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Sometimes it feels like a week doesn’t go by without an event, celebration, or occasion that requires a greetings card. And although showing you care, and are thinking of your loved ones, is always a compassionate thing to do that gives a warm fuzzy feeling to recipient and sender alike, it can also be time-consuming—especially if you’re in a rush to find the right card at the last minute. A quick fix? Designing your own, unique greeting card designs.

Illustration by OrangeCrush

Don’t forget your medium!

When deciding on your greeting card design, remember to consider which type of paper will best suit your needs:

  • Silk paper is popular and high quality but not too shiny
  • Textured paper is tactile and gives a luxury finish
  • Kraft is an eco-friendly option that has a brown tone that suits rustic or vintage styles
  • Pulp gives a vintage aesthetic
  • Laminated paper gives a smooth and pleasant surface with some shine to it
  • Matte laminated paper is smooth and natural, with added protection
  • Gloss paper has a shiny coating that’s more eye-catching than standard lamination or silk

Occasions to swap greeting card designs

Not only is it a more personal approach to card giving, creating bespoke greeting card designs are generally more sustainable. Start by considering the type of message you want to send: is it a celebration, a sad time, or a cultural festival? Then, think about who you’re audience will be so you can tailor it to them. To start you on your creative journey, we’ve got 35 of our favorite greeting card designs—organized by occasion!

Birthday cards

Even those who aren’t in the habit of exchanging greetings cards probably see birthday cards as an exception. When it comes to celebrations, birthdays are something of an equalizer as most of us like to celebrate and be celebrated. So if you want your loved one’s birthday card to really stand out, creating an extra special design is a great way to show how much you care.

dinosaur birthday card
Dinosaur design by kirsen

Think about what tone you want the card to have. Are you aiming for an in-joke between the receiver and yourself, or would they appreciate a picturesque scene involving flowers or animals. Intricate illustrations can show how much you care about the person, whether it’s of their favorite dog, dinosaur or Dahlia.

Thank you cards

This type of greeting card design has a wide potential audience. They tend to be more formal than other types of greeting cards because of this—the recipient could be a teacher, a neighbor, or a non-immediate relative. This means playing it safer than perhaps a birthday card.

gold and blue floral thank you card
Design by ivala

Use positive, informal—but not too informal—language and pick a design that’s going to sit pretty on their mantelpiece. Bright colors, bubble fonts and quirky mascots are all great ideas to feature.

Design by Lilla Bardenova via Dribbble

Anniversary cards

Whether it’s your anniversary or someone else’s, marking the special occasion with a card shows you’re thinking of the person (or people) you care about. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a wedding anniversary—there are plenty of annual occasions worth celebrating, so putting your own personal stamp on the design makes it all the more special. You could include the date of the anniversary, or choose imagery that represents key details about the celebration in question.

anniversary card design with cat, cupcakes, and fire breather
Anniversary card representing their personality by BATHI
anniversary card design an illustration of a woman surrounded by an oval frame with the words ‘Happy Anniversary to My Loving Wife’.
Anniversary card with an illustration representing the wife by Vanessa Ives

Mother’s and Father’s Day cards

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are big dates on the card-giving calendar but it’s not just your two biological parents that deserve celebration. For many of us, grandparents, caregivers, and other family members and friends deserve some appreciation.

illustrated mother’s day card

But the high street doesn’t always cater to the diverse needs of each unique family. That’s why creating your own design for these days adds an extra personal touch that perfectly fits your family dynamic—whoever you’re celebrating. Include photos, drawings, and text that covers the people you’re celebrating and why to share the full extent of your appreciation.

dog mother’s day card
An alternative Mother’s Day card design by rezahales

Good luck cards

There are plenty of occasions that deserve a good luck card, from sitting exams to interviews to undertaking big adventures. But greetings cards tend to keep it generic, so if you’re sending well-wishes to a friend or relative in a specific situation, the best way to show you’re thinking of them is by creating a personalized greetings card that represents their circumstances.

It also means you can set the tone of voice just right. Often, a catch-all ‘good luck’ card might be aimed at someone going through a stressful experience. But if your recipient is making an exciting change or taking a big leap, you’ll want to set the messaging so it’s perfect for that situation.

Congratulations cards

Throughout the course of a lifetime, there are so many occasions worthy of congratulating your friends and family that it’s hard to find a specific greetings card for each one. Whether it’s a milestone that you want to give a personal touch—like passing a driving test in your own car—or a niche moment in life that generic greetings cards just don’t cover, a personalized ‘congratulations’ card is a perfect choice. You can decide whether to use photos, illustrations, or any kind of graphic that makes the card extra special for the recipient.

New baby cards

Sick of pink and blue baby cards? We hear you. It’s not always easy to find a new baby card that doesn’t hit at least one cliche or stereotype—and even if that’s alright with you, giving a personalized card with the new baby’s name or date of birth will really stand out to the new parents sifting through piles of congratulatory gifts and greetings. It’s also a great opportunity to include imagery and messaging you know they’ll love and find meaningful, rather than the generic congratulations you’ll find in pre-made cards.

