Greeting Card Designers and Writers
As a freelancer, you can work anywhere in the country and submit your work through the mail or online. Writer’s Market, a reference book that is published annually, includes sections listing the greeting card companies that accept submissions from freelance artists and writers. The Greeting Card Association also provides a list of its members who accept outside submissions from artists and writers at its Web site, http://www.greetingcard.org. While some companies only buy a few ideas a year, others buy hundreds of ideas. Hallmark, by far the largest greeting card manufacturer, doesn’t accept unsolicited ideas, but hires many creative people for full-time staff positions. However, because of Hallmark’s reputation as a great employer, competition for those positions is high.
Get to know the market by visiting local card shops; find out what's popular, and what kinds of cards each company sells. Visit the Web sites of the greeting card companies listed in Writer's Market and study their online catalogs. Most companies have very specific guidelines; one may publish only humorous cards, while another may only publish inspirational poems. Once you have a good sense of what companies are looking for, contact manufacturers, find out their submission guidelines, and send in samples of your work. Additionally, many large greeting card companies allow you to apply for jobs and internships at their Web sites. Additionally, at Hallmark's career Web site, https://careers.hallmark.com, you can browse job opportunities and sign up for e-mail notifications that will keep you informed about job openings that match your interests.
After you've submitted a lot of your work to many different companies, you'll begin to make connections with people in the business. These connections can be valuable, leading you to jobs with better pay (such as royalties and percentages) and exclusive contracts. As you get to know the business better, you may choose to produce and market your own line of cards. If you work full time for a company, you might advance to the position of lead designer or manager of a design department.
Tips for Entry
Visit the Web sites of Hallmark (https://careers.hallmark.com) and American Greetings (https://www.americangreetings.com/corporate/careers) to learn more about job opportunities.
Land an entry-level job at Hallmark or other major greeting card companies to get your foot in the door and make networking contacts.
Attend the National Stationery Show (http://www.nationalstationeryshow.com) to network and learn more about the greeting card industry.