10 birthday card ideas for adults

Birthdays only come around once a year, so you may as well celebrate them in style. One way to show your loved one how much you care is with a thoughtful birthday card that’s bursting with personality. Here are 10 adult birthday card ideas that will guarantee plenty of warm and fuzzy feelings.

When you’re a kid, every birthday is a big deal. The bigger and brighter, the better! But as we graduate into adulthood, finding the perfect age-appropriate birthday card that is equal parts chic, funny and unique can be a tricky balance to achieve.

While buying a pre-made birthday card is one option, another is taking the time to craft a card that represents your relationship. Funny, cute, eye-catching or sentimental, the internet has an abundance of ideas ready for you to try.

Below, we show you our curated selection of ideas that will make your birthday card as good as the present itself.

DIY letterboard

Birthday card with a letterboard design

Design by Design Eat Repeat

Popular for their vintage feel, letterboards are a great idea to adapt into a birthday card format. Simple, bright, and personalized, a letterboard-inspired card is an easy way to create a card that’s appropriate for any age.

When creating your card, opt for pastel colors, a clean sans-serif font and equal kerning between each letter, to give it an authentic feel. If you’re feeling super crafty, you can slightly score the cardboard backing you use with fine lines to mimic the felt used in traditional letterboards.

Design tip: Adjust the kerning between your letters by using the “Spacing” tool in the tool bar.

Wordplay

A humorous card design with the image of an inhaler and the words you take my breath away

Design by FinchandtheFallow, available on Etsy.

One proof graduating to adulthood is one's ability to understand puns. And what better way to celebrate another year around the sun than with plenty of laughs?

Whether it’s a friend who loves food, pets (or both) there are plenty of pun-filled jokes online (if you’re lacking inspiration) that you can use on your birthday card design.

Calligraphy

A birthday card with calligraphy words never give up

Design by Papier

For the friend who is effortlessly classy at all times, show them that their penchant for style doesn’t go unnoticed with calligraphy birthday cards. Calligraphy cards are timeless and pair perfectly with floral illustrations.

To take your birthday card to the next level, you can design your invite to match your loved one’s favorite bouquet of flowers.

Use your favorite images

Birthday card with friends hugging

Design by Papier

Birthdays are a great excuse to take a trip down memory lane—especially if your relationship has done some serious mileage.

Find a few of your favorite images to celebrate your journey so far and make them a central element in your birthday card.

When choosing an image to use, also think about selecting a handful of colors and assess how they will look alongside your chosen images. Opting for a color palette of both bold and subtle hues will help your images pop.

Keep it simple

Birthday cards with birthday candles attached

Design from DIYS.com

Often, the simplest designs are the best ones. If you’ve left your card-making mission to the last minute, we love the idea of using simple text and sticking an actual candle to the card.

And for bonus points: It can be used for the cake later. Crafty and practical. Genius.

Watercolors

Birthday card with watercolor elements

Design by Clementine Creative

One staple design trend is using watercolor images for a soft and elegant feel. Since watercolor paintings have been around for hundreds of years, watercolor designs also evoke a classic and timeless feel.

Incorporate 3D elements

Birthday cards with yarn pompoms as ice cream

Design from DIYS.com

No matter what age your friend or loved one is turning, there is still something so fun about crafts, namely: Pom-poms.

We love the above idea of using pom-poms to resemble ice-cream (with a little glitter added for good measure, of course).

Illustrations

Birthday card with illustration

Design from Etsy

Illustrations are a great way to bring some playfulness and personality into a birthday card.

Once you find an illustration that perfectly matches the aesthetic you are after, find a headline that adds to the image in some way (like in the example above).

Whether it be a funny, sentimental or personal joke, this card will be sure to get a positive reaction.

Design tip: When it comes to creating an illustrated birthday card, it’s best to keep it simple and let the illustration be the central focus of your design.

Collage

09 collage

Design by Papier

Forget what you know about collaging—because done correctly, layering different elements onto your birthday card can look both polished and fun at the same time.

The trick with collaging for a birthday card (whether you create it digitally or manually) is to pick a handful of colors, and not overcrowd the card with too many patterns or images. In this scenario, white space is your best friend.

Classic

10 classic

Design by Papier

For the relative that loves heirlooms and heritage, a classic birthday card is always a good option.

If you’re creating your own, think of using design elements like white space, fine lines, and cursive font to create a truly classical card.