Send it with love: how Central Saint Martins students designed the ultimate greeting cards with TouchNote

Amelia Heathman
The TouchNote x CSM winners - Diandra Elmira Putri, Milly McAlister, and Yolande Mutale: TouchNote

In a world of instant messaging, WhatsApp and Instagram likes, one might question what role the greeting card still plays in UK culture.

Despite the advent of the digital age, greeting cards are still a booming industry with the UK public spending £1.7 billion on cards in 2017 alone – though it’s not surprising about one billion cards sold every year are festive.

The digital greeting card space is growing too, thanks to UK companies like TouchNote which allow users to send custom-made cards, designed on their smartphone, or a chance to pick a design created by a TouchNote artist.

Recently, TouchNote launched a new partnership with Central Saint Martins (CSM) to encourage the university’s budding graphic design students to work on a commercial project for the first time. During the month-long project, the students were tasked with creating greeting cards for the company’s “everyday moments” range.

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"The project is not just about saying congratulations. It's about how you say that to your best mate? To your mum? To your kids? and how can you say that in a unique way?,” explained creative manager of CSM’s Design Lab, Benio Urbanowicz. “Essentially a great card brings people together. It makes people talk and it makes communication much more valuable and much more personal.”

TouchNote’s creative director Jesse Boyce mentored the students, helping them to refine their ideas in weekly workshops.

At the end of the project, three students, Diandra Elmira Putri, Milly McAlister, and Yolande Mutale, were selected for paid internships at TouchNote to enable them to gain further commercial experience. Their winning designs will form TouchNote’s inaugural Featured Artists collection. From “Welcome Home” cards featuring a cute array of packed boxes, to the essential card for a bestie, the designs are delightful and whimsical – everything you look for in a special card and not a cliché in sight.

The TouchNote x CSM winners - Diandra Elmira Putri, Milly McAlister, and Yolande Mutale (TouchNote )

Speaking about the partnership, TouchNote’s CEO Dan Ziv said, “We wanted to provide a credible platform for the stars of tomorrow to show off their work and be paid for their work with us. We were hugely impressed with the quality and creativity of the work presented by the CSM students. For such a young group they came up with some really original life events outside of the usual milestones that most cards celebrate.”

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CSM has a history of working closely with industry and these commercial partnerships offer a particular benefit to design students. Roles for graduate graphic designers aren’t easy to come by, with the jobs market down by around 50 per cent this year compared to last year, so finding a paid opportunity poses challenges to students. Experience like the TouchNote partnership is one way to achieve this, as well as a way for students to raise their profile.

"The great benefit of this collaboration for the students is that TouchNote is offering them the opportunity to start exploring their commercial careers. The students working on this might gain global recognition in their artwork being used to send personal and emotional messages,” added Urbanowicz.

The benefits are already paying off: Mutale has since secured a full-time position at the global creative agency Mother.

You can now purchase any of the winning CSM card designs at touchnote.com/CSM​

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