The best designer-made holiday cards to send before it’s too late

From handmade craft to architectural brute, these cards are sure to delight the designer in your life.

The best designer-made holiday cards to send before it’s too late

I know, I know, you were going to get those holiday cards out yesterday. So was I. But here we are, in the prime-time greeting card season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, and we haven’t sent any well wishes out to our loved ones, with nary an envelope sealed. There are a few routes to go here: Just don’t send cards, try again next year, or get them out ASAP and keep your design friends (and perhaps, potential networking opportunities) happy with a personal note from you delivered straight to their doorstep. If you’re still pondering which cards to send, look no further—I’ve pulled the prettiest holiday cards that are certain to bring cheer. Even in a season filled with shiny objects.


Greenwich Letterpress

[Image: courtesy Greenwich Letterpress]

Up some stairs and tucked behind a pastel pink door in New York’s Greenwich Village is Greenwich Letterpress. The independently owned custom letterpress and shop was founded by two sisters back in 2005, and has made original, fun-loving cards with a pop-culture twist ever since. Whether sending to a connoisseur of culture (by that I mean, someone who would be in a Dawson’s Creek reboot focus group) or craft, a holiday card from this letterpress is sure to delight.

Alexander Girard nativity card

[Image: Alexander Girard/courtesy Vitra]

Alexander Girard was a midcentury design heavyweight, but not for the modernism the era is most known for. Rather than err toward the subdued, Girard integrated the styles of American folk art and the American Southwest into his work, and in so doing brought pattern, color, and whimsy to every piece he touched.

While his design practice included textile, interior, industrial, interior design, and more, you can capture Girard’s joie de vivre within the confines of this card, which depicts a nativity scene just right for the season.

Barbican Estate winter series

[Image: courtesy Things You Can Buy]

These cards, designed by Stefi Orazi, apply a lovely rendering to a brutalist architectural favorite: London’s Barbican Estate, designed by architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon. A set offers six different views of the estate on a snowy winter night, and somehow make the large concrete structure look cozy and inviting. The cards mark a historical milestone, too, since Orazi created this commemorative edition to mark the 50th anniversary of the first residents moving into the complex.

Brutalist cards

[Image: courtesy Infromthestorm]

Brutalism fans, another reason to rejoice—new editions of brutalist holiday cards by U.K.-based creative agency Infromthestorm are back for 2019. This year, this set of six cards showcases concrete Rudolphs and snowflakes, made from images of brutalist London parking garage Welbeck; and one variety that showcases the National Theatre on London’s South Bank. Sure, brutalism might not be the first thing you think of to inspire festive cheer, and all that concrete would certainly weigh Rudolph down a bit, but Emma Ayres, who designed the cards with photography by Nick Miners, solved for that problem by using CMYK backgrounds like cyan, magenta, or yellow to act as a bright contrast. And for the National Theatre? “A flurry of snow to liven the beton brut up a bit!”

There you have it. Now, the rest is on your own: stamps.


About the author

Lilly Smith is an associate editor of Co.Design. She was previously the editor of Design Observer, and a contributing writer to AIGA Eye on Design.