Why specially designed gift cards are really worth it



If you’re a business owner, you probably already know that gift cards create an additional revenue stream for a business. There are also many benefits of offering gift cards to your customers. But, did you know that some businesses have been so successful at designing and marketing their gift card program that the cards themselves have become a collectible commodity? Sounds crazy, but it’s true.

While you may not be aiming to create a cult following for your gift card program, there is still much to be learned from checking out popular design trends and applying some of those concepts to your own cards to boost your sales.

A consumer survey from found that 70 percent of women plan on giving a gift card within the next three months. What’s more, women are two times more likely to buy a gift card because of the design than men. Making sure you keep on stock attractive cards that are specific to various gift-giving occasions could really increase your gift card sales.

Let’s take a peek at some popular brands and some of their beloved gift card designs for ideas on how you can improve your gift card program.


If you ever shop at Target, you’ve probably seen all the colorful, occasion-specific gift cards available in the checkout line. Target often employ multi-dimensional, interactive gift card designs to entice buyers and recipients alike. The company is smart to offer specific cards for nearly every occasion of the year.

From an edible gift card to a gift card that allows the giver to record a personalized message, Target’s outside-the-box cards are heavy on pop culture, full of imagination, and overall irresistible.

Whole Foods

Offering fun gift cards designs that echo a company’s logo and brand vibe is a popular strategy. It’s a superb way to reinforce and spread brand identity since gift cards serve as portable advertisements that customers carry right in their wallets.

However, a card with a strong brand association can also be creative. Let’s look at upscale grocery chain Whole Foods as an example. Browse their gift card selection and you’ll soon notice that although their cards always feature their logo, they also incorporate other elements that give a nod to the company’s overall brand identity. The scrappy, hand-drawn quality of the designs, to-the-point messaging, fun images of products that can be purchased in their stores such as seasonal produce and craft beer – all of these elements work to reinforce the Whole Foods brands while having a wide range of creativity and variety among their gift card designs.

Another noteworthy aspect of the Whole Foods gift card program is that while they do offer some occasion-specific gift cards – like the Happy Birthday card – these cards are mostly suggestive of specialty items that can be purchased with the gift card such as beauty products, desserts, beer and produce.


Ah, Disney – it’s hard to find a company that does brand identity and marketing better than the powerhouse mouse. And their gift cards are no exception. Admittedly, Disney does have the advantage of having a wide array of characters and themes from which to choose. But, don’t let that deter you. You certainly don’t need to have the notoriety of Disney characters to put your company’s assets to work in a gift card program.

Consider the types of qualities, products or atmosphere that attract your customers to visit and patronize your business. You should be capturing and leveraging those positive aspects in your gift card art.

Another way that Disney captures gift card buyers is through presentation and display. For example, the layout on some Disney gift cards is part of a larger image printed onto the card packaging. Some gift cards – such as a specially designed Christmas collection – even come with a matching pin. These pins are a popular Disney merchandise item that are very collectible and can be traded at the parks and resorts, giving them an interactive quality.

What’s more, think about how much Disney saves in credit card transaction fees when their guests use their attractive gift cards instead of credit or debit cards while visiting their resort.

Home Depot

You may be surprised that a home improvement warehouse made the cut, but Home Depot gets a place of honor on our gift card list. You wouldn’t think that nails and tape measures would necessarily make for appealing imagery, but with some creativity, it works.

Home Depot’s wedding themed cards are particularly clever, including a bow made out of a tape measure and a front door mat that welcomes the newlyweds home. Their wedding gift card collection is an artful mix of traditionally masculine hardware products with a traditionally feminine wedding theme – and it really works wonderfully.

Upon first glance at Home Depot’s gift cards, you may be able to guess the store without even seeing the logo. Whether you need a gift card for a wedding, birthday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or Christmas, your local Home Depot probably has the perfect gift card design to fit the bill. Card designs that feature their products, are attractively designed, and speak to their branding – two thumbs way up for Home Depot’s gift card program.


Upscale department store Nordstrom offers a wide variety of colorful winter holiday themed gift cards for all tastes. Their holiday gift card collection brilliantly reflects the understated sophistication for which the retailer is known.

The holiday gift card designs are bold, artful and subtly evoke images of holiday gift giving. For example, the three wise men who brought gifts to the infant Jesus are featured on one card design. On another, nutcrackers, which are gifted to Clara in the beloved Nutcracker ballet story, are featured.

If you think winter holiday-specific gift cards would be a boost for your business, make sure you offer a variety. Appeal to more shoppers by offering some more neutral winter holiday designs alongside specific holiday cards.


When it comes to building a major fan base, coffeehouse giant Starbucks knows how it’s done. Consider the very limited release of the unicorn Frappuccino in summer 2017 – an instant social media sensation. Starbucks’ gift card program is similarly wildly popular.

In 2015, Starbucks issued nearly 200 cards representing 30 countries around the world. Since then, they have also launched collections of gift cards for all 50 states, modern fashion design, international holidays and more.

Besides the obvious value of the money loaded onto gift cards, through such hot limited releases, Starbucks has made the plastics themselves a hot commodity. Specially timed gift card releases that coincide with internal promotions and other aspects of pop culture have made their program super successful.

Have all these successful programs gotten you wondering how your business can create demand for specially designed gift cards? Keep reading for more ideas on successfully promoting your gift cards.



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