A baby card design with the text “congratulations! Welcome little one! Oscar
A personalised baby card design by alebelka

New home cards

New homes come in many shapes and sizes, and we mean that literally. But also, there’s a distinction between moving into your first flat, buying your first home, moving in with a partner, or simply just moving into a brand new space to make your own. And in our opinion, all those options deserve a greetings card. By designing your own ‘new home’ card, you can show your loved ones that you support and celebrate them, wherever they’re moving to. You could even include the name or number and an image of the new home on the card to make it extra special.

a blue card with a mobile home and the text Make your dreams happen
A personalised home card design by Helen Happens

Retirement cards

Quite the opposite of a new job card: retirement cards help the lucky retiree celebrate their next step, as well as their achievements in life. Whether your friend or family member is retiring early or has worked hard their whole life, a personalized retirement card that represents their life’s work is a memento they’ll want to keep. Keep the tone light and positive, and perhaps create a design that looks to the future and the activities they have planned as they enjoy their retirement.

retirement design of man sat by caravan
A retirement card design by kaiink

Thinking of you cards

You’ll often find ‘thinking of you’ cards in among the ‘sympathies’ section, and when someone you love is going through a difficult situation sending a card is a thoughtful and noninvasive way to let them know they’re on your mind. But these cards often veer into sad and sometimes religious themes when in reality there are countless reasons you could be thinking of someone.

So to get the tone and the meaning just right, design your own ‘thinking of you’ greetings card. Adding your own messaging means you can set the right tone to the card, and the design of your illustration or photograph can represent the reason you’re thinking of them more specifically.

a card with a cartoon of a weightlifting cookie and the text ‘You’re one tough cookie. Here’s to a swift recovery. Get well soon.’
A personalised get well soon card design by friyu

Valentine’s Day cards

Even the most loved up couples probably cringe at the greetings cards on offer when Valentine’s Day comes around. So to avoid awkward moments and ensure your special person really knows how much you love them, design your own. It’s a great way to personalize your Valentine’s Day card with special places, names, and unique references that only you two understand.

It’s the kind of occasion where every small thing makes a difference, so look at good quality paper and a message that strikes the right tone of voice for you and your partner—it’s something the shop offerings can often miss.

I love you to the moon and back, you make my heart skip a beet valentines day cards
A selection of Valentine’s card designs by asca

Wedding or engagement cards

Celebrating a wedding or engagement is a special time for any couple, so to make your greetings card stand out, make it extra personal. It could show a likeness of the happy couple, a place that’s special to them, or even the venue of their wedding. It’s a time when couples receive a lot of gifts and cards so a personalized design will help yours stand out. It’s the kind of occasion that will be remembered for a lifetime, so it’s worth going the extra mile on the details. Pulp or textured papers make a luxury-feeling card design for weddings and engagements.

Minimal wedding card
Sleek, minimal wedding card design by T o n k a
hand drawn RSVP card
Design by Brenda_montalvan

Christmas cards

Anyone who gives Christmas cards has likely found themselves frustrated by the generic packs of greetings cards that always look the same. They come in big boxes, and everyone you send cards to gets an almost identical version. You even run the risk of picking the same design as someone else on your Christmas card list. The best way to avoid this kind of faux pas? Design your own Christmas card, with an image of your family, a hand-drawn design of your own, or something that makes this special time of year unique to you.

Art Deco-inspired Card design
Family Christmas Card design by chris alfeus

And since not everybody celebrates Christmas in the same way, it’s a great way to hit the right mark for each of your loved ones. For religious recipients, you can create designs that nod to the Nativity or the more traditional festivities around Christmas, while for secular celebrators who observe Christmas as a cultural holiday you can opt for more contemporary designs and messages.

Passover cards

Though sending cards isn’t a Passover tradition, in modern cultures it’s often celebrated with cards and gift-giving. So whether you celebrate the holiday yourself or are just thinking of a friend that will be, creating a beautifully designed Passover greetings card is a thoughtful memento. Picking a card design that honors the Jewish tradition is always the best option, but for younger or less devout followers you could opt for a more contemporary graphic or illustration.

a Passover Haggadah design
A hand painted Passover card design by Moran Hynal via Behance

Eid cards

Eid is the biggest holiday on the Islamic calendar, so sending a card is part of the celebration. Whether you’re meeting and exchanging gifts with family and friends, or sending your well wishes to loved ones further afield, nothing says ‘Eid Mubarak!’ like a personalized greetings card.

eid greeting card
Design by Ghani Pradita via Dribbble

Opting for a traditional design that represents the holiday doesn’t have to be impersonal, though. There are plenty of contemporary graphics and messages that embody the spirit of Eid—however you celebrate it.

Ramadan cards

Sending a card to a Muslim during Ramadan is a thoughtful way to show your support for their month of fasting, praying, and religious study. It’s a time for giving and charity, so extending your well wishes in the form of a personalized greetings card is a compassionate way to let your friends and family know you appreciate their commitment. Including a message that’s specific to your friend or family member, and reflects on their personal experiences and qualities can make their celebration of Ramadan feel even more special.

a ramadan card design with Islamic symbolism on an altar
A contemporary Ramadan card design by Mohammed Khamis via Behance

Diwali cards

Diwali is a celebration of light and goodness, and sending a card is a great way to make a positive impact to anyone observing the day. For some, Diwali also coincides with harvest or New Year, so personalizing your greetings card will make your gesture even more special. Your design could represent the light displays that are famous around the holiday, or create a personal greeting for wealth and prosperity that is personal and specific to the circumstances of each of your friends and family.

symbolic diwali greeting card design
Symbolic Diwali greeting card design via Scribble

Easter card

If you’re giving an Easter egg, why not give a card as well? Or perhaps your loved one isn’t so interested in sweet treats but you’re still looking for a way to show them you’re thinking of them at this important Christian festival. Rather than picking a generic design of the rack, create your own extra personal Easter card. For children or non-religious observers consider the contemporary symbolism of the Easter bunny, chocolate eggs, and flowers and for Christians who observe the holiday more traditionally, you can look to Biblical iconography to set the appropriate tone.

Signing off

We’ve covered just 35 of our favorite greeting card design ideas. Whether it’s an event you’re celebrating or a time when you want to let someone know they’re on your mind, sending a greetings card is a great way to show you care and share the celebration with them.

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