You know the drill – someone in the office is having a birthday/wedding/baby/retirement/whatever. Someone is designated to go out and buy a card, and then everyone in the office has to sneak around trying to sign it while the intended recipient has their back turned. Sometimes the option to contribute money is involved, for example for a baby shower or wedding card, where office mates pitch in a few bucks for a gift card or present befitting the occasion.

GroupCard is a free service that lets you do exactly that (only without the hassle and the sneaking), plus adds a few very cute (paid) optional features for people who want to have a printed version as a keepsake. The entire card creation process takes literally seconds, and you don’t have to register to get started. (It will take you far longer to finish reading this article than it will for you to create and send your first card.)

You start by selecting a card cover image. You can choose from their plain stock cover images, their photo frames (where you can upload your own photo that is “framed” by their stock framing image), or upload your own complete cover design. Their plain covers are okay, while their framed covers range from really cheese to clever and cute – but again, if you don’t find something you like, you can always upload your own card cover image.

Next, you set a recipient, timeframe, and dollar goal (if any) – when should this card be delivered to the recipient? To whom is it being sent? And how much is the goal amount the invitees should be collectively working towards?

When the people you invite to sign the card add their own message, they will be prompted to add a gift amount. If they choose to add a gift amount, the total dollar amount of the combined gifts is usable on Amazon.Com.

When the time comes for your card to be sent to your intended recipient (as per the date you set when you created the card), the gift card amount will be included and the recipient is invited to view their card and redeem their fabulous gift card at Amazon.Com.

There are a few features to GroupCard that make it particularly clever, the most noticeable is the way they handle the signatures themselves. Rather than a boring list of messages and names, they’ve done a nifty job of making the resulting card *feel* like a real card. Signers are able to type their message, and pick a font style and angle of text, making the mashup of handwriting styles and angles really feel like a car that’s been passed around the office. A randomly chosen ink color adds to this effect, as seen below:

Sample signatures

Sample signatures

As you’re signing the card, you also have the option to add an image with your message (see the red lips above.) Pages continue to get added as more people sign, so you never need to worry about running out of space.

All of the above is 100% free, which is cool enough in its own right. But their paid services are actually cute enough to consider. Any of the signers can “sponsor” the card, by paying for a printed version in advance, giving the recipient something unusal to cherish forever. Their printed versions come in a few flavors:

Printing options & prices

Printing options & prices

The PDF version is $5 – a little steep for a PDF that doesn’t take them any extra effort to create, but the card itself is so unique, five bucks isn’t that much to ask. The poster card and wall poster ($15 and $20, respectively) would make such a unique gift that the recipient could hang in their home, dorm room or cubicle. Obviously, these two options work best when you’ve got a lot of signatures, otherwise it will only emphasize the fact that your recipient has no friends. But if you’ve got a good thirty-plus signatures, the wall poster (18″x24″, glossy finish) really looks neat.

The poster card is printed on one long roll, banner-style, so whether you have 50 signatures or 500, there will be room for all of them. The poster card option would make a great decoration for a large party, like a graduation party or big birthday bash.

If one of your signers sponsors the card, the recipient doesn’t have to pay a dime to get whatever printed version was paid for – that, in and of itself is a gift! But if no one chooses to sponsor the card, the recipient can still order one of the four options above if they wish.

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Iā€™m a tech geek/dev/infosec-nerd/scuba diver/blacksmith/sword-fighter/crime fighter/ENTP/warcrafter/activist. I'm the CTO at Mass Mosaic and the CEO of Grokability, Inc. in San Diego, CA. Tweet at me @snipeyhead or read more...

  • Bob

    Thanks for the great writeup Snipe! We really appreciate the kind words.

    BTW, