Greeting Card Design - Should Your Cards be Landscape or Portrait?

October 04, 2016

Greeting Card Design - Should Your Cards be Landscape or Portrait?

Crud. I made a mistake. A big one.

One of my greeting card collections is "Word - Words with Meaning." It is a line that explores alternate definitions of words than those found in dictionaries.

When I originally created the line - and released it for sale - it included eight cards. A complete line should have 30 - 40 cards, so my first eight were just testing the waters. Still, they had a definite design and I had another 20 or so already following that design but not yet released.

I really like the design. It is something I am proud of and something that has received great reviews and decent sales for a new collection. Unfortunately, the design just does not fit in with my future plans.


Because I designed the collection to fit with my own aesthetics and forgot about those of the customers I am planning to approach - brick-and-mortar shop owners.

You see, I created the line with a landscape format. This means that the A2 (4.25 x 5.5) cards were wider than they were high. 

So what? Well, like me you might have seen a lot of landscape-oriented cards that you admire. In fact, you might have purchased a number of them. On Etsy. Or on another online shop, that is.

Chances are that you have not purchased a landscape-oriented card at a brick-and-mortar shop. 


Because brick-and-mortar shops have to pay attention to square footage, something that online shops like this one and Etsy, don't have to do.

Sobriety Greeting Card from Kat Mariaca Studio

Consider this: Say a brick-and-mortar shop has a 3-feet-wide greeting card display case. Further, it has five rows of shelves or racks where cards can be displayed.

Now, figure out how many cards can be displayed on each shelf or rack. If the cards are displayed landscape, with the 5.5" side on the shelf, then each shelf/rack can display 6 cards without overlapping. If the cards are portrait-oriented, with the 4.25" side down, then each shelf/rack can hold 8 cards without overlapping. 

Displayed side-by-side each shelf/rack with portrait-designed cards holds 25% more cards than do the shelves/racks with landscape-designed cards.

Now imagine that the store nets $2.00 per card. If the store sells all the cards, the store will earn (net) $12.00 per shelf/rack, or $60.00 per the entire 5-row display case with landscape-oriented cards. Portrait-oriented cards, however, will net the store $16.00 per shelf/rack, or $80.00 in total.

Sobriety Greeting Card from Kat Mariaca Studio

So, as a greeting card designer who is moving from online shops into brick-and-mortar shops, what does this mean for me and for my business? It means that I need to design my cards with my customers in mind - I need to design my cards with a portrait orientation.

I've spent the past week re-designing my Word - Words with Meaning collection so that they are taller than they are wide. It was a pain, yes, but it was a great reminder that I have to design my cards for my customers, not for myself.

Sneak Peek at My New Greeting Card Design

And, while I was at it, I updated the back panel of my cards with my new design - which all my cards will sport beginning in November. What do you think?

Sobriety Greeting Card by Kat Mariaca Studio


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