Why is Hallmark doing these contests?
The top consumer questions we hear at Hallmark are "Where can I submit my designs?" and "Where can I submit my writing?" We care (really), and we know you're talented (truly).
So here you see the results of our sincere attempt to support your creative efforts and to give you a platform from which to speak. We are hoping you'll be as excited as we are about creating cards and products and sharing them with the world. Creating things is a fun and rewarding process. But you probably already know that, don't you?
Thanks for coming along on this journey. Please excuse any bumps along the road as we figure how to blaze the trail together. [top]
How do the contests work?
It's like this:
For most card contests:
1. You submit a great idea to the contest.
2. We put the best cards for sale online. (You win up to $250.)
3. The very best of the best could be sold in stores, too. (You win up to $250 AGAIN!)
For other contests:
Check out our site and follow the rules. We'll let you know what to do!
Why are there so many birthday contests?
People love to give each other birthday cards, and well, birthdays are happening every day. Of course, weddings and anniversaries and other occasions happen, too, but birthdays seem to be the most popular occasion for sending cards. Plus, birthday cards come in all varieties--the card you would send to your best friend for their birthday would probably be totally different from the one you would send to your mom or the one you would send to your co-worker, so the possibilities are endless! [top]
What other contests have there been?
What contests are coming up?
You'll always be able to see into the near contest future in our Up Next box [top]
How can I get contest updates?
We provide lots of updates and will answer your contest questions on our Facebook page. Become a fan of "yourGreeting Card Competition," and the updates will go straight to your profile. On the page you can also share your entry and get feedback from other fans, if you'd like. [top]
Can I mail in my entry?
Afraid not. We review all the entries electronically to make it speedier for everyone, so please don't shy away from submitting electronically. It's painless, we promise. You can either enter at Hallmarkcontests.com or via Facebook. [top]
When can I enter a contest?
Keep an eye on the “Submissions Accepted” dates listed on our home page or contest page. We'll let you know when and what we're looking for. We’ll accept your ideas at Hallmarkcontests.com OR via Facebook. [top]
Who is eligible to participate in the contests?
Each contest is open to all persons, age 18 or older as of the first day of submission. Current or former employees of Hallmark, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, all direct family members of those employees and employees of American Greetings or Recycled Paper Greetings are not eligible. More information. [top]
Do I have to live in the U.S. to enter?
Nope! You sure don't. The contests are open to our international friends, too! We'll accept submissions in English from all over the globe. If you're one of our international friends, here's what you need to know: You're definitely eligible to become a winner. You just won't be able to buy your cards in stores in your own country or order them online if you do not have a U.S. billing address. We'll be sure to hook you up with plenty of samples of your own card so any friends and family that also live overseas can bask in your card-star glory, too. [top]
Can I submit more than one entry in each contest?
That depends on the contest. We know you've got good ideas comin' out of your ears, but check out each specific contest page to get the scoop. [top]
Can I enter another contest if I've already been a winner?
Why, yes! We'd be thrilled to see your winning entries keep coming our way! In fact, we plan to give special recognition to those of you who are on a roll, winning two, three and even more contests in our Repeat Card Stars gallery. [top]
How do I know if Hallmark received my submission?
When we get your submission, you will receive an e-mail confirming we got it. Please add firstname.lastname@example.org to your contact list in your e-mail address book, so your inbox doesn't mistake our e-mails for junk. Because junk they are not! [top]
How do I make sure my image is high enough resolution?
If you want to keep it simple:
If you're not sure your image is high resolution, don't worry. Our upload tool won't let you submit anything less.
If you want to go for the gold and get all technical:
1. Create a new document in your photo or design program (Photoshop, Illustrator, Paint, Paintshop, etc.).
2. Adjust the document to the right dimensions and dpi:
1100 x 1500 pixels or 5.5" W. X 7.5" H.
Hallmark will format all submissions to fit a vertical card.
