Meet the Noted@*Noted Finalists!

So, the time is FINALLY here! I was absolutely knocked out by the level of talent in this year’s Noted@*Noted competition, so it took me even longer than usual to work my way through this year’s 145 entries in 10 categories. However, the finalists showcased here, fabulous as they are, represent just a tiny taste of the artistry to be found at *Noted in San Francisco April 28 and 29 — and as such, I can’t flipping wait!

But before I get too ahead of myself, let’s review our 30 fantastic, phenomenal finalists, shall we? This is all the editorializing you will get from me until the end of this post; the copy below each design was submitted for the judges to consider alongside the card.

Best Humor — Funniest Card

2021 Co.

What inspired this design? Parenting is no joke. As a mom of 3, I feel qualified to say that some days you are just raising dragons! This card was made to send out to all the moms who are doing their best to raise those dragons, with a touch of all knowing humor.

Any anecdotal info? I made this on a whim, it was the last I made for this year’s Mother’s Day release. The idea came, I lettered it with watercolor and had the whole thing made in moments. It’s been the best selling new Mother’s Day card we put out this year!

A Smyth Co through Biely & Shoaf

What inspired this design? Like the rest of America, when I was trapped inside during the pandemic, I was on Tik Tok. The volume of content focused on avocados was comical, helpful, and riveting. I believe this content was deep in my psyche when I wrote this card.

Redback Cards

What inspired this design? Humor cards are fantastic to lift the buyer’s mood and we all know SOMEONE who would love this card! The letters really stand out with their foiled finish.

Any anecdotal info? Redback cards focuses on straight-taking humor cards, and this one particularly has proved a best seller so far. Our Cloud Nine range is very popular in the USA and UK.

Snarkiest Card

417 Press

What inspired this design? Let’s talk about midlife, baby …

Girl w/Knife

What inspired this design? I thought this would be a fun money holder to be given to teenagers.

Heavenly Debbie

What inspired this design? I really enjoyed the chance to make fun of the word “obey” that used to be a part of the wedding vows. Inside is blank for a sweet or snarky wedding message or blessing.

Any anecdotal info? This is a photo of my in-laws, and if anyone was going to obey it would have been Warren. I have found that people love funny wedding cards, especially ones mocking old traditions. Why not start marriage off with a laugh?

Most Beautiful

2021 Co

What inspired this design? We firmly believe in the power of words and a positive mindset. This (encouragement) card was created to pass the message along in a most beautiful way of course!

Lake Erie Design Co.

What inspired this design? My brother moved from Ohio to Colorado early this year, and his move inspired me to create this card. I wanted something I would give to him — gender neutral yet beautiful, nature inspired, with a happy, hopeful and supportive vibe! Looking forward to beautiful new adventures ahead.

Any anecdotal info? This card is letterpress printed with gold foil. It has been extremely popular with my shops across the US, even more so out West.


What inspired this design? Emily Isabella created this art during a getaway to Hawaii. When we saw this work we immediately knew the calming colors, gorgeous scenery and the entire mood of the image would make the most special card. We think the hot foiled rose gold verse helps bring out the beauty of the art and encapsulates the love of sharing a sunset with your best friend.

Any anecdotal info? This card is paired with a 100% plantable seed paper envelope. Tear it up, soak it in water, grab a pot and some soil … and watch non invasive wildflowers grow! For more planting tips the recipient can scan the QR code on the back of their card! This card is made in the USA.

Best New Product Line

Honeyberry Studios

What inspired this collection? I’ve been reading a book about Hygge (a Danish word/concept for coziness, a celebration of small joys in everyday life) and wanted to create a collection that bring people the joy and coziness! I always try to follow my heart when I create new work and ask myself “what brings me joy?” If whatever I create doesn’t give me that exciting butterfly in my gut, I scrap it. Cats and flowers are two of my favorite things in life! I also love Nordic designs (+ hot tip: Japanese LOVE Nordic everything) and so the style I embraced for this collection is my interpretation of Hygge & Nordic design.

What inspired this initiative? On top of what I shared above, I wanted to create a collection that is COLORFUL and uplifting. my customers and fans have commented on my playful use of colors and I wanted to go all out (but still in a coherent way). Spring is near and I wanted to serve a delicious feast for the eyes and souls.

