Go Card or Go Home!

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This is one of my choices of competition briefs for my contemporary illustration module. It’s hosted by Ohh Deer which is a stationery related band I have admired and enjoyed even before I started my university course. Go Card or Go Home is Ohh Deer’s annual greeting card competition. On their brief for the competition they state that they are looking for greetings cards that will fit in with their brand.

Ohh Deer was founded by Jamie Mitchell and Mark Callaby in 2011, with the official launch of their website in that November. They dreamed of creating a brand with gorgeous arty products, so in the evenings after working at their day jobs they beavered away developing the Ohh Deer blog. Slowly but surely they gained a following which gained momentum and not long after they started making their first products! From the very beginning the aim for the brand was to be recognised as a platform for illustrators to find an audience for their work and showcase their designs. Ohh Deer started by working with 10 illustrators who the founders met online and learned quite early on that combining the talent of lots of artists meant we had strength in numbers; those who found Ohh Deer because they liked one illustrator might find others that they liked too!

To get a better idea of what their brand reflected I had a look at their current product range. This showcased their artists humour and simple designs on their vast product range. Most illustrations had plain backgrounds and hand lettered type, which I will bear in mind when creating my designs.

Some of my favourite card designs on their website are as follows:

After getting to know a bit more about the company I looked closer at the brief’s requirements. I have copied and pasted the following to make it easier to refer back to when creating my designs:

At Ohh Deer HQ we’re working on Mother’s Day 2018 and we’re in the process of finalising Valentine’s 2018 so if there are any gems for Valentine’s we’d quite happily add these to the mix!

Submitting work that is either love or mum related will obviously catch our eye, but equally any occasion will be taken seriously. In no particular order here are some of the things you could submit cards for: birthday, wedding, engagement, age cards (18 / 21 / 30 / 40), congratulations, thank you, new baby, mum, dad, brother, sister, new home, love, good luck, academic (graduation / exams / thank you teacher), bon voyage, belated, sorry.

You can submit square, portrait or landscape artwork, we ask that you don’t superimpose designs on to blank products; we’ll use our imaginations and find the most appropriate product for the design. Competition closes 15 April 2017 Midnight.”



4 Entries Per User
Submissions for the competition will need to be submitted online on the following link: Submit work.
I have also looked closer at the Terms and Conditions for the brief to ensure I don’t miss anything vital.

Unfortunately I missed the deadline for this competition due to my circumstances, I was then able to take a look at what other people submitted to the competition. This helped to inform me what other illustrators thought would fit in with Ohh Deer’s brand. However, as it is an annual competition it is something I will look out for again next year and hopefully be able to submit my work then. However, Ohh Deer also have a submissions page, which is used in general and not for the competition, which is something I will consider doing anyway if I feel my designs would indeed fit in with their brand.



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I have four designs I can submit to the competition, I can either have four separate occasions to choose from or I could do two occasions in two different ways, or a combination thereof. I have decided to go with four separate occasions as this will build up my portfolio in a better light. I found out in the Ideas section that Ohh Deer will mostly be looking for Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day cards. I felt I should at least cover those two occasions. That leaves two more occasions I can do, I have decided I would like to do a Wedding Day card as I have a client for wedding invites and I think it would be a nice touch to create my own card for her wedding day. That leaves one more occasion I could do, I have settled on a birthday card as I always seem to need those for friends or family, so it would be good to share my own card design with them.

Now I have settled on what occasions to do for my designs I can now look further in to them and get further ideas for each one:

Valentine’s Day

Mother’s Day

Wedding Day


As my designs will be tailored for ‘Ohh Deer’ and their brand, I will make sure at least two of my designs will have a comical twist of some sort with them. I’m not sure if I will make my designs similar to have my own range or if I will approach each card separately to showcase my different abilities. I will test both of these out in my sketchbook before creating my final designs.



