The history behind greeting cards is fascinating. Did you know for example, that greeting cards may well go back as far as the ancient Egyptians? Or, that there is evidence that in ancient Chinese culture, greeting cards were used to convey New Year’s “best wishes”?
Stepping into the modern age, greeting cards are now exchanged on virtually every occasion, from Births to Deaths, Marriage, Divorce, Anniversaries ………….. and on special days: Birthdays, Valentines, Thanksgiving ……… and of course, Christmas. By some accounts, more than two Billion Christmas cards are exchanged annually, just within the United States!
There’s no doubt that the greeting card business is BIG BUSINESS. We’re all pretty familiar with the extensive display areas often set aside in retail outlets – displays that can be captivating, and designed to influence our purchasing preferences.
Personally, I find that buying a premade greeting card can be, more often than not, a daunting experience. It takes me forever to decide whether the card should be funny or serious, traditional or new age, sentimental and sappy, or …………
But, technology has come to my rescue, in a sense. Using the right computer software, I’ve found that I can construct my own greeting cards that are just as attractive as a premade store-bought card. And better yet, my self made cards seem to be more meaningful to those on my mailing list.
Recently, I tested the new Hallmark Card Studio 2011 application, which now includes – not only the tools to construct spectacular greeting cards, but integration with YouTube, Facebook, and other social networks; exclusive Hallmark fonts; and graphics for designing custom calendars, photo cards, note cards, matching stationery and envelope sets, as well as invitations and scrapbooks.
As a bonus, Hallmark Card Studio 2011 provides the user with an Event Planner which includes an address book and mailing list. Event Planner takes the worry out of trying to remember birthdays, anniversaries, and other important events.
New! User Interface – Easier than ever before with popular design tools now at your fingertips.
New! Integration with Facebook and other social networks.
Enhanced! Hallmark Graphics Collection with even more images.
Photo Cards, Calendars, 3D Cards & 3D Projects.
Hallmark Note Writing Guide.
Easy to Use! A tutorial gets you started fast.
6,700+ Hallmark Greeting Cards and customizable projects.
1,000+ Spectacular Graphics to complement your designs.
Search projects easily by design theme or occasion.
Event Planner can help you keep track of your schedule and contact information (including birthdays and anniversaries) for all the special people in your life.
Hallmark sentiment library with 5,400+ sentiments.
Installation, from the DVD, is the usual click – click – click, and you’re done – straightforward and simple.
The user interface has been designed, it seems to me, to appeal to the hobbyist and is a bit retro.
But, once past the opening screen, the interface reverts to a more familiar classical layout – as illustrated in the following screen capture.
The following screen shots represent a walkthrough in choosing, and then emailing a personalized Christmas card. Clicking on any graphic will expand it to it’s original size. Since these shots were captured on a 22 inch screen, they are very large.
I’ve chosen a rather sentimental card – but aren’t all technologists sentimental? You’ll notice that there are an abundance of tools and selections available so that you can customize to your hearts content.
Rather than having to stay with an old familiar message, you’re sure to find just what you’re looking for with the extensive “greetings” menu.
Adding sounds, and music to your card is a snap, and adds that “just so” finish.
Emailing your creation, or sharing it on Facebook and YouTube, couldn’t be easier. Simply select, and go for it!
I’ve been using this type of application for years, but Hallmark Card Studio 2011 is a major step up from what I’m use to. The choices and customization possibilities seem endless – very impressive.
Despite the fact that I’ve been using this application for only a few days, and I have yet to really dig below the surface, I have no hesitation in recommending Hallmark Card Studio 2011 to those who enjoy that special feeling that comes from construction their own greeting cards.
The application is available at $29.99 at the the publishers website here.
System Requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Win 7.
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