3. Copy your photo or design into your document. (Skip this step if you created your design within the program.)
4. Crop your photo or design down to the right dimensions. (Skip this step if you created your design within the program.)
5. Save it as a .jpg.
If you're scanning a physical photo or design:
Make sure to set the scanner to the highest setting you can. (How high is that, you ask? Somewhere around 1200 dpi.)
Note: Use your program's "Help" tool for more information on file formats, file size and image resolution. You might also check your software manual or your favorite search engine for more instructions and tips. [top]
How do I save my file as a .jpg?
If you don't already have a program in mind, a couple of programs that save images in .jpg format are Photoshop, Illustrator, Paint and Paintshop. We recommend you use your program's "Help" tool for more information on file formats, file size and image resolution to ensure your photo or design meets the specifications of the competition. If you're still not sure, we'd recommend using an online search engine to find out more. [top]
How do I make sure my design file type is correct?
Make sure to save your design as a .jpg in RGB color format. Our system will not accept design files saved in CMYK color format. [top]
What do I do if my photo is too small?
You can try re-scanning your photo at the highest setting on your scanner, probably 1200 dpi. Then try submitting it again.
If this is "Greek" to you and you need step-by-step instructions, there's lots of good information on the Internet. Type "scan photos" into the Google or Yahoo search bar and check out one of the sites listed.
You might consider taking your photo to Kinko's or a local business with printing services. They can scan your photo for a nominal fee. Just be sure to bring along these requirements: at least 1100 x 1500 pixels (equivalent to 200 dpi). [top]
Can I add a photo or design to the inside of my card?
Sorry, cards for competitions are currently limited to simple black type on the inside. So give us your best shot on the card's cover by putting your photo or design there and only there. [top]
Can I submit a photo or image I found through an Internet search?
Probably not. A photo or image may seem like it's "out there" on the Internet, but it can't be reproduced on a Hallmark card or product without permission from the photographer and legal release forms covering prominent persons and places in the shot (like someone's house). This includes anything from stock houses or labeled as "royalty free." Unless you're willing to go the distance and secure all those forms, it's best just to stick to your own stuff. [top]
Anything I should avoid in my submission that could get me disqualified?
YES. Aside from needing to be a high enough resolution/dpi to print well, we will review entries for any trademark or brand name that is prominent (think logos, store-bought props, recognizable locations, and trademarked or branded items) and could lead the owner of that trademark to object. If you're submitting a photo, it needs to be taken by you, or you need to have permission from the person who did. You will also need permission to photograph the people or animals in the photo. If they are kids or pets, get permission from their parents or owners. (If you're chosen as a winner, we'll send you official model release forms but please, oh please, get their permission before you send in the photo.)
Also, at the judges' discretion, entries including unsuitable content, insufficient image resolution, non-English language entries, sexually explicit or inappropriate content, descriptions or images of people or animals in unsafe conditions or content that is in violation of third party rights (including, but not limited to, copyrights) will be immediately disqualified. Hallmark will use its sole discretion in determining whether an entry should be disqualified. [top]
Do you have tips to help me?
Will my entry be changed in any way by Hallmark?
It depends. We're all about keepin' it real when it comes to your entry. Edits come into play for things like blurry photos, spelling errors, readability, etc. Sometimes we'll clean up the writing to make it clearer. We won't go changing things willy-nilly. We want your creation to shine. [top]
Can I submit an idea that doesn't relate to the current contest?
No, but you can put it in your pocket and save it for a rainy day. And by rainy day, we mean future contests that might better suit your idea. [top]
Can I enter the same photo or design in more than one contest?
Yes, you may enter your photo or design in more than one contest, even if it has been a previous winner. [top]
Where do the words go on my card?
That depends. If the contest calls for writing, you can choose the best option for the image and writing you're submitting. No matter what, you'll always have words on the inside of your card. These are your 3 options:
A. No writing on the cover - writing on the inside only [top]
B. Writing embedded in your cover image + writing inside
C. Writing on the cover + writing inside
How will the entries be judged?
