First and foremost, congratulations to Jennifer Soriano on winning the 8th Annual Create a Greeting Card Scholarship Contest!

Right now, Jennifer is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Illustration at the Academy of Art University.

We had an initial conversation with Jennifer, but we wanted to get a little more personal in this Q and A session in which she explains how her beautiful design came to life, what she truly wants to accomplish in her life as an artist, and what other artists could learn from her approach to the Create a Greeting Card Scholarship Contest.


MA: So, it’s been a few months – How has winning the 8th Annual Scholarship Program Contest affected you (besides being on top of the world)?

JS: Well, I have to admit to still being in a feeling of disbelief (that I won). It has been such a wonderful affirmation of all the work it takes to perfect one’s craft. I think, like many artists, we often question our abilities, especially in a world where artistic achievement is often overlooked – where our creations are often conceived in solitude. You begin to wonder if anything you paint or draw will matter to anyone else… its a little like putting your soul on display. The scholarship has certainly been both an  inspiration to work harder and to take pride in the work one achieves.

The money has been truly helpful to relieve some of the stress that comes with always figuring out how to pay for cost of tuition. Less stress of course means more energy to invest in one’s artwork.

MA: After reviewing your response towards, “What are your plans after Graduate School,” you stated you are “currently teaching studio art and want to become a better teacher.” What do you feel you need to do to accomplish this goal?

JS: While art may be created in solitude, its ideas are always rooted in other people. There is always an element of the artist’s character within their work. When I create a piece of art, it’s for people. When I teach art, it is not only for the individual student’s fulfillment as an artist, but also as a way for them to communicate artistically with their larger cultural setting. Part of communicating effectively is to understand what you want to say, who you are speaking to, and what is going to be the most effective telling of the story for your audience. I always like to think of art as being a conversation between the artist and the viewer.

(On computer’s changing the way an artist is evolving) – I decided it would be essential as both a teacher and an artist to learn new ways in which to use the computer to communicate a visual idea. Digital media today has a larger audience base and opens up many ways for the artist to communicate with as well. I also wanted to push myself to begin to think about different ways an artist could use this platform, whether they were using traditional illustration methods or digital painting programs. This is the world which my students navigate daily and I wanted to be a more effective educational leader for them by increasing my knowledge in this arena. I also felt the traditional world of artistic creation was an important component of being better able to manipulate new technology, so I wanted to increase my own technical ability in both traditional and digital painting techniques.

MA: What did you find to be the best and most challenging aspect of creating your artwork for the Greeting Card?

JS: I wanted to capture that feeling of when you are small and you are so excited for your birthday! The thing I remember (and is still true of my own children) is when you just can’t wait for that colorful mountain of sweetness that you get in fluffy frosting and colorful sprinkles. There is that barely contained excitement for the anticipation of cake!

2014 Scholarship Winner

I set up my still life of cupcakes so that it was from a child’s perspective, when you can see what’s waiting for you on the kitchen counter or table, but its out of your reach. I wanted to create the perspective like you were that child, looking up at that tempting row of cupcakes, and they are just out of reach.

I ended up sitting on the floor with a table easel in order to see my still life from a kid’s perspective with the cupcakes on the top of a pedestal. I got a real appreciation for the view kids have of much of the world (and their world). It is not the most comfortable position to paint from, but it was very effective.

MA: What did you think of the overall process of the Scholarship program? Besides being monetarily rewarding, was it a process where you feel you can grow from (as an artist and an individual)?

JS: Greeting cards are a form of communication and in this case, there is a very specific type of communication needed for a greeting card. As an artist, you have to think about the best way to communicate the theme. Additionally, you also have to think about the human being you are creating the card for, what ideas might appeal the most to them. It requires the artist to step outside of themselves into the mind of others and try to figure what moves them.

MA: Do you see this contest as being something rewarding to an artist in a creative aspect?

JS: I like these kind of mental challenges. You are presented with a problem and then you have to come up with a solution to the problem that is uniquely your own. Each of the artists who participated came up with answers to the theme that were vastly different. That is the wonderful part of the creative challenge… you get to see how other artists have different approaches to the same ideas.

MA: What advice can you give to other future participants of our Scholarship Program?

