My Top 50 UK Greeting Card Publishers - Part 3 of 3
Written by Jean-Paul Michael
Welcome to Part 3, the final part of my three-part series in regard to my top 50 independent UK greeting card publishers. In Part 1, which you can read here, I wrote about my introduction to UK cards in the 1990s and why it's these cards that are leading the way in terms of the greeting card industry. I also wrote about 13 of my favourite UK publishers, such as Cinnamon Aitch, Citrus Bunn, Flying Teaspoons and Hallmark Cards UK.
In Part 2, which you can read here, I wrote about 18 more of my favourite UK card publishers, including Honovi Design, Paper Bird Publishing, Londonland Designs and I Drew This.
A selection of what the UK has to offer
Here in the final part of this series, Part 3, I would like to share with you 19 more UK publishers that I found to feature fabulous, original and beautiful cards - what I think are some of the best in the world and I am sure you will agree, too.
Paper Rose, Nottingham
Paper Rose has been making pretty, high-quality cards for more than thirty-two years now, using both traditional and modern techniques, including embossing, laser cutting and foil. They work with various artists and print their cards on FSC-certified paper, which is something we have in common. I really like their contemporary, award-winning humour cards and I'm sure kids will definitely love the cute Marzipan Toy Box cards created by artist Beverly Edge. Paper Rose is a real winner on all levels.
Peartree Heybridge, Harrogate
Publisher of humorous cards Peartree Heybridge has a very English-sounding name and their cards feature very English characters too. From best friends Camilla & Rose in their hilarious everyday situations, to the Spring Chicken cards which depict folk in their older years and Tottering-by-Gently showing landed gentry enjoying country life, the cards are a pleasure to look at. There are even cards featuring English entertainer Pam Ayres' poetry accompanied by apt art, and many of her well-loved verses will make you chuckle. It seems that Peartree Heybridge has something to tickle every kind of funny bone.
Penguin Ink, Bristol
While Penguin Ink does actually sell some penguin cards, which are cute as a button, they also have cards featuring lots of other lovely animals and birds, as well as baubles at Christmas. The simple-looking yet striking cards are made using the letterpress technique and with only one or two colours, and the eyes are the focus of each creature card. The cards are created using an original Heidelberg Platen printing press from the early 20th century and are printed on Fedrigoni's Materica, which is lovely Italian paper stock. Gorgeous products!
Plewsy, Northallerton, Yorkshire
Yorskhire-based Plewsy is Fiona Fawcett's design studio where she creates wonderful paper products including cards, gift wrap, prints and notebooks, as well as homeware such as mugs, bags and prints. Stockists around the world display her British-made products, which are all printed on FSC-approved paper or recycled materials. The cards are distinctive, pretty and original, with quirky Yorkshire sayings on many of them, like 'Eeh By Gum', 'Ow do' and 'Ey up', which I found fascinating!
Raspberry Blossom, Leytonstone, London
With a name that sounds good enough to eat, Raspberry Blossom attracted me from the get-go but it's the cards that they publish that keep me captivated. Partners Rebecca and Mark share the work, with Rebecca designing the gorgeous, brightly-coloured designs from her East London studio and Mark figuring out the business side. The colours used are simply gorgeous and I love the purple cards with stars that are on sale as well as so many others. What a collection!
Red Berry Cards, Witchford, Cambridgeshire
Red Berry Cards is an independent, design-led greeting card business run by Nicole Orsi, alongside her graphic design business rB Design. Her modern, unique range of cards are often quirky and always striking, especially the digitally illustrated Top Dog art cards, which would look amazing framed. Red Berry is another publisher like Northern Cards that uses stock sourced from sustainable forests and from FSC-certified printers, which we always love to see.
Rocket 68, Martock, Somerset
Rocket 68 is illustrator Jill White's Somerset-based business, where she designs gorgeous, distinctive cards which are stocked by many independent UK stores, museum shops, and larger chains, as well as internationally. Jill has illustrated for famous brands including Hallmark and Marks & Spencer but her own Rocket 68 products can be found at her shop in Martock. I love many of the designs but her quirky retro cards are my favourites.
Rosanna Rossi Ltd, Wickhamford, Worcestershire
Co-founders and designers Anna and Filippa run Rosanna Rossi, which is a modern greeting cards brand found in the charming Cotswolds. Using only the highest quality materials, they design and manufacture all kinds of cards for all kinds of occasions, blending colourful, hand-painted illustrations with embossing and foiling techniques. The detail is remarkable, which is why Rosanna Rossi made it to my list of favourites!
Rosie Made A Thing, Leicester
With such a unique name, Rosie Made A Thing was always going to stand out to me, but it's the quirky, extraordinary and hilarious designs that now have a place in my heart. Award-winning illustrator Rosie Harrison finds inspiration all around her for her designs that often depict family life and relationships and are printed on high-quality, textured card. Cards like 'Really Like You' had me in stitches but this one's a keeper for Valentine's...
