Many of you know us as distributors of plastic-free gift cards. We pride ourselves on driving change in the gift card industry and raising awareness of environmental issues. We provide millions of Green Gift Cards to hundreds of businesses in every sector.
From plastic-free gift cards and membership cards to eco-friendly ID cards and security cards. They are used for a wide variety of applications across many varied sectors.
Plus, we supply paperboard cards for short runs, desktop printers, digital print and litho print. When it comes to personalisation, design and data, you can choose from options like debossing, foil, gloss coating, matte coating, RFID paper, barcoding, magstripe, scratch-off panelling, QR coding, etc... The possibilities are endless!
You may feel overwhelmed when you first enter the world of gift cards. Choosing from all the design options if you’ve never had a gift, membership or loyalty card before is tricky.
That’s where we come in. We are often asked the same questions. What makes a good gift card design? What should we avoid? Are some colours better than others? Can you help us design our gift card?
Put simply, yes, we can! With over 20 years of experience, we have all the industry design tips and tricks to help you.
How to design a gift card?
This two-part blog focuses on frequently asked questions about gift cards and membership and loyalty cards. This first part is about gift cards and how best to stand out in-store or on point of sale. Stay tuned for part two on membership and loyalty cards.
Gift cards are the divas in the world of cards. They should be designed to grab, if not demand, your attention using little to no words. We’ve all seen the rows of gift cards, or gift card malls as they are typically known, in supermarkets - the gift card’s job is to have presence and stand out from the crowd. While designing the Mariah Carey of cards can seem daunting (she is the biggest reported diva we could think of!), we can help you every step of the way.
What to put on a gift card?
Step 1 is to narrow down the information you want to put on your gift card.
Tip - Remember all Green Gift Cards cards are 100% plastic-free, recyclable and biodegradable. If your marketing goals are to promote your eco ethos or sustainable practices, these could be key points to use on your card and your supporting marketing campaign.
When printing your cards, we recommend adding the following:
- Brand logo
- Description of what that card is for (if relevant)
- Card value (if applicable - some cards are loaded with their value at the point of purchase)
- Terms & conditions on the reverse
- Redemption type on the reverse (including space for a barcode, magstripe, etc.)
- Eco credentials if these are relevant to your brand, we hope they are! (GGC are the only UK gift card providers who can use the PLASTIC FREE logo)
What do you need to consider?
When a prospective customer looks at your design, your brand should immediately come to mind. Essentially, your brand and the gift card's purpose must be instantly understandable and recognisable.
As minimal information can make it onto the card, it is important to use your brand's identity to its advantage. There are two main types of branding techniques when it comes to gift card design:
The first type is prioritising the brand. Popular brands tend to use their recognisable branding to attract potential customers. E.g. Zara, Apple Music, etc.
Brands with recognisable logos often use them as the main focus of their card. This can be in the format of Seasalt where their logo is central and the only thing on the front of the card.
The second branding technique places the card's purpose on a prominent display. For example, Rosebourne Garden Centres.
Here Rosebourne Garden Centres have placed their logo in the centre for prominence. However, the logo is smaller than the card's purpose and is also central, potentially more significant than the logo. By prioritising the brand's product/service, the plan is to catch prospective clients' eyes by offering to fulfil their needs.
Both techniques can work; however, choosing the right option for your brand is important.
The location of your gift card display will be vital to your design; for example, what attracts customers in a supermarket may have a different effect than an in-store display.
Card malls could be described as the wild west. Customers are faced with a wall of gift cards screaming for their attention.
Minimalistic, bright contrasting designs with a prominent logo or card value traditionally do better here. Using iconography to convey the card's purpose is a great way to relay information without adding text or removing the focus from the logo.
This type of subliminal messaging can work across the board, but it has the potential to work in the card mall setting where customers are less likely to stop and read.
In-store stands and displays are friendlier places. Cards displayed in stores can use more creative and experimental designs. Customers buying gift cards in stores or concessions know who the seller is and why they purchase it. They’ve already chosen you as a brand, so the design can be less diva-esque (stand down, Mariah, we don’t need you here!)
In this instance, your gift card design doesn’t need to shout who the brand is; this allows for artwork, shape and colour experimentation. With so many design options, it creates the perfect opportunity to produce some A/B market testing*. Just don't stray too far from your brand guidelines and identity.
*a Green Gift Card client displayed multiple designs nationwide across their stores. They collected data on what designs sold and where. With this data, they determined which card sold better in which store — resulting in a long-term increase in gift card sales.
There are two main types of eco-friendly gift card formatting that we offer. The first is the traditional CR80, a credit card-sized gift card ready for immediate use. The CR80 card is designed to be compact, portable, and easy to handle. They can feature a magnetic stripe, barcode, or embedded RFID or NFC chip for secure data storage and redemption.
The CR80 card's standardised size makes it compatible with a wide range of desktop printers, giving this card type an additional level of customisation. Taking the customer experience even further, you could print and personalise on-demand.
The second card type is the M6 Snap and Non-Snap. This gift card can be pre-punched with a Euro slot. Ready to go in gift card malls or point-of-sale units. We have two types of M6 options, the snap-off and all-in-one.
These cards can be cut into various shapes. They can also have a magnetic stripe, barcode, or embedded chip. These features ensure secure data storage and redemption.
What makes the M6 special is the two-part format. This unique design is to separate the gift card and the gifting aspect. This is an excellent gifting option for mall rack or Euro slot display without the potentially expensive packaging costs.
Bring your cards to life with striking embellishments. Choose from a range of attention-grabbing effects like:
Embellishments can enhance the visual appeal and help your gift cards stand out.
By making the most of embellishments, a gift card and packaging can be transformed from a simple card into a memorable gift. All of our coatings are 100% recyclable and bio-degradable. We offer gloss, satin and matte coating for a variety of finishes.
So you have created your eye-catching gift card design. Now you need an equally eye-catching, branded, environmentally friendly card holder. Packaging plays a crucial role in enhancing the overall presentation and appeal of gift cards.
While gift cards offer recipients flexibility and choice, the packaging adds an element of surprise, delight, and personalisation. Here are some reasons why packaging is essential for gift cards:
- It enhances the visual appeal and aligns what is physically a paperboard card as a special gift. It elevates the gifting experience and adds value.
- Packaging is another way to showcase your brand and communicate information. This could be details about using the card, where you can spend it or the environmental credentials.
From a simple envelope to an elegant box or a customised package, thoughtful and well-executed gift card packaging can transform the gifting experience. You could choose something bespoke like these cards from Health & Her, or go for an equally impressive but more standard:
This simple gift card carrier is ideal for post or in-store displays. The wallets have retaining slits to store and safely present your gift card.
The sleeve adds an additional branding opportunity. They are an unsurprisingly popular choice for gift cards. The slip sleeve can be a cost-effective carrier, but using a sophisticated design ticks the box for a premium gifting option.
An envelope is an essential must-have for any gift card. From a simple recycled craft paper envelope to a variety of coloured envelopes that match your brand.
Your gift card
Do you need to upgrade your plastic cards to a more sustainable option? Or perhaps you need help designing your gift card artwork. We offer several ways to bring your vision to life. Choose from sequential numbering, barcoding, embedded smart chips and scratch-off panels. All of our cards are 100% plastic-free and recyclable! We can work with your existing artwork or help you create an impressive new design.
Contact Green Gift Card today to discuss your requirements.