Soon you’ll be scrambling for ideas to make this February 14th the best Valentine’s Day yet.
You can opt for a multiple-course dinner, a giant heart shaped balloon, a serenade, or a classic box of chocolates.
But, even the most romantic gesture won’t stand a chance if it doesn’t come with a Valentine’s Day card.
Common lore says you get bonus points if instead of buying a generic card, you make it yourself. To help you get started, check out the showcase below of 50 Valentine’s Day card examples.
01. Give Proverbial Pairs a Spin
How well do you two go together? The answer might just be in the example above, from the awesome Hungry Workshop. They’ve designed vector illustrations of proverbial pairs, like bacon and eggs to grace the front page of one of their Valentine’s Day cards.
02. Fill in the Blank
Mass printing cards? These cards, also from Hungry Workshop, allow lovers to make the message their own by providing blanks for them to fill in. It’s a great way to give love birds the option to personalize an otherwise standardized card.
03. Make it “Pop”
The very first Art Director I worked for loved telling me to make my work “pop.” 99.9% of the time, this is terrible advice.
But in this context it might be fun to take advantage of different printing techniques and a cool pair of 3D glasses to create a fun card with elements that pop out. Pick up a pair here to include with your card!
04. Play With Perspective
Give your design depth, like Jessica Witty. To complement the fun quote, she used scale and layering to make it seem like her love boats are at varying distances.
05. Create 3D Elements
Speaking of cutouts and making things pop, you could also try creating a cute card with elements that literally pop out from the card, like the one featured above. Not sure how to do it? Create an accordion cutout of the shape or element you wish to use on your card and attach it to it.
06. Use Puns
If writing this blog post has taught me anything, it’s that Valentine’s Day and puns are a match made in heaven. If you’ve fallen short of words, take a stab at writing a funny pun and matching it with a simple illustration.
07. Use a Chart
Not crazy about Cupid and his mischievous fantasy arrows? Try a cerebral approach with an honest message illustrated in chart form. If you are afraid it might feel too simple, spice it up with a cool printing technique.
08. Build on a Cool Template
I came across this card when I was in college and have succesfully tried a few variations of it. You can find the template to get started here. It can get tricky to alter the shape of the heart drastically. If you’d rather stick to simple variations, stay away from altering the edges and play with altering the center of the heart.
09. Weave Your Way Into It
Perhaps you’ve found that one special someone that deserves to receive a card you’ve seemingly spent countless hours lovingly making. If you’re on that boat, check out the woven heart above. Its intricate look will surely knock your sweetheart’s socks off.
10. Use Illustrations
Sometimes a simple, beautiful illustration is all it takes. Bonus points if whatever you’ve chosen to depict means something to your better half. For couples who enjoy biking, the card above is a nice example, with hearts floating out of the bike’s basket, offsetting the brown with a touch of bright red.
11. Combine Printing Methods
Check out the lovely example above, where the designer has combined printing methods to produce a simple, clean card. If you are not sure what methods to combine, try debossing and foil stamping or letterpressing and embossing.
12. Use Color Blocks
Combine blocks of color and type to arrive at a contemporary solution. If you don’t want to go with hearts or anything illustrative, opt for interesting textures or color blocks.
13. Illustrate a Saying
Produce visuals for your love creation based on the copy you are featuring. It’s not a novel approach or something that hasn’t been done before but will help you design something lovely.
14. Go Minimal
“Keep it simple” is not a bad motto to follow as you define what your cards will be looking like this 14th of February. If you’ve got a lot of cards to make and little to spend, consider making a simple template, like the one above.
15. Go Type-Centric
Use type only. Set a cute phrase, like the card above, in beautiful type. You can pair up two fonts that match beatifully, as you’ll see in examples below.
16. Feature a Lovely Message
Have a friend who’ll be lonely this Valentine’s Day? Brighten up their day by giving them a card with a funny or cute message — no matter how long — set in fun type.
17. Use Bold Colors
Check out Yellow Owl Workshop’s cute card without a heart shape in sight. It is a great example of a design that avoids clichés, like roses or hearts. Like them, give bold pink a shot.
18. Illustrate a Figure of Speech
Build your card around classic romantic saying, like the card above. If you aren’t crazy about cliché sayings, opt for a line or two from great works of literature or film.
19. Use Flowers
It’s almost impossible to say Valentine’s and not think about flowers. Design lovely floral elements to adorn your cards, both their cover and the inside. Above, the designer built a heart with a set of beautiful flowers.
20. Create a Quirky Illustration
How cute is the card above? It attempts to “dissect” love and shares so much insight about what being in a relationship actually entails.
21. Use Interesting Materials
Does your copy reference an object? Try using actual elements from it on your card. Check out the example above, where the designer used a library book checkout card instead of plain old paper.
22. Ditch Paper
Nobody said cards can only be made out of paper. Why not give wood a shot?
23. Stitch it Up
Not everything you design has to be printed either. Create texture by stitching your design instead. It could be a showcase of your hidden sewing talent or a simple design, like the lovely heart stitch above.
24. Use a Quick Cartoon
Don’t have a lot of time to spend? Go for a quick, whimsical pen sketch. You can upload it and clean it up in Illustrator or use the rough sketch.