Sarah Kelleher, Milton Keynes
If you're looking for unique, brightly-coloured cards with a rustic feel, Sarah Kelleher makes just that at her own kitchen table using traditional techniques. Printed in the UK on FSC-certified card, you'll find hand-cut lino cards, cards adorned with pom-poms and even ones hand-drawn with crayon, and so much more. I love the Ink Animal cards myself, which feature really delightful creatures awash with gorgeous colour.
Some Ink Nice, London
Using beautiful, hand-drawn, original fine art illustrations of animals and birds, Michael Davis at Some Ink Nice creates blank greeting cards and art prints and even the cards themselves would look gorgeous framed. From the shy cat to the cheeky degu, it's truly gorgeous art and all the cards are blank inside, so you can add your own words to suit any occasion. Plus all of the cards are printed according to sustainable Forest Stewardship Council standards.
Stormy Knight, Bristol
Sarah Knight's Stormy Knight was launched in 2013 and the cards feature her lovely artwork that has been inspired by nature, food, and even fun. All the cards are printed in the UK using only vegetable inks, on 100% recycled card stock, and are stocked all over the country as well as online. The concertina-fold cards are a nice touch and there are some really cute designs, including ones that feature toast, sausages and avocados!
Tatty Co Ltd, Shrewsbury
Tatty Co gets its name from the good old potato, as Shrewsbury-based artist Emma Dryburgh creates wonderful, handmade, potato printed greeting cards. Yes, you read that right - they are potato printed! The result is more beautiful than I would have expected, and you can tell that a lot of work goes into each design. You would never believe that some of them were made in this unique way!
The Great British Card Company, Gloucester
The Great British Card Company acquired various UK card publishers throughout the 80s and 90s, and more recently they acquired The Medici Society and Almanac Gallery too. Using FSC-certified materials, they publish a whole array of British greeting cards, ranging from humour and traditional cards to contemporary art and photographic cards, created by a variety of artists and with something available for everyone and all occasions.
The Typecast Gallery, Wimborne, Dorset
Dorset-based The Typecast Gallery proudly sells amazing British-made cards and prints and some of my favourites are themed on British staples, like Smarties and Heinz ketchup and baked beans. Cheryl Matthes' unique cards are digitally printed to the highest specifications, using the latest printing techniques, and are a sheer joy to look at. I am sure it would certainly be joyful to give or receive one of these contemporary, environmentally-friendly cards.
Think of Me Ltd, St Albans
With its sweet name, Think of Me was launched in 2004 by husband and wife team Daniel and Freya Kane and their small but perfectly formed range of cards covers several special occasions including milestone birthdays, friendship, weddings and get well. Their simple yet striking modern designs caught my eye and I'm happy to report that they are another UK publisher that uses eco-friendly paper that is FSC-certified, as well as vegetable inks.
Tillovision, Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire
Tillovision is a 'funny little card company', as they say, created by writer and designer Richard Tillotson who is based in Yorkshire in a small studio in his garden. I love his wonderful assortment of designs, mainly the ones with hilarious puns and super cute characters, and who doesn't need a collection of cards featuring talking cheeses?! Simply brilliant and totally British.
Tomcat Cards, Bognor Regis
You may well think that Bognor Regis-based Tomcat Cards specializes in feline greeting cards. And they do! I have never seen so many different variations of cat cards as on their website. If you weren't a cat lover before, you will be once you've seen this delightful array of designs but they do actually feature other creatures and subjects on some of their other lovely cards too. Current artists featured - Kim Haskins, Rhonda Davies and Vicky Mount - are very talented and Tomcat Cards does an amazing job showcasing their products.
View By Rufus, Thames Ditton, Surrey
View by Rufus may sound like a strange name for a card publisher, but these cards are said to be designed by Rufus the flat-coated retriever - when he's not napping, of course! Rufus and his owner Richard Curtis have a distinctly British range of cards, including the hilarious British superheroes - 'iron man' (see below), 'batman' (an English cricketer) and 'thaw' (who's been defrosting his freezer)! There are also some surprises too, like the extremely pretty 'dandelion' and the amazing London designs. Like many UK card publishers, View by Rufus are quirky, funny and very talented and I just can't get enough of them.
As a disclaimer, I should say that this post is by no means an exhaustive list of UK card publishers and is the last 19 of my top 50 favourites. Moreover, it only includes UK card sellers who currently have a website.
In the meantime, I truly hope that you take as much pleasure as I have meandering through these wonderful websites and I am sure among them you will find more than one special card you’ll want to send someone as an expression of caring or celebration.
Jean-Paul Michael has spent his entire adult life in the greeting card industry. He co-founded Northern Cards when he was 18 years old and over the last 3 decades, he has held many varying positions in the company. Today, he is proud to be Northern Cards' Publisher and a lifelong greeting card geek.