Processes & Techniques

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To begin with I wanted to look at How to make and sell your own greetings cards, therefore I looked at the link to see how the process works. Next I wanted to delve into the specific media choices I would like to try out on my designs.

Hand Lettered Cards:
Tips on creating hand lettered cards This was really good, I already knew most of these tips but it was good to refresh my memory.

Create a hand lettered greetings card This link was more tailored at the holidays but the skills used to create them could easily be transferred to other occasions. I really like how the texture of the hand drawn lettering has been kept, rather than just being turned into a vector which is what I would normally do, this is something I will definitely try out!


This video shows how to foil your own designs at home without it being printed, this is an option for me to try out. However it’s not as smooth as being printed professionally which is what I would prefer to do.

Foil print greetings cards
I’ve used this website before countless times, but it comes up whenever I search for foiled greetings cards. They give you the option to print your own designs professionally. It gives you helpful instructions on how to mock up your designs ready to be printed the way you desire. I’ve tried this out before but is good to refer back to in case I forget anything.

How to Laser cut greetings cards
How to create lasercut files in illustrator
This was really helpful as i’ve never lasercut anything before i’ve only ever papercut by hand, I think this will be excellent as it will make much smoother and cleaner linework than papercutting and be much better if I want to mass produce anything rather than cut things out individually by hand!
Laser cut greetings cards Again the website printed.com offer laser cutting options, and again they give tips on how to mock up your artwork, I will follow this closely to ensure my designs will print well.

Printed.com Greetings Cards As I would quite like to print my own designs even though its not required for the competition, I still feel like it would be good to test to see if my designs work well with foiling and lasercutting therefore for me personally I would like to follow through with the printing process so I can do this again in the future more successfully if anything goes wrong.




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Jordan Carter

Carter has used some very simple drawings to accentuate the humour in the cards, this can be seen in the ‘mum thanks for wiping my booty buns’ card. Carter has also used excellent portraits to create humorous cards such as ‘you’re my number 1 horcrux!’ which i think is a fantastic unique selling point for Carter.

Lim Heng Swee

Swee’s adorable drawings are accompanied by play on words and out of the box thinking that everyone can relate to; this can be seen in the ‘I don’t want to grow up that’s why i’m fat’ card. I also particularly like the ‘I lava you’ card with two very cute volcano characters. I think this type of humour is very common in ‘Ohh Deer’, so it’s probably something I should consider carefully when coming up with my ideas.

Sophie Corrigan

Just like the first two artist examples (Carter and Swee) Corrigan is another artist whose work is used on ‘Ohh Deer’ and again humour seems to be a consistent them in her work. I particularly love the play on words such as ‘Biscat’ and ‘uni-cone’, these are accompanied by very cute illustrations which again seems to be a very ‘Ohh Deer’ style.

Gramercy Studio

Now I know what ‘Ohh Deer’ is looking for, I also wanted to include some examples from independent artists whose work influences my own approach to this brief. This artist whose name is Jessie who has created her own shop on etsy has just used very simple typography for her designs. Her black and white type are highlighted with very colourful envelopes. I also like how it is just simply text on the cards, however I think the lack of colour on the cards would look pretty bland when on display next to other cards. Therefore, something to consider is the type and how I will use colour in my designs.

Our Heiday

Anthropologie’s play on “heyday,” was inspired by founder Patricia Shen’s mother and aunts, whose traditional Korean names all begin with “Hei” have a beautiful collection of simply illustrated cards. They are paired with beautiful hand lettered type, which is the style I wish to go for with my card designs. I also love that the lettering and parts of the illustrations are foiled, I really want to give this a try with my designs!

Alexis Mattox

Mattox’s decorative designs have been approached exactly the ways in which I would love to try with laser cutting and foiling. I love how the type has been used, which stands out over basic but beautiful backgrounds. I would like to try backgrounds like this for my designs.


Documentation of working process

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Mother’s Day:

Valentine’s Day:

Wedding Day:



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