Okay— what I’m about to say might alienate some aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers, and grandparents out there—but y’all need to cool it with the overly sentimental greeting cards. I know you mean well. I also know that picking out a card from the myriad available at a typical drugstore is the last thing you want to do. But honestly, it’s hard to get excited about a card that has “Dear son/daughter/nephew/niece” on it followed by a Hallmark-penned poem extolling (in fanciful scripty fonts, of course) the supposed virtues of its recipient. I don’t know if my years in New York have turned me into a hardened, emotionless cynic, but I prefer my greeting cards to be like the crazy neighbor that accosts me for walking my dogs too closely to him: blunt, to the point, and devoid of unnecessary pretense. This is why, while perusing the aisles of this week’s National Stationery Show in Manhattan, I was thrilled to see that there were numerous designers this year making exactly this type of greeting card. From newcomer Emily McDowell’s fabulously straightforward (and totally adorable) words of encouragement to Great Lakes Goods’ cards that would make any jaded Brooklynite smile, this year’s offerings were not only cute, but refreshingly real. The following 15 cards prove that sincerity isn’t about sentimentality—it’s about saying exactly what you think. (Just a note: some of the following items, for the aforementioned reasons, might be considered NSFW. If profanity isn’t your cup of tea, please pass this one over. Also, due to the nature of the Stationery Show, some of the following items aren’t available to purchase yet, but they should be in the near future! Enjoy!) —Max
Above image: I’m totally, totally obsessed with Emily McDowell’s lovely, unfiltered greeting cards. This congratulatory wedding card seems particularly apt to me, because this is exactly the reaction I have when one of my friends announces their engagement.
Above image: Send this charming card from Nightingale Projects to a friend or significant other. You will either get a grin or a look of complete confusion.
Above image: This congratulatory card from Great Lakes Goods knows exactly what goes down at birthdays/graduations/weddings and isn’t afraid to say it.
Above image: Some more words of encouragement from Emily McDowell, certain to be greatly appreciated.
Above 2 images: I was completely obsessed with 9th Letter Press’s booth at NSS. I particularly loved their blatantly honest “You Make Me Ridiculously Happy” card and their correspondence card emblazoned with a decidedly unceremonious “YO.”
Above: Looking for a cute way to say “Told ya so”? This “BOOYA” card from Egg Press should do the trick nicely.
Above image: I love the throw-back style from Mr. Boddington’s Studio, especially when it’s combined with witty turns of phrase like the above birth announcement.
Above image: This card from Banquet Workshop says “congratulations” quickly and succinctly.
Above image: Let somebody you love know just how excited you are for them with this bold card from Rocket Ink.
Above image: I loved the simplicity of this card from Smarty Pants Paper—a single line of text with an actual gold star affixed above it. Sweet and to-the-point.
Above image: Say your congratulations loud and proud with this card from Power & Light Press.
Above image: Sympathy cards are oftentimes the hardest to pick out—it can be difficult to express yourself openly during trying times. This card from Bench Pressed says it like it is.
Above image: The holidays might seem ages away, but this card was too good to pass up. Perfect for any scrooges on your correspondence list, this card from Hello Lucky makes the annual instruction to “Be Merry” sound more like a command.