ALSC Greeting Card Design Challenge

August’s Monthly Art Challenge was for a Holiday Greeting Card Design. We were happy to see such a great response from ALSC members. We got over 80 greeting card submissions! Thank you to all of the ALSC members who participated.

And a big thank you to — Susan January and her team at Leanin’ Tree for selecting the top 6 design winners! Not only did Susan choose our top 6 designs, but she gave comments for each greeting card and why she selected it as a winner. This is wonderful feedback for every artist who wants to get into the $7-8 billion dollar greeting card market. Susan January, who is VP of Product Development at Leanin’ Tree knows her stuff when it comes to greeting cards. She reviews 1000′s of greeting card entries every year. Thank you Susan!

Susan also shared more information on what the “Secret Sauce” is when it comes to best selling greeting cards when she was a Special Guest this past June in the 2nd Thursday Chat Group hosted by Annie Troe and Madeline Faiella!

If you missed that 2nd Thursday chat, you can read the full transcript of it HERE!


Susan January is the current Vice President of Product Management at Leanin’ Tree. A greeting card and gift product manufacturer based in Boulder, Colorado. She has more than 25 years of experience in art licensing and greeting card development and is a former President of the Greeting Card Association and a current member of the Association’s Executive Committee. Leanin’ Tree currently works with more than 700 artists across our 6,000 product skus and they add an average of 1500 to 2000 new products annually.

Here are the Holiday Greeting Card Design Winners! Congratulations!

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See all the Holiday Greeting Card Design submissions from ALSC Portfolio members below.

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Snowman with "Joyful" banner and rabbits/birds. This design takes a traditional holiday icon - the snowman - and makes him appear friendly and lifelike as he shares his JOYFUL message with his bird and bunny friends. This design does a great job of conveying the warm feeling between friends and family during the holiday season. So sweet!
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Ho-Ho-Ho Happy Santa - This ho-ho-ho Santa is not your typical, traditional Santa. This guy has great body language and exudes fun and happiness. Love the ornaments used in the Ho-Ho-Ho and their magical glow. The sparkly stars also convey the magic that is Santa! This card would be great with glitter!
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Dog angel in front of Christmas tree - Who doesn't love a cute dog getting into a little holiday mischief! There are several fun things happening in this scene, but what it best conveys is that while the dog looks like an angel, he's also created some holiday mischief as evidenced by the broken ornament and candy canes, and the little sprig of tree branch in his mouth. This is just a fun, whimsical design for the dog lovers out there!
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Cute Angel holding dove, words to "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" - This sweet angel is warm and appealing, and so nicely conveys the love, warmth and kindness of the holiday season. The nice visual interaction between the angel and the dove shows interaction and relationship - which is a critical component of good greeting card design.
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Blue/white/gold birds and tree design - Love this contemporary design and it's simple color palette on the dark blue background. This design would look fabulous with foil accents in the gold and rose gold details!
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Mother and baby deer in snowy woods - This collage image is sweet and interesting without being overdone or too busy. The deer in the snowy woods with the large snowflakes convey the magic of winter, and the borders and patterns add interest and depth without being too much. The baby deer are sweet too! This image could also be nice with a holiday message, for those consumers who don't want an overtly red and green Christmas card. This design is lovely and sweet and has excellent usability!
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Santa, reindeer, north pole
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Christmas in the country, coming home
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Button Up Your Overcoat

More about Leanin’ Tree:
Beautifully crafted greeting cards that feature original artwork by outstanding independent artists from across the country and around the world. All our cards are created, produced and shipped from our facility in beautiful Boulder, Colorado. We strongly believe in supporting our community, our neighbors, and our customers. As for the people behind the products, Leanin’ Tree’s heritage and workforce is truly special. Please take a moment to watch our video, “Behind the Scenes at Leanin’ Tree”. To see how this family-owned, “made-in-America” business has thrived for over half a century, please visit our History and Goals section.

16 responses to Holiday Greeting Card Design Challenge with Leanin’ Tree

  1. All beautiful designs but a special Congratulations Shari Warren! She was my instructor at Academy of Art U. I recognized her work right away!

  2. So many Beautiful designs! All well deserved!

  3. Congratulations to the winners! Really lovely work!!!

  4. Congrats all winners! -Well deserved! And great insights from Susan! What a great challenge for all. Thanks, Valerie. Now on to the next one!

  5. Congratulations to all the winners!! And a BIG thank you for creating this fun challenge!

  6. What a beautiful array of cards. I love Christmas and these are seriously all great. HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to the winners. I am honoring that feeling you must have right now. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT….amazing… :-)

  7. What a beautiful array of cards. I love Christmas and these are seriously all great. HUGE CONGRATULATIONS

  8. Congratulations to all the winners. Beautiful cards from everyone! Thanks Susan for sharing your insights on what makes a great card.

  9. Congrats to the winners!!

  10. Congrats to the winners and to everyone that submitted to the challenge! All the art is wonderful. And thanks so much Susan January for your in depth comments on why you chose the designs as topnotch Christmas cards. The comments are so helpful to us artists!!!!!!!!

  11. All cards are beautiful! Congratulations to the winners! Kisses from Brazil! =*

  12. All cards are beautiful! Congratulations to all the winners! =)

  13. CONGRATULATIONS to the winners! I love seeing the abundance of expressions in everyone’s designs. Thank you for sharing the Christmas spirit!

  14. How truly WONDERFUL to see such amazing work, by so many . . . C O N G R A T S to the winners, and to everyone else for being a part of this FUN challenge!!! Thank YOU to Susan January for judging, AND for sharing her terrific comments . . . and to Cherish & Valerie for making this happen!!!

  15. Congratulations to the winners! Your cards are FABULOUS, and you wins are richly deserved. All of the entries were wonderful, and so much fun to see!!!

  16. Love seeing ALL the wonderful cards! Congrats to the winners!

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