As I looked over our stack of Christmas cards the other day, I noticed that there seem to be more and more cards with photos and other custom graphics each year. This year it seems like a good half of all of the cards we have gotten involve someone’s photos, or a personal message printed on the card, etc. Being the analytical guy I am, I started to try and ascertain why that is.
1. We know more creative people than we used to?
Actually, this is probably true to some extent. Doesn’t really explain the large growth in the personalized card market, but we do actually know more creative people, the kind who are more likely to want to design their own cards, than we used to.
2. I’m older, and many of the people sending me cards have kids they love to show off?
Also, somewhat true, and everyone knows pictures of little kids as part of your Christmas card is a sure winner! However, even 5 years ago many people I know had small children, and we didn’t get this many designed cards.
3. The imaging world has changed….
It really has. There was a time when the tools to get a great photo, design a card from the photo, and print the design were beyond the reach of most consumers. That simply isn’t true now. This year, even someone as design challenged as I am could pretty easily put together a Christmas card using my own photos.
For the record, I don’t. I also have the extra benefit of being married to someone with a PR/Communications background and mad design skills who can design cards much, much better than I can. However, even with her skills, it’s only been somewhat recently that she has access to thousands of digital photographs that we’ve taken, software to turn those photos into creative designs, and easily available options to get a high-quality print of the finished design. It didn’t break the bank either. We have a couple of Nikon DSLR cameras, but I’ve seen great cards made from even point and shoot digital cameras, as the photo technology has continued to get better and better. She used Photoshop Elements to get the designs. and I believe it cost us something like 12 cents per print at Walmart to get our finished product. Obviously, that’s well within reach of many, many people, and I think that’s great!
This year, we’ve seen some great cards. Having great camera technology and tools like Shutterfly, Kodak Gallery, Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, Picasa, etc. widely available allows anyone to really show off their creative side, and I’m enjoying the heck out of that. I get excited every year waiting to see what kinds of “draft” designs Angela is going to come up with, and then I get even more excited when I can share our photos, and her designs, with our friends and family. With so many options available for either designing your own, or buying pre-designed cards that fit your personality, that same excitement extends to seeing what our friends and family will be sending us as well.
Say what you will about the changes in photographic and design technology, but there’s no doubt it’s giving us all a great way to express ourselves!