25. Make it Interactive
I’ll be the first to admit this example might be a bit cheesy, but bear with me for a second. Not only is this card beautifully executed, being able to tear each “petal” out makes it fun. As a bonus, each petal even contains a different love message. Cheesy at first glance, but actually quite innovative.
26. Use a Contemporary Format
Any UI designer would probably dig the card above. Check out it’s modern format, featuring a search bar with different sweet messages. Definitely steers away from traditional Valentine’s Day concepts!
27. Feature Your Favorite Typeface
Let your significant other know you love them just as much as you do your favorite typeface. Above, you see two examples of cards whose messages revolve around the great Akzidenz and Univers.
28. Use Color Strategically
Above, we mentioned using your favorite typeface. Here is another great example. This one also showcases how you can stick to using red without making it extremely obvious or having to use it the whole card. Looks like an old school modernist poster, doesn’t it?
29. Forget the Fold
Layout your design on the front and back of a piece of thin cardboard to build a card that feels like it belongs in a deck. As a fun alternative, you could build a set instead of just a single card, just like Michelle Gray did.
30. Letterpress Your Love
Check out this beautiful card by Maddy Young. It doesn’t scream Valentine’s Day which makes it suitable for other special dates around the calendar.
31. Ditch the Hearts & Arrows
Carla McRae is the Melbourne based illustrator and designer behind the cute card above. It another great example of how you can produce work that screams “I love you” without having to bank on hearts and arrows.
32. Try an Unconventional Color Palette
Use an unconventional color palette and imagery. Not sure what this might look like? Check out the playful example above by awesome Beci Orpin. I’m totally digging the fox mask.
33. Use Repetition
It’s common to think of shapes when you hear the word “repetition” in a design context. But you can also arrive at super interesting visuals using type. The card above uses repetition to create a beautiful visual with the word love.
34. Cut Out Your Message
More on cut outs — this time, however, I’ve shared with you an example of how you can cut out type to create interesting shadows on your card. If you are designing using just type, it might be a great alternative to print.
35. Use Shapes
Create a beautiful visual with just geometric shapes. Couple them with a lovely palette, like the one featured above, to arrive at a great Valentine’s Day card.
36. Fold it Up Into an Airplane
Probably one of my favorite examples in the list is this awesome card on Etsy. It gives the classic “Love is in the air” a fun spin. Give your card a bit of dimension by folding it up as a simple airplane or in another classic fold.
37. Make It Intricate
Nothing says “I Love You” like spending hours carefully cutting out a Valentine’s Day card, like the impressive example above.
If you like the approach, take advantage of today’s technology, build a template out in Illustrator, and then put it under the knife. It will save you time and a few tries.
38. Apply Texture
Use texture too as you design your next love masterpiece. Use it as a beautiful background or confine it to letterforms, as showcased above. You can also combine texture with any of the other approaches you saw above.
39. Box it up
Change the shape of your card, either into an airplane or a cute miniature flower filled box. As you explore different ideas, don’t shy away from a completely unconventional shape or approach, like the one above.
40. Use Your Favorite Characters
Are you and your sweetheart both fans of a particular movie or novel? Let it serve as inspiration for you as you design an awesome Valentine’s Day card. Check out the cute card above, an excellent example of how you can turn fan art into a sweet V-Day card.
41. Use a Cute Animal Pun
I think it is safe to say most of us are suckers for cute animals. Use the “aww” factor in your card and design something adorable featuring animals. Bonus points if you can find a way to create a funny pun with them!
42. Design Around Meaningful Details
Turn meaningful dates or numbers into design elements to use as your build your Valentine’s Day card. Above, the designer used the special day as an opportunity to remind his/her partner of how many beautiful days they’ve spent together.
43. Stark & Beautiful
Keep it real and try a simple phrase that cuts to the point. Use a minimal layout and keep the focus on your message — simply bank on just how beautiful type can look when it is completely surrounded by white space.
44. Get Crafty with Glitter
Set on using hearts? Overlay type on it, like the example above. It’s extremely simple and hard to mess up. If you are working with kids, you might want to give this approach a shot.
45. Use Puppies
Puppies melt everyone’s heart. Why not use them as a design element on your card? Check out the funny illustration above, of two pugs in love. It is a great alternative if you’re tired of the classic fluffy puppy on the cover of virtually any kind of card.
46. Avoid Pink
Give using other colors a chance. In a sea of red, pink, and white, your card will definitely stand out. Above, you’ll see a bright green used as the primary color on a card. It also features a funny quote sharing how much that special someone might mean.
47. Use Origami
Let the beautiful shapes in origami pieces inspire you or turn them into design elements, as shown in the example above. You can create illustrations influenced by the art, create design elements using it, or scrap the classic card format itself and fold up your letter into origami.
48. Show, Don’t Tell
Share how you feel using imagery or illustration. With a feeling that’s often tough to put into words, it might be best to rely on images to speak for you.
49. Combine Words with Symbols
Combine images, words, and a cool technique to say the classic “I Love You,” as showcased above.
50. Go for Black & Gold
You can always count on black and gold to knock it out of the park. Try foil stamping your love message or illustration on the cover of your card.
And there you have it! 50 lovely cards to help inspire you are you create a single or many love packed Valentine’s Day cards.
Remember, if you want to make your own Valentine’s Day card free in Canva, just click here.