JS: Before you launch into drawing out an idea, think about who the card is for. Imagine a scenario in which it might be given and what is that person feeling. I think understanding the audience you are designing for is as important as the technical work of drawing or painting itself.

MA: If you could change anything about the Scholarship Program, what would it be?

JS: Perhaps people would benefit more if the news was spread to make (the contest) more widely known to the artistic community.  Especially as there is little financial support for working adults going back to school. As a group, we are often working full time jobs, supporting children, and even our children in college. Our financial burdens often outweigh younger students and there is little aid out there older students.

I happened to have a friend who saw the “Creating the Greeting Card Scholarship” contest because he ordered cards from The Gallery Collection. Prior to this, I had no idea such a contest existed or that graduate students were eligible! I wish I had known about it earlier.

I think (the Scholarship Program) is a wonderful way to support the education of artists.


Why You Should Send Congratulations Cards

by Marco H. on June 25, 2015

When someone in our lives achieves a goal or accomplishes something great, it is a nice gesture to congratulate them and wish them well.  The person will remember your gesture in the future and may even congratulate you with a card of their own!  A card that says “Congratulations” is perfect for countless occasions.   These may include the birth of a child, a graduation, securing a new job, or another similar accomplishment in someone’s life.

There is not a better feeling than someone who gives you a “Job Well Done” or “Congratulations” after you have worked so hard towards a goal.  That type of recognition can make us strive for more success and to achieve even bigger goals in our lives.  This is especially true when we know that our loved ones and friends are behind us supporting our dreams every step of the way.  This can also be true in the workplace.  A “Congratulations” can go a long way when recognizing an employee’s accomplishments.

You will always remember the people who send you a card on a special occasion.  This shows that they care, they are proud of you, and they are happy for you.  So the next time someone in your life deserves recognition, you’ll be happy to have these cards on hand!


Congratulations to Jennifer Soriano on winning the the 8th Annual $10,000 Create A Greeting Card Scholarship Contest!

The competition was fierce with over 13,000 entries submitted, but Jennifer marched to victory by creating a unique and beautifully designed card that enabled her to take home the prize!

This has been one of the most successful Scholarship contests to date!

We will continue our efforts on helping students achieve their goals with the Scholarship program. Please be on the lookout for the 9th Annual Create a Greeting Card Scholarship Contest!

Stay tuned for a blog post Q and A with Jennifer that explores what she did to win the grand prize!


                                    2014 Scholarship Winner


Ways to Monitor and Prevent Workplace Bullying

by Mickey S. on June 22, 2015

Bullying is sometimes not out in the open, but it occurs much more than we think.  Managers and Supervisors should keep their eyes and ears open to make sure employees are treating each other with respect.  Bullying can take place for many reasons and in many cases can be prejudice or racist.  Some of these reasons can include appearance, sexual orientation, sexual preference, political views, religious beliefs, or race.  One good way to monitor how your employees are being treated is to simply talk with them.  Let them know when they are hired to speak up or inform a supervisor if they or someone else in the office is being bullied.  Bullying can be an action of just one employee or a group of employees.

You would think that bullying ends when we leave High School, but it continues on for many folks into their careers and adult lives. If you see someone who has been vulnerable to bullying or verbal abuse, acknowledge them in a positive way.  Maybe sit with them at lunch one day, or start a casual discussion with them on their break.  You’ll never know what a few minutes of positivity could be doing for this person who is currently being mistreated.

The best way to prevent workplace bullying is to constantly enforce respect and kindness within the office.  We all work very hard and dedicate our current lives to our careers. Everyone deserves the same courtesy as you would expect to receive yourself and we should consistently remind our employees and co-workers of this.


Should You Get Your Boss a Birthday Gift?

by Paula M. on June 18, 2015

I have been working for over 40 years and I have never given my boss a birthday gift nor was I ever asked to chip in for a birthday gift for any boss nor did I ever witness anyone giving their boss a birthday gift!  There are many phrases that describe giving gifts to your boss but I will keep this clean and you can use your own imagination. I really do not think a boss should accept a gift from an employee unless it is a group which includes everyone on the team and it is a special occasion like retirement or promotion.

