Designing Veterinary Sympathy card


Delivering the designs

There’s a fine line

Sympathy cards can be challenging to design for one reason – emotions. We want the cards to convey sympathy, and for the receiver to feel that the card was chosen thoughtfully. We want the receiver to be touched, to feel thought of, whilst being supported and validated in their grief. 

How do we know we have a design that is thoughtful but not upsetting? The answer is, experience mainly. We have been delivering pet sympathy cards to the Australian Veterinary Industry for 25 years. We have found the balance always lies with market testing. Like you we work in a business full of pet lovers, and therefore there is a lot of empathy around the grief experienced when someone loses a pet. If the response when seeing potential new designs is “Ohhh that’s lovely” we progress. If I hear “oh no, I can’t even” followed by teary eyes, we know we need to pull back on the emotion.

Lost for Words

Getting this balance is also challenging when writing on the inside of sympathy cards. Hallmark and other greeting card companies have turned the messages on the inside of greeting cards into a fine art, employing copywriters to script the perfect messages. It’s easy to be “Lost for Words” when writing a message of sympathy to a grieving pet owner. That is why we employed our own copy writer (the talented Suzy Lloyd) to write Lost for Words – a booklet full of messages and quotes to help you script your own message inside your pet sympathy card. Now in its second edition Lost for Words is free with every order of 100 Sympathy cards or more.


3 New Series 

 “Always Remembered “series is our first range with no cello coating so we wanted to play along with the raw, natural, matt look this would achieve. After a few creative trials, we settled on watercolour illustrations. We teamed the earthy muted tones of the cat and dog illustrations with a gum tree leaf coloured paw, to reflect the Australian environment. We delivered the third card in the series with the simplicity of the gum leaf and gentle message of “always remembered” and “Deepest Sympathy”. Perfect for any grieving pet owner.

 “Heartfelt Portrait” series is our second range to be delivered with no cello coating. Wanting to combine the best of two ranges we are discontinuing, we took the beautiful words from our “Heartfelt” series and teamed them with updated black and white photographs similar to our “Good Friends” series. Needing modernising, the best components of these two successful ranges have been pulled together to create the Heartfelt Portrait series. Black and white imagery is always popular and has a soft, stylish feel that suits the uncoated card stock. Teaming the heartfelt words with soft imagery delivers a balance to the cards which toes that fine line of not being too much.

“Best Friendsseries an update to the best-selling series Best Friends. Best Friends 4,5 & 6, like the originals, are full of photographic images that evoke fond memories of time spent with our pets. We printed the message “Best Friends Live in our Hearts Forever” in a soft steel blue with similar tones in the photographs. This range is the most challenging to design as we work to find balance among the three photographs whilst achieving the desired mood.

“Best Friends” has been delivered with a cello glaze over the card to bring depth to the photographs. If the card is not coated the full colour photographs can look washed out. To ensure that this series will still met our high environmental standards we have changed to an environmental soy based cello, which will be rolled out to the other “gloss” cards as they are reprinted.