Any anecdotal info? I’ve launched it to my wholesale customers at the end of January, and the response has been positive! I think my mission to give folks “cute attacks” has been achieved 😀

Paper Epiphanies

What inspired this collection? Colleen Harrington was the Paper Epiphanies Artist in Residence for Janaury 2022. This product line was a result of that residency. It combines the sharp tone of Paper Epiphanies with the incredible illustrations and historical fashion drawings that Colleen is known for. It is FIRE!

What inspired this initiative? Working with Colleen was a creative joy! Merging vintage inspired illustrations and drawings with the tone of today was the goal for this line. And we slayed it!

Any anecdotal info? Customers in our shop are already obsessed. The color is saturated and fun and it is edgy while still being approachable. Definitely a wonderful new product line!


What inspired this collection? We wanted to showcase our artists in a new format that we have never done before! By creating a “calendar and card crossover” we are able to feature some of our bestselling cards in this new format! Combining Margaret Jeanne’s iconic landscapes as a series as well as her best selling florals over the years we are able to highlight (and celebrate!) her work in ways a single image cannot accomplish. And, when we asked ourselves what art to feature for a third Postcard Calendar it felt like a no brainer to do all things Emily Isabella — showcasing her quirky, bright and creative creations.

What inspired this initiative? We had you and our Mama Earth in mind when we created this new ZERO Waste product line because we’re ready for a more sustainable world ahead! So we created our Postcard Calendar with the intention that every single component of this product can be upcycled! Our postcard calendar is both a card and a calendar, so we’re now using energy to get TWO (technically more than that!) great things out of ONE incredible product. It’s a year to be shared featuring 12 perforated post-cards + a sweet simple date pad (there’s your calendar). At the end of the month or year gently fold and tear off your postcard, flip it over and you’ve got yourself a hot foil stamped postcard …all you have to do is write out your message and grab a stamp (snail mail is still the best mail!). Once your postcard is in the mail you can turn over the little leftover date pad from that month and find a beautiful art print to keep, to share, maybe even to add to your gallery wall! Flip over the back cover of this product to reveal a hidden art print that can be mounted to the cardboard (don’t ditch any of the packaging!) and display with your gallery wall. And then the belly band is, of course, made with our plantable seed paper — so plant away and help us spread wildflowers across the world!

Best Tear Jerker

Darling Lemon

What inspired this design? I always wanted to introduce a sympathy card that spoke to a bigger audience. The colors and the words speak volumes.

Paper Baristas

What inspired this design? We lost a baby three years ago. I just wrote what I wanted to hear.

Any anecdotal info? I always use fair trade paper. We letterpress the paper in house.


What inspired this design? “You’re more than enough.” A lot of times, when we’re going through something difficult, people tell us “we’re enough” that “we’re doing well.” We are often defined, and supported, as — mother, daughter, father, son, friend, barista, doctor, sales manager, dancer etc. But when we need that boost of encouragement I think we need to feel seen in the entirety of our being and not just the labels we slap on ourselves. When I look out at a vast expanse like the scene in this card I feel as though I’m more than enough, more than the labels I’ve slapped onto my being. And sometimes in this crazy human experience we call life, we just need that reminder that we’re more than enough. What better way to send this support than a beautiful card?

Any anecdotal info? This card is paired with a 100% plantable seed paper envelope. Tear it up, soak it in water, grab a pot and some soil … and watch non-invasive wildflowers grow! For more planting tips the recipient can scan the QR code on the back of their card! This card is made in the USA.

Best Use of Profanity

Twentysome Design

What inspired this design? This card is inspired by my day to day life. I’m happily working away achieving my dreams despite looking like an angry bitch at all times.

Redback Cards

What inspired this design? The Holy Flaps range is straight-talking humor. Perfect bold wording and neon envelope makes it stand out from the crowd.

Any anecdotal info? The Holy Flaps range is straight-talking humor that we can ALL relate to! This card particularly is ‘to the point’ and is perfect for their special friend/relative!

Ümlaut Brooklyn

What inspired this design? Maybe since we haven’t actually been to a bar in over two years? Seems this would be the appropriate answer to the question! 😉

Any anecdotal info? This one became a bestseller as soon as we released it in January, guess Dry January wasn’t so big this year.

Best Color Combo

Girl w/Knife

What inspired this design? This card emerged from a series of cats I recently painted. I wanted to make a beautiful Halloween card featuring a black cat, but not looking spooky per usual.