I am not anti-boss or cheap in any way but it is a bad precedence to set and once you start how will you stop if need be?  What if he already has what you gave him? What if he hates what you gave him? What if you insulted him with your gift?  What if he decides he is paying you too much?  What if he thinks he has to reciprocate with all of you? Yikes!

What I think is appropriate would be a humorous, light hearted Birthday card signed by all; no inside jokes or off color humor-just “Happy Birthday Boss and Many More” then sign your name. Don’t add any closing greeting like” Love” or “See ya later”.


What distinguishes a great company from a good company? One that remembers to wish its employees a happy birthday! It may seem like such a simple gesture but wishing your employees a happy birthday with a birthday card will show that your company truly cares about its employees. Here are a few picks that will show your employees how much you appreciate them:

The Stars and Streamers Birthday Card on cream matte stock features a dazzling array of gold foil stars and decorative streamers on the front surrounding a beautiful blue gift box. A die-cut box completes the attractive look of the card by featuring your company name in gold.

For coworkers, the Birthday Gathering Card would be an especially great card for department coworkers or the whole office employees. This charming design features cartoon characters as coworkers with the warm message, “Happy birthday from all of us!” There is also an elderly gentleman with a red bowtie waving from a yellow cake with pink icing that says “Celebrate!” The happy message of the card will surely make your employees and coworkers smile.

Another great birthday celebration card for employees is the Party Birds Birthday Card. Wish your colleagues a happy birthday from everyone through this amazingly detailed and colorful birthday card featuring birds with party hats and detailed tail feathers. This card is another fun and memorable card that will impress your colleagues.

The Happy Birthday Glow Card features “Happy Birthday” as beautifully embossed letters. The “Happy Birthday” letters look like birthday candles amongst the decorative detail, such as the embossed, colorful stars. Once again, this card is perfect for companies because of the die-cut window on the front that attractively displays either your company name in gold or a personalized message.

Finally, the Birthday Starburst Card on white matte stock is a simple but truly attractive birthday card featuring a large blue balloon with silver iridescent stars sparkling. Variegated foil in shades of blue and silver sparkle while tiny silver embossed stars surround the blue balloon, creating depth. This card is another “don’t miss” birthday card that would be perfect for your employees.


Why You Should Send Business Photo Cards

by Mike Anton on June 11, 2015

Looking to add that personal touch to your business greeting cards?  Why not add a photo?

Sending a business photo card looks professional but it is also very convenient and an easy process to create.  One popular idea is to take a photo of your staff to put on the card so you can send it to clients, customers, and businesses around the country.  I feel many businesses who receive your card may have possibly never met most or any of your staff in person.  It is a nice thing to finally be able to put faces to the voices they hear all year round while negotiating, setting up contracts, and communicating over the phone.

If you are a small and family oriented business, you can take a nice holiday photo of your family to include on the card.  You could also include a nice photo from your family vacation over the summer.  This adds a really great personal and intimate touch to your greeting card that many others may not have.  You could also include a picture on your card that doesn’t feature anybody at all.  Maybe it was a beautiful photo you took down at the beach over the summer, or a nice shot you caught of a family of deer while you were camping in the mountains last winter.

It’s always a nice idea to write your own greeting.  But as everyone always says, a picture can speak a thousand words!


All Purpose Cards Are There For Any Occasion

by Karla B. on June 8, 2015

Keeping all purpose cards on hand is always a great idea.  These cards can be used at a moment’s notice for whatever the occasion brings.  Sometimes all a person needs is the simplicity and warmth of a card to let them know they matter.  In good times and bad, all purpose cards will make an impact on the recipient.

All purpose cards can result in changing the mood or enhancing the energy of another person.  The employee who just found out her father is sick can find comfort in the Sunny Hopes and Well Wishes card.  The co-worker who just purchased a brand new house can relish in the Contemporary Congratulations card.  The Garden Path Painting Greeting card is perfect to inspire a friend who may be at a crossroads in life.  Cards are a form of expression that someone can look back at and be reminded that they are not experiencing life alone.

All purpose cards are there for any occasion with always a single purpose:  to make a person feel connected to another.  I know whether I am feeling alone and sad or happy and excited, it is always nice to know that there is someone else sympathizing or relishing in my feelings.  I want the people in my life to feel special which is why I make sure I always take full advantage of all purpose cards.


