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Best Sources for Inspiration When Designing Holiday Cards

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If you are planning on designing your own holiday greeting cards this year but are lacking in inspiration, fear not. Here are some of the best inspirational sources that can spark your creativity.

Flora and Fauna of the Season

You could unleash your creativity by drawing inspiration from the natural world. The winter holiday season is associated with many natural elements, such as snowflakes, pine cones, evergreen trees, holly berries, and red-breasted robins. 

So, consider blending such elements with your unique artistic touch to create cards that put winter’s natural beauty at the heart of your designs.

Winter’s Colour Palette

If you prefer a card design with less figurative elements but still want to convey that wintery feel, be inspired by winter’s colour palette. 

By matching icy blues and silvers, to reflect the season’s chill, with fiery reds and golds, to represent the warmth of a family home, for instance, you can create an abstract eye-catching design that is sure to leave an unforgettable impression on the greeting cards’ recipients. 

Holiday Symbols

Using symbols aligned with the holiday season could add depth and relevance to your designs. 

Whether you use Christmas ornaments or trees for Christmas cards or incorporate menorahs in your designs for Hanukkah cards, such symbols will resonate with people’s cherished traditions.  

So, research different holiday symbols that are relevant to the cards’ recipients to draw inspiration.

Holiday Books, Movies or Songs

Many books, movies, and songs are associated with Christmas and the winter holiday season. So, why not take inspiration from them?

For instance, you could directly or indirectly reference Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol novel, Frank Capra’s It's a Wonderful Life film or Bing Crosby’s White Christmas song. 

Holiday Eats and Treats

Indulgent food is synonymous with holiday festivities, so consider embedding images of things like cookies, candy canes, gingerbread houses, and golden chocolate coins in your card designs. 

Such deliciously colourful images are sure to make an impact.

The Season’s Fashion Trends

Another potential source of inspiration when designing holiday cards is current fashion trends

From the colour and texture of popular winter fabrics to patterns on a stylish Christmas jumper, such trends can offer exciting visuals to your design. 

For instance, you could add an illustration of a chic winter scarf or festive bauble earrings, or use plaid and tartan patterns as a background to give your card a trendy appeal. 

And once you start exploring fashion trends, you might even like to begin your own fashion brand!

Famous Quotes

You could incorporate heartfelt sentiments expressed in articulate quotes as text visuals for your card design. 

A memorable phrase from popular culture or wise words from an influential figure can add depth to your designs and provide food for thought.

Just make sure the quotes are suitable for the holiday season. 

Vintage and Retro Themes

Drawing inspiration from the past can yield some timeless designs. So, consider looking at vintage and retro themes for inspiration. 

Stylised font types like Gothic or Victorian, images of toys from the 1960s, or a colour palette inspired by the 1970s disco era could bring unique and nostalgic charm to your holiday card designs.


If you own pets, why not take inspiration from them?  

You could incorporate them into your card designs by taking photos of dogs wearing Santa hats, for instance.


For further inspiration, look up pictures of pets during the holiday season online. 

Craft-Inspired Design

A DIY-style design will add a personal feel to your holiday cards.

Beautiful embroidery patterns on stockings, glittery art made by snow spray on window panes or curled paper crafts could add an extra sparkle to your greeting cards.

So, look up different craft-making ideas for inspiration.

Existing Greeting Cards

One of the best sources for inspiration when designing holiday cards is other greeting cards.

By looking at a number of existing holiday cards online, or rummaging through old cards you have received, you can fuel your creativity.

You should not simply imitate a design, though. Instead, try to conceptualise ideas to put a fresh spin on a design that is uniquely yours and connects with your recipients in a personal and endearing way.


You could take inspiration from art, too.  

Styles ranging from abstract art and Surrealism to Cubism and Art Deco could help you in coming up with a unique design for your greeting cards, so make sure you spend time browsing different art movements and styles to find one that resonates with you this holiday season.


The holiday season is a time of fun, so do not be afraid of adding some humour to your greeting card designs.  

Making someone laugh is always a plus. So, read jokes, watch comedy movies, and look up funny quotes, to name just a few ideas, to gain inspiration for your humorous card design. 

Online Design Tools and Resources

A wide array of resources and design tools are available online, so make good use of them. 

Websites like Pinterest, Behance and Dribbble feature countless design ideas. You can also look at professional design websites to find out about the latest design trends, colour schemes, typography styles and paper textures.  

Additionally, online graphic design tools offer easily customizable templates that you can modify as per your vision. By simply playing around with the many editing tools on offer, you can become inspired and find new ways of approaching your designs. 

Online tutorials on YouTube or Skillshare can also equip you with new techniques to improve your greeting card design skills further. 

The Recipients

Lastly, you can gain inspiration from the card recipients themselves. You could design individual cards for individual people or you could design cards for different groups of recipients, such as cards for family, cards for friends and cards for your in-house and remote employees.

Just like employees appreciate being given personalised thank you gifts in recognition of their hard work, they will appreciate holiday greeting cards that are more personal and thoughtful. The same goes for family members, friends and other groups of recipients.

So, when designing cards, be inspired by the people who you are giving them to. For instance, if the person loves golf, you could include a golfing theme that is tied to Christmas, such as an image of a golfer swinging a club wrapped in tinsel.


The above sources of inspiration should help you on your way to creating bespoke and aesthetically pleasing greeting cards this holiday season. 

So, to recap, consider taking inspiration from:

  • Flora and Fauna of the Season.
  • Winter’s Colour Palette.
  • Holiday Symbols.
  • Holiday Books, Movies or Songs.
  • Holiday Eats and Treats.
  • The Season’s Fashion Trends.
  • Famous Quotes.
  • Vintage and Retro Themes.
  • Pets.
  • Craft-Inspired Design.
  • Existing Greeting Cards.
  • Art.
  • Humour.
  • Online Design Tools and Resources.
  • The Recipients. 


November 1, 2023
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