number “5,” which helps keep colors from repeating beside or on top of one another. Creative license was further applied to the verse of the English carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” with 2 Twirling Tigers replacing 2 Turtle Doves. (I imagine they gobbled them up—fierce tigers.)

The flip side of the postcard showcases more typography. The large exclamation point (which I’m guilty of using way too often) is the backdrop for our holiday greeting. The bottom part of the exclamation point is topped off with a bow made from angled zeros, more swung dashes and an asterisk—elements that make it look like a gift box.

As more people both professionally and personally design their own holiday cards, consider a ready-made template and design elements carefully or go rogue and create your own from scratch. Then you too will produce holiday cards that sing. Happy holidays!

—Maureen