History Of Greeting Cards

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Today, greeting card is a nice trinket, which can be bought for ridiculous money, make a nice addition to the present. However, in the origins of its history, the card was an expensive product, made by hand by the order. Not everyone could afford such luxury.


One of the first known picture Postcards and greeting text card was sent by prisoner in custody  of Duke of Orleans to his family. This postcard is dated XV century. Later, artists engaged in the production of cards. For them it was very profitable business because card was considered expensive, its plot and congratulatory text have always been unique and customer usually were wealthy people. The appearance of such cards is also significantly different from that which we used to see on store shelves. They were small pictures painted with watercolors, oils, engravings and graphic works. Making cards took much more time, so it was important to find a master in advance and offer him the price, so the order was made in time.

The first who thought to replicated cards for sale, is considered to be Henry Cole. He ordered the artist John Horsley 40 lithographs with the image of his family and the caption “Merry Christmas!”. Relatives of Henry Cole was so pleased with the presents that he decided to order another 1,000 of lithographs for sale. Before that, as a greeting card, were used business cards, which were applied with handwritten greetings.


For a long time cards were presented as a gift from hand to hand, sent by messenger. Letters sent by post with open texts were considered as unethical gesture. The first release edition Postcards Austrian government decided in 1869. A year later, these cards have become popular thanks to the patriotic subjects of Leon Berdnarda. Later on the postcards began to portray reproductions of paintings, elements of folk costumes and other photos of aesthetic and entertaining programs.

Until the twentieth century, Postcards were expensive product, because the applying to them the image was still a long process. The image was transferred from the stone forms on paper. In the manufacture of color story cards for each color  were used separate stone form. But with the advent of the first offset machine on twentieth century, the manufacturing of cards became much more responsive process and the prices became more accessible. Cards produced on the eve of major holidays: Christmas, Easter, New Year’s e.t.c. But later the set of postcards genres later appeared devoted to various holidays, personal cards, such as  for mother, father, for loved ones.


Postcard were considered as a social phenomenon and often the most popular topics were related to political attitudes. For example, to this day, numerous cards with the revolutionary and military motives were saved. Before the start of the XXI century  Postcards  were illustrated with urban landscapes, reproductions of paintings by famous artists, photos of popular personalities and cartoon characters. With the development of television, the Internet and mass culture images on cards gained such diversity that today designers prefer to choose a minimalist design combined with a variety of poligraphic post-printing techniques, such as die-cutting, embossing, foiling and others.

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