Ask yourself these 3 things when you are creating your submission:
1. Does it stick to the THEME?—Does your entry deliver what the contest calls for?
If the contest calls for birthday cards, deliver the birthday. If it calls for thank-you cards, you get the idea. Otherwise, your card will be disqualified.
2. Is it SENDABLE?—Could it be sent by more people than your friends and family?
Imagine all the different people that walk into a store to buy a Hallmark card. Will a lot of them be able to buy your card to send to one of their friends or family? No? Then, keep trying until you've got a real crowd-pleaser.
3. Is it COHESIVE?—Are the visuals and writing a great match?
Sometimes, people enter a card with a great design or photo or they submit wonderful writing, but those submissions don't become winners because we like only ONE part of the card. We want the TOTAL package. Your visuals and writing should go hand-in-hand. [top]
How are the winners chosen?
A panel of Hallmark judges who really know their stuff will choose a group of winners from all eligible entries. Entries will be judged based on whether they stick to the theme as well as on sendability and cohesiveness. Get the details. [top]
What happens if I'm selected as a winner in the competition?
We'll call you on judging day! We'll then need you to fill out some mighty important information about yourself and get all your legal paperwork and model release forms signed. And we need you to do so rather quickly (usually in 72 hours, to be exact), so we can officially call you a winner and start making your card. [top]
If I’m a winner, when will I hear the good news?
If you are pronounced a winner by our wise council of judges, they will call you up a.s.a.p. after the final day of judging. Keep tabs on the judging progress on our site and Facebook page. We’ll be sharing lots of behind-the-scenes tidbits, and you’ll know to expect a call on judging day. Be sure to keep your phone with you! Once we call the winners (which could include you), we won’t announce it to the rest of the world on our site ’til about six weeks later. [top]
How many winners are chosen for each contest?
Some contests will have more winners than others. Just WOW us, and you'll have nothing to worry about! [top]
How do you decide which cards are also sold in stores?
Just as we do for judging, a group of experienced Hallmarkers get together to decide the right mix of cards to sell in stores. They consider things like the look and "feel" (emotional tone) of each card, who it can be sent to, what it adds to the whole group of cards, and so on. After much discussion and plenty of snacks, everybody agrees on the best of the best. Then, we deliver the great news to the card creators! [top]
What are the prizes?
Our prizes vary by contest. Check out our current contest to get the latest scoop.
For most of our card contests, you will receive up to $250 (U.S. dollars), and your card will be offered at Hallmark.com. Not to mention, you'll be in the bright, card-creating spotlight. If your winning online card is then selected to be printed and sold in stores all over the country (earning you more fame and more fans), you will win up to $250 (U.S. dollars) more. [top]
Why isn't there a Grand Prize Winner?
Call us bleeding hearts, but we think you're all winners. For most contests, that means making more of your cards, so more people can become winners—and get all the greeting card fame that comes with that. [top]
Where can I buy the winning cards?
You can usually find them at Hallmark.com. If you're looking for in-store winners, you can always ask us on Facebook where the cards for a certain contest are being sold. Then, it's just a matter of checking your local stores! For international folks, you'll have to get creative. You won't be able to buy the cards at Hallmark.com or in Hallmark Gold Crown stores (unless you travel to the U.S. to do it). We'll send you lotsa card samples so you can share them with friends and family. If you want more, though, you could have a U.S. friend get them and send them to you. [top]
When will the winning cards be in stores?
Well, each contest will have different dates so stay in-the-know by checking our Facebook page for updates. We will be sure to shout loud and clear when those winning cards hit the shelves. For those of you who are winners, we'll notify you early via e-mail and mail, so there's no chance you'll miss the news. [top]
How do I keep track of all the dates for the contests?
Just refer to Hallmarkcontests.com for all the dates you need. [top]
How do I get a job at Hallmark?