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Christmas Design Brief by Laura Holman

A Christmas Design Brief by Laura Holman

Laura's shop, The Art of Laura J. Holman, has been a customer favorite of Card Gnome since she joined. Nature, animals, and especially people inspire Laura on a daily basis. She's an award winning advertising art director, published illustrator, and has taught art for many rewarding years to elementary school students. Laura mainly creates art from a place of joy for the young and young at heart.


Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa... It is hard to deny that we all get caught up in the joy of the holiday season. Once those colorful holiday lights start twinkling, it would take a real scrooge to not smile. Having children around also helps to get into the mood as their excitement is contagious.

The mood certainly comes early enough, even overshadowing poor Thanksgiving. I know one store this year that will hold off Christmas decorations until the day after our beloved turkey day. But we all know in the card biz, we have to start thinking about Christmas as we sweat through the last month of summer. My sons have such a love for Christmas that I will often hear Christmas songs in August streaming from their laptops; and these aren’t little kids we’re talking about. That’s the start for me and it keeps on going.

I find inspiration for fresh new Christmas designs everywhere; from the catalogs I get in the mail to the stores I shop in. The catalogs are great, especially if they’re high end ones like Neiman Marcus or Nordstrom where the photographs are beautiful and the trends are apparent and fresh with the latest in ornament designs, lighting, etc. Always an inspiration, these visuals launch me into my own ideas and ways to make them mine without copying them. I guess for me it’s what’s in my visual memory mixed with new inspiration. As I shop around at the stores, I will pull out my phone and photograph anything that I find inspiring. I’m sure I probably get a few weird looks but no one has stopped me yet! When I think of traditional Christmas elements like Poinsettias, elves, snowmen and reindeer, I try and illustrate them in unusual and interesting ways. And blending in other colors with the traditional color scheme of red and green can also go a long way in inspiration and making your card stand out.

I try and have fresh eyes to Christmas every year, as though seeing it through a child’s eye. To really look at everything that is familiar in a new and interesting way. It’s really akin to stopping and smelling the roses. Stop and take a good hard look at that same old ornament (Santa, wreath, etc.) and you will truly see what you're looking for… inspiration for your next great design!