We caught up with Luna, the winner of the ‘On the Cards’ competition to ask her where she gets the inspiration for the ‘weird little children’ she designs. Her Herby Friends cards that are stocked in our flagship stores and online include seeds so that you can grow your own, at home!

Do you have anyone in particular in mind when you are designing your cards?

Honestly, a lot of the time I design cards for myself. It might sound really weird but I put my heart and soul into my designs, so a lot of the time my creative process starts with “What would I like to see/buy?” And only later progresses to “What ‘this or that’ kind of audience would like to see/buy?”. I feel like it’s natural to get really into the things I’m drawing and almost put a part of my personality into them. In that respect, my cards are like my weird little children that I then put into the world for other people to see. 

What do you think makes a great card design?

A great design is anything that leaves a lasting impression. Whether it’s happiness, sadness or simply being memorable, a design that stays with me and makes me feel something, in my opinion, is a great design. Especially considering we live in a world where we’re bombarded with some form of art in every facet of our everyday life. As we’re all individuals with different tastes and interests, that makes it impossible to quantify what a great design truly is. 

I don’t necessarily think that a great design always has to be pleasing to the eye or be particularly complex. In fact some of my all-time favourite pieces of graphic art and illustration have been very simple and said the most by doing very little. It’s that emotional connection to a piece of art that, I feel, is the most meaningful. 

The awesome thing about card design is that you don’t necessarily have to search for any kind of deep meaning. They’re not really selling you a product or a message. They’re vehicles for you to communicate with someone you love in a very personal way and therefore cards almost get a free pass to just be silly and colourful and cute and fun. They don’t need to be anything other than fun. And that gives me the ability to create designs to make people happy. And hey, if I made someone happy with my drawings, I’ve done my job.

How did you get started in designing cards?

Honestly I never thought of cards until very recently. In Poland, where I’m from, we don’t really have a very strong culture of card giving unlike in the UK, so for the longest time I didn’t quite get it. That was of course until the fateful rainy Friday morning that Paper Rose came to do a lecture at my university and pitched the ‘On the Cards’ competition. Doing that project (which eventually turned into the Herby Friends card range) got me obsessed with cards and stationery pretty much overnight and opened up a whole side of design that I’ve not considered before but fell in love with so quickly. 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

This is a really hard question because inspiration really is one of those things that comes and goes whenever it pleases. I suppose one of my favourite things to do to get myself inspired as an illustrator, is travelling as much as possible. Just getting out of my usual, calm environment and experiencing something new usually brings along tonnes of inspiration. I especially love going to art galleries and museums in different countries. But it’s not just galleries. These days art is everywhere; in graffiti on the streets, advertising, packaging on things in shops. I draw inspiration from all facets of the arts industry and I am indeed that person in a shop taking photos of tea boxes. I find that I have to always keep my eyes open and be really receptive to the world around me because I never know what the next thing that inspires me will be but that’s part of the adventure of creating art.

However, to get a little more serious for a second, there is one thing that is a constant source of inspiration in my life. That is the environment. More specifically, protecting the environment. It’s almost difficult in this day and age to remain oblivious to things going on around the world that harm our planet. I’m very idealistic, sometimes even overly so but I’ve always got this little voice in the back of my head pushing me to harness my creativity to follow these ideas. I’m not perfect, no-one is, but every little helps.

Do you still enjoying sending – and receiving – cards?

I absolute love it! And I usually buy 3 or 4 cards for any given occasion so that I can then choose which one to send and which ones to stash in my ever-growing hoard. I keep almost all the cards I get. There’s just something really fun and personal about it. I’m terribly guilty of completely tuning out and ignoring my phone and not replying to Facebook messages but being given a card almost forces me to read the message inside, in a sense. 

What’s the best card you’ve ever been given and why?

I have a lot. And it’s difficult to choose because it’s like choosing between your weird children. Some people have cats, I have cards. But my absolute little gem in the collection is a birthday card from my bridesmaid because it’s so cute and pink and there’s a unicorn on it and some glittery clouds – and apparently that’s all it takes to make me happy.  It’s very adorable. Of course the message inside was all lovely and thought out and personal but… glittery clouds though…

If you could send a card to anyone (could be anyone, someone you know, don’t know, isn’t with us any longer) today who would it be and what would you say? 

I’ve recently come back from a really long trip abroad and I wish I’d had time to send a card to my fiancé back home, reminding him to water the plants. Thankfully this time around we’ve had no casualties but he’s been known to accidentally kill my succulents before. It would have been funny. 

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