Award Design: A Hallmark Checklist

August 5, 2020

Need a greeting card? Recently my wife and I went to the local Hallmark store to purchase some thank you notes, a sympathy and birthday card. I think there are three keys, maybe four, to expressing our thoughts of celebration, friendship, gratitude or sympathy. The image here represents only about one-quarter of the total inventory in the store.

So, from the store’s gallery of cards, what is the process we all go through to select the right expression from hundreds of pre-designed choices?

1 – Visual Artistry and Cover Message

Our first impressions are defined by the artistry of the card face and how that visually sets the tone. Does the image create the right emotion? It is important to make a judgment about the recipient’s personality and taste. In addition, along with the art, do the words complement the image and invite you to open to the inside expression?

2 – Inside Expression

Do the pre-printed words match the event, occasion or milestone? In addition, do they reflect your feelings about that individual and their experience or event?

3 – Your Words

Up to this point you have chosen the most apropos card in the store from hundreds of choices. You took the time to travel, choose and purchase. The recipient knows that. What we also know is that your acknowledgment will be remembered by the hand-written note you took the time to add above your signature. How many of you save those you have received?

4 – The Cost

Do you know Hallmark sells $.99 cards?  Of course, and we buy them to include with grandkid’s Halloween or Valentines care packages. Plus, you get a hefty discount on the seasonal talking/dancing stuffed character. On the other hand, I think low budget or lower quality is not a good match for an authentic expression. I don’t think the card recipient looks at the barcode cost at the back of the card, rather they will appreciate more the gesture and personalized message if only a few words. Those are the ones that get saved and remembered.

One More Thing

This just occurred to me – maybe there is another factor. It’s that a snail-mailed card is in stark contrast today to the prevailing, #hashtag world of emoji’s, likes and shares. I know … I’m old-fashioned.

Conclusion – And Awards?

Awards to mark or celebrate success or milestones should be chosen similarly to greeting card purchases with these parallels:

Visual Artistry: how is the crystal/medallion/sculpture visually and artistically applicable?

Inside Expression: your inscription … make it more than logo, date and “presented to”.

Your Words: own the expression, write it and add your signature

Cost: custom design permits cost ranges appropriate for the achievement  

Finally: be present … consider this