Deborah Scheck, an interior designer, said she often has trouble finding the perfect card for her dad. Her dad is an intellectual and a gardener — characteristics that don’t fit the typical dad mold.
“I think they’ve gotten better over the years, but I’m often frustrated by the fact that they are about beer-drinking and golf-playing and none of those things really apply to my dad,” Scheck said.
Often, Father’s Day cards tend to depict dads doing stereotypical “dad” things: grilling, fishing, using tools, or drinking beers. But not all dads fit into cookie-cutter categories.
Chanel Parker, a CVS store clerk, noted this while scanning the various cards at CVS.
“Dads sometimes they can be single fathers, they can incorporate creativity, hairstyles, art projects,” Parker said. “So, just be a little more creative with it. Doesn’t have to be the standard male figure. Dads do other things besides just fishing or golf.”
Greeting card companies have taken note. And they’re trying to make cards that encapsulate a wide variety of fathers. Bill Moses, a creative trends strategist at Hallmark, said his team recognizes that the definition of fatherhood is changing.
“One thing we know is that fatherhood is evolving, and the way families think about the roles dads play is evolving,” Moses said. “So we have cards that address that new attitude towards dads.”
Moses said his work involves translating what the research team finds over to the creative side. His team is constantly talking about what people find funny, or what color palettes they find most appealing. He said the best way to learn what people want is by listening, whether that be through interviews or social media.
One of Moses’ favorite Father’s Day cards is one that shows different-looking fathers doing a variety of activities. It reads “There are all kinds of dads in the world, but there’s only one you.”
Victoria Venturi is the founder of Paper Epiphanies, a greeting card company based in Portland, Ore. Father’s Day has a particularly special meaning to her, she said, because it was after her dad died that she decided to start her company. When she started writing Father’s Day cards, she found that writing cards with specific people in mind gave them a personal touch.
“I didn’t write father’s day cards for 2 years,” Venturi said. “When I started to write them, I was like I’m not afraid to be niche in this category. I encouraged the creative team to do the same. I encouraged them to think about the relationships they really have with the people they have in their lives.”
Some of her bestsellers, “Classic Rock & Cocktails! DAD, thanks for showing me the important things in life,” or “I’m so glad you never made me camp. HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!” are based off her own relationship with her father.
“He was not that kind of traditional role at all,” Venturi said. “He liked Bruce Springsteen and rum.”
Venturi said if people in the greeting card industry write from the heart, they’re going to find more success.
“I think that the more as an industry that we continue to write for the relationships that we really have, we’re gonna be more successful,” Venturi said. “It’s really hard when we go to find a card and nothing’s resonating.”
And what do the dads want?
“As far as cards are concerned, I’d rather a note than a card, because the cards are sort of ridiculous,” said Arthur Gowan, a retired attorney. “They’re sort of smarmy.”
Ralph Lee, who works in the hospitality industry, said as long as the card expresses love, he’s all in.
“I have a 5 year old little girl, so anything that speaks from the heart and doesn’t necessarily have to be activity-based, just something that lets me know that I’m loved, that’s all,” Lee said.
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