You know what I love about birthdays?? All that food! The cakes, the cupcakes, the brownies…ALL THE SWEETS! It’s the greatest. But there’s something even better than that. How could something be better than food you ask? Well it is possibly my friends. Yup, it’s receiving your favorite goodies on a birthday card!

Think I’m lying? Check out these 5 birthday cards from The Gallery Collection that are sure to make you say “Yummy”.

1)    Happy Birthday to You! Card [Design # 57PJE]
This birthday card is sure to highly please your senses, especially to taste! Perfect for the ladies in your office this card offers wonderful pink, purple & green colors to ensure to make someone’s birthday very special.

2)    Happy Birthday! Card [Design # 50QJE]
With this birthday card perfect for either male or female co-workers, it’s a great way to celebrate their birthday…with a little help from chocolate birthday cake.

3)    Six Layers of Fun Birthday Card [Design # 58PJR]
What happens when a birthday celebration meets Alice in Wonderland? You end up with this fun birthday card design! Who doesn’t love a birthday cake inspired by a Disney movie?

4)    Cupcake Trio Birthday Card [Design # 55PJE]
My personal favorite birthday card! This adorable birthday card is perfect to give to your fellow co-worker. A great way to add a cherry on top of a fantastic birthday festivity for your employee.

5)    Sweet Birthday Card [Design # 52PJR]
And last but definitely not least, this delightful & lovely birthday card. Simple but sweet, it gets right to the point: Wishing you a happy birthday!

With all these pleasant & enjoyable birthday cards to choose from, it makes you start to wonder if it’s ok to always skip dinner & go right to dessert!


How to Dress for Job Interview Success

by Macy L. on June 1, 2015

It’s the night before the big interview and the last thing you want to think about is outfit coordination for the big day. I hear you. Before you play closet Russian roulette and pull out an outdated vintage suit, (unless that’s your style!) here are a few tips to simplify the guesswork out of perfecting the right outfit for job interview success.

First, ask yourself three “Goldilocks”-type questions:

1. Is this [shirt/suit/pants/dress/ shoes] too big? Don’t wear it.
2. Is this [shirt/suit/pants/dress/ shoes] too small? Don’t wear it.
3. Is the fit just right? Meaning nothing is overly baggy, stretched out, or cutting off blood circulation?

Good. We are one step closer to finding a successful job interview attire from your closet.

This may seem obvious but the comfort and fit of your clothes is important while interviewing because wearing a fitted outfit will not only look better but make you feel more at ease in the interview. If all you can think about is how tight your shoes feel or how long your pants are, you might seem distracted during the interview.

1. If you don’t already have one, consider investing in a neutral-colored suit, in black, grey or beige. Pin-stripes are acceptable as long as the lines are small and not distracting.
2. If you wear a patterned-suit, then wear a solid-colored shirt/blouse on the inside. The opposite holds true as well: if you have a solid-colored suit, you have the option to wear a pattern-colored shirt/blouse on the inside. The rule is, just don’t mix patterns with patterns. They can clash and look too distracting.

Dress Shirts
1.  Always have a few presentable dress shirts in the right size. Stick with a few solid colors, like blue or white for safety. If you like more adventurous colors, try a light color like light lavender, which is modern and universally flattering. As long as the color is not too flashy or distracting, it should be fine.
2. Take the extra 5 minutes to iron out any wrinkles. Shirts with crisp collars look neat, tidy, and professional compared to a shirt just pulled out of the dryer.
3. Flatly tuck in your dress shirt/blouse to your pants or skirt to avoid bunching up the shirt.

1. If you are wearing a suit jacket, make sure the pant color matches the suit exactly.
2. Iron out all the wrinkles.
3. For ladies, make sure the skirt hits around the knee for the perfect length.

Stick with neutral colors, like brown or black for a professional interview. For ladies, heels are acceptable but sticking with a flatter heel will provide for more comfort.

Remember, you can still customize your job interview outfit to personalize yourself but make sure to pick clothes that give you the best comfort and confidence. Don’t wear clothes that will distract you or the interviewer from the job interview process so you can focus on acing that interview.
Finally, make sure all your shoes laces are tied and all buttons are buttoned up.  Good luck with your interview!