For the price of dozen or fewer store-bought cards, you can purchase
and install greeting-card software to create an endless supply of unique
and customized messages to celebrate every imaginable occasion. Or even
better ... you can create free greeting cards on the World Wide Web to
send as e-mail attachments.
The Print Shop by Broderbund is probably the oldest and best-known software
application specializing in affordability and ease of use. Greeting cards
are just one of the many graphic-design options in this user-friendly program.
Don't worry if you're not particularly creative; there are plenty of templates
and pre-formatted design samples waiting to be personalized with envelopes
Prices for Windows and Macintosh versions of Print Shop range from $14.95
for The Print Shop to $49.95 for The Print Shop Ensemble III. The PrintShop
comes with 1,000 graphics, whereas the Ensemble version includes 15,000
graphics, 1,100 photo images, 1,200 ready made designs and Photo Accessories
that allow users to insert personal photos into pre-designed frames. The
Ensemble also includes easy access to the Print Shop Web site for additional
free graphics and quotes. Visit the Print Shop Web site for complete details
and pricing information: http://www.broder.com/psd/psd.html
While I've long been a fan of Print Shop, my personal favorite of late
is Greetings Workshop. Just imagine what you might expect from a joint
Microsoft/Hallmark venture, and you won't be disappointed with this program.
This $29.95 multimedia package is both entertaining and fully functional.
Children and adults alike will marvel at the clever cards, the wide array
of formatting options and the fun-to-use interface. Double-
sided printing options contribute to the professional look of these
Like Print Shop, Greetings Workshop offers a direct link to its Web
site where users can peruse a newsletter for tips and ideas and also order
custom papers and envelopes specially designed for the Greetings Workshop
application. Additionally, Greetings Workshop includes unique designs for
invitations, announcements, banners, signs, fliers and awards "in Hallmark
quality." Check the Greetings Workshop Web site for a demonstration and
additional information: http://GreetingsWorkshop.msn.com/
If you'd rather send an electronic card via e-mail, start with Internet
Card Central at http://members.tripod.com/~MargaretC/cards.html
Although you may have to do some digging and weeding at this extensive
index of online card resources, it's well worth the toil. Literally hundreds
of free and fee-based electronic greeting-card sites exist on the World
Wide Web allowing you to send electronic greetings as e-mail attachments.
Free electronic postcards are available from Kodak, for example, at
Elvis fans will be pleased to know that the King is alive at http://www.lasvegassun.com/lounge/elvis/postcards.html
cards.html. Maxracks http://www.maxracks.com/ is yet another free card
service with a variety of card styles and themes. There are as many online
cards to choose from on the Web as there are in a traditional card shop.
Perhaps the most impressive online cards I've seen so far are the "More
Than Words" collection from KMMC Multimedia
Greeting Cards. These are true multimedia cards complete with animated
graphics and sound.
A few generic cards are available for free at this site, but for $29.95
you can purchase the software which enables printing, e-mailing, custom
formatting, music and sound effects. You can even record your own personal
voice message to accompany your personalized card. The sound and clarity
are great with just ordinary speakers. Auto playback encoding means that
cards can be "read" or played with a double mouse click. It's a fun surprise
for recipients and a welcome break from flat e-mail text.
Print Shop and Greetings Workshop are available for purchase at most
software retailers. Online cards and "More Than Words" are available through
the World Wide Web and require Internet access. With computerized greeting
cards, you'll never be caught cardless again.