E-cards or traditional cards: which are better?

If you’ve been participating in the holiday season, it’s likely you’ve been part of the seasonal exchange of greeting cards. Most are traditional paper-based cards, although there are also plenty of e-cards landing in in-boxes at this time of year. That’s no surprise, as many of us are spending increasing amounts of time communicating via electronic means. But are electronic greeting cards an acceptable alternative to the paper-based variety? Would you consider sending them to business clients, friends and family?

Here are six reasons in favour of both paper-based and electronic greeting cards.

Traditional (paper-based) cards

  1. They’re nice to receive in the post, especially if addressed by hand;
  2. A hand-written message conveys a personal touch;
  3. A collection of cards is fun to display at home or work;
  4. A small gift such as a voucher or movie tickets can easily be slipped in with this type of card, if you send such gifts to clients;
  5. Paper-based cards can be recycled;
  6. There is the scope to choose from a range of inks (e.g. metallic inks) and paper stocks (textured, layered) or other materials (e.g. ribbons);



  1. These are cheaper, easier and faster to send;
  2. They can range from a single image to an animation or animated game: interactive cards can be fun and memorable;
  3. They’re an eco-friendly alternative to paper-based cards;
  4. A small gift such as an online voucher or free download can easily be incorporated with this type of card;
  5. E-cards can be designed for viewing via email, a web page or on a mobile (cell) phone;
  6. People who will be travelling away from home during the holiday season are more likely to receive a card if sent via email or phone contact

Christmas cards and the like are a long-standing tradition and a great way to get into the spirit of the festivities. Can the tradition extend to electronic cards? What do you think?


  • E-Cards Or Traditional Cards: Which Are Better? : Tracey Grady …

    December 29, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    […] They‚Äôre nice to receive in the post, especially if addressed by hand;; A hand-written message conveys a personal touch;; A collection of cards is fun to display at home or work;; A small gift such as a voucher or movie tickets can …[Continue Reading] […]

  • inspirationbit

    December 29, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    Personally, I prefer receiving traditional cards over e-cards, but then if that traditional card only includes a printed sticker with standard wishes that were sent to everyone, I rather get an e-card with personalized wishes.

    On the other hand, since we’re all so busy all the time, e-cards offer less hassle and a good backup if we didn’t get to mailing the cards out on time.

  • Tracey Grady

    December 29, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    In an age when so much is automated, a personalised message really makes an impact, so it’s interesting to read how important that is for you – and no doubt many others, too.

  • Santhos

    January 2, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    I don’t think I’d ever send a christmas or new years E-card to business clients. Family neither. Maybe to some friends.

    A believe a paper-based card is a bit more personal. An E-card always seems a bit ‘quick and dirty’ to me. I don’t think my clients would appreciate that very much.

  • George Barr

    January 14, 2009 at 11:28 am

    Hi Tracey,
    E-Cards are great when you have forgotten an event or unable to purchase a paper card, e.g. working away, illness. But I believe that the personal touch of a paper card still holds that extra something that people look forward to. Can you display e-card at Christmas, not the same when you print them off on your printer.

  • Tracey Grady

    January 14, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Those can be some good reasons for sending an e-card. I also think that an electronic card sent to many people for the purposes of an announcement (personal or professional) is another good idea, especially if it’s an occasion for which you might not have sent a printed card.

  • Rob Cubbon

    January 22, 2009 at 6:15 am

    In terms of business, this year I sent 50 cards out to clients (full colour printing both sides – the cheapest I could find – complete with a calendar and stuffed full of marketing messages as to why they should give me work!)

    I also did a Flash animation e-card for a client which they sent to thousands of customers.

    I would agree with you there’s a place for both!

  • Eliot

    February 19, 2009 at 11:54 am

    I like paper cards– that’s why i’m in the paper card business. We’ve been brainstorming about how to combine the advantages of e-cards and paper cards. Hallmark.com and Cardstore.com allow you to customize a paper card and have them send the card directly to the recepient. This is something we’d like to do also. It would be nice if there were a way to capture the sender’s individuality like his/her handwriting does. Let me know if you have any ideas.

  • Joann Gair

    February 25, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    I guess it depends on how the sender wants to be perceived by the recipient. As a Tasmanian papermaker who makes only paper from recycled textile waste combined with ethically harvested plant fibres (eco greetings is my trademark) I think it’s possible to offer a product which is both truly personal and environmentally sound.

    Incidentally I seem to be getting many more corporate enquiries for this type of product, EG: Bespoke paper made from a client’s bin contents combined with other recycled materials to create something memorable. I guess that memorable is the key word in this sort of card, something that all my customers want to be… quite possibly the opposite of the instant e-card, which has a heck of a lot of work to do to achieve longevity and real emotion.

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