Any anecdotal info? This is a portrait of my childhood black cat Ebony. So much of my work is autobiographical.

Calypso Cards

What inspired this design? “This design was inspired from modern party decorations and garlands. The color palette is fresh and modern but still remains elegant and sophisticated to appeal to a wide age group.” —Louise Tiler, Artist


What inspired this design? Bright neon pinks accented with gold foil, mixed with soft shades of pink, basil, glacier lake blue and a veri peri sky make for a stunning rendition of this landscape featuring the moonrise from Margaret Jeane’s trip to South Africa.

Any anecdotal info? This card is paired with a 100% plantable seed paper envelope. Tear it up, soak it in water, grab a pot and some soil … and watch non invasive wildflowers grow! For more planting tips the recipient can scan the QR code on the back of their card! This card is made in the USA.

Best Just Because/No Occasion Card

Keller Design Co

What inspired this design? My boyfriend and I went through a long phase where we just ate kale all the time —every restaurant we went to — do you have Kale? So, Kale Yeah!

Girl w/Knife

What inspired this design? This is the new sister to my Ciao and Merci cards. I love a series.

Any anecdotal info? Her headband is an homage to my favorite gift wrap print.

Mirthos Paper

What inspired this design? I need to be reminded of this all the time, and so do most of the amazing people I know. This is not a time to play small in the world!

Any anecdotal info? She’s brand new, but Insta feedback was good 🙂 This is black thermography with a neon envelope!

Best Newbie/Rookie Card

Twentysome Design

What inspired this design? There are so many occasions when new boobs are a celebratory new beginning in someone’s life. Mastectomies, top surgery, breast reductions, or even just a perkier boob job. We need to celebrate these phases in people’s lives! Often bittersweet, but leading to a new adventure.

Lykkefund Paper

What inspired this design? The Flower Delivery card is inspired by my journey to Vietnam some years ago. It shows how flowers are often sold there on the streets which always fascinated me. I created a lot of illustrations while traveling Vietnam but this one was always my favorite. I think it will deliver happiness to many people once it gets published in March 2022.

Age Friendly Vibes

What inspired this design? My husband retired from FedEx in January, so retirement is top of my mind. Even though I have no plans to retire any time soon, many people I know are retiring this year. It was time to create my own spin!

Any anecdotal info? This card plays on the idea that when you retire, you really never stop working. Especially at home!

Best Card for Nutty Times

2021 Co.

What inspired this design? We wanted a grad card that spoke to the adversity and struggle COVID-19 has brought to the table when going to school. The resilience and adaptability of the students who are graduating is unprecedented, and we wanted a card that represented that.


What inspired this design? This card depicts the new world we live and how most of use feel when we receive a Zoom Meeting invite!

Girl w/Knife

What inspired this design? I’m kind of obsessed with fate and destiny, and how we collect each member of our tribe in serendipitous ways.

Any anecdotal info? The artwork for this card came about after I found a can of pink spray paint. It’s a fun departure from my usual style.

Well, THAT was inspiring! For those of you who have NOT been keeping track at home, Seedlings and Girl w/Knife have four finalist nods each, 2021 Co. has three, and saucy Brit newcomer Redback Cards has two, along with Twentysome Design — which I cannot for the life of me stop fangirling (as the kids say), it’s getting embarrassing.

Huge, enormous thanks to the Greeting Card Association for making not just one but two award competitions happen, and this one never would have come together without the tireless and cheerful Kori Sulewski, who I can attest responds to even the most nonsensical email. And I am grateful to the makers on my Noted@*Noted subcommittee, who created the divine icons you see and ALSO patiently respond to my every last query. (One asked not to be named, so they’re all nameless here, but they know who they are!)

Finally, I am legit in awe of the gargantuan design expertise encompassed by my fellow judges: Audrey Woollen, founder and creative director of Urbanic Paper Boutique; Chandra Greer, owner of GREER Chicago; Chelsea Shukov, co-founder of Sugar Paper; and Daniel Collier, danielrichards.

So, what’s next? All the finalists are currently rushing me samples. I will divide and resend to the other judges for Round 2. Then, we announce the winners throughout April 28 and 29 at *Noted, co-located with SF NOW at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture in San Francisco. It’s still not too late to be a part of it! Start your registration here & best of luck to all the finalists!