Rosh Hashanah Design Brief

This is a guest design brief by Jenny Morgan, the CEO of A Fresh Bunch which is a community of designers who deliver fresh art for licensed use on consumer products, and fresh ideas to the community to help them build their businesses.

Falling on September 28 this year, Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, marking the beginning of a string of Jewish holidays known as the High Holidays.  When you think New Year, you may think lampshades on head and Times Square, but the Jewish New Year is less celebratory and more reflective, a time to think about the previous year - how one has behaved and treated others.  It is also a time to send wishes for a good New Year to friends and family with a Rosh Hashanah greeting card.

If you're not Jewish, you may not know where to start designing for Rosh Hashanah.  Start by getting yourself into a fall mindset - apples, honey & persimmon are symbolic foods associated with Rosh Hashanah, and these often get incorporated into designs for Rosh Hashanah greetings.  They represent wishes for a "sweet" new year.  Also think in terms of rebirth, renewal & growth - trees of life, the star of David and doves are common design elements in New Year's greetings, too.  

The traditional Rosh Hashanah sentiment is "l'shanah tovah" or "shana tova", both of which more or less mean "wishing you a good new year."  A successful Rosh Hashanah greeting card will marry the message "l'shanah tovah" with some of the aforementioned design elements.

Unlike many Christian holidays, there are not color combinations typically associated with Rosh Hashanah, so there is a lot of room for creativity when designing cards for this holiday.  Similarly, there is room for almost every design aesthetic here - from classic to contemporary, whimsical to serious - to appeal to a wide range of ages and personal styles.  Think in terms of your own extended family when designing - what style would your mom choose?  Your sister? Your aunt?  

Remember that when designing for Card Gnome, your design is first seen as a thumbnail on the customer's screen.  Brighter colors, bolder text and art that is easily recognizable even when viewed on a smaller scale will entice the customer to click for a larger view.  In general, cards with large amounts of white or light colors wash out as thumbnails and don't look as interesting (even if the art is spectacular). Always view your design as a thumbnail to get a feel for what the customer will see.  When viewed as a thumbnail, if you can't tell that an apple is an apple, or that it says "l'shanah tovah," go back to the drawing board.