Greetings Card - What, When and How :
By Ajitesh Biswas
Whenever you need to wish your friend or acquaintances happy and belated birthday, or wish your near and dear ones merry Christmas, or send your beloved one happy valentines day wishes or just say hello or give a "get well soon message to your bosom friend, you just go to a greetings card outlet or visit an online greetings card website and send the desired card. Have you ever wondered what greetings card is all about and how did it originate. If you have the desire to know, this article is for you.
So, lets start with what is a greeting card. Originally, greeting cards derive from postcards (which are single sided without the fold) and are an illustrated, folded card usually featuring a message of greeting or other sentiment. They can be either printed or handmade. Now, with the advent of Internet though, virtual greetings cards have evolved which doesnot fit into the above-mentioned definition. Although greeting cards are usually given on special occasions such as birthdays, Christmas or other holidays, they are also sent on 'non-occasions' to say 'hello' or 'thank you'. They are manufactured and/or hand-made by hundreds of companies big and small.
Hallmark Cards and American Greetings are the largest producers of greeting cards in the U.S. It's the UK, where more cards per head are sent than any other nation. The UK continues as a world leader in this area, as well as leading the world in the region of greeting card design.
What laid the foundation for the greeting card industry and when and how did it all began ?
The custom of sending greeting cards can be traced back to the ancient Chinese, who exchanged messages of good will to celebrate the New Year, and to the early Egyptians, who conveyed their greetings on papyrus scrolls.
By the early 1400s, handmade paper greeting cards were being exchanged in Europe. The Germans are known to have printed New Year's greetings from woodcuts as early as 1400, and handmade paper Valentines were being exchanged in various parts of Europe in the early to mid-1400s.
However, by the 1850s, the greeting card had been transformed from a relatively expensive, handmade and hand-delivered gift to a popular and affordable means of personal communication, due largely to advances in printing and mechanization.
This trend continued, fuelled by new trends like Christmas cards, the first of which appeared in published form in London in 1843 when Sir Henry Cole hired artist John Calcott Horsley to design a holiday card that he could send to his friends and acquaintances. Technical developments like color lithography in 1930 propelled the manufactured greeting card industry forward.
During the 1980s the trend began to turn, with consumers increasing looking for greeting cards that were differentiated from the standard offering. In the late 1990s the market was clearly beginning to separate in to three different segments:
1. handmade and premium cards
2. mass-manufactured cards
So, this is all about how the greetings card industry begun and flourished. Though the current trend is to send greetings through e-cards, there is the need to sustain the traditional greetings card industry and maintaining the age-old tradition of sending greetings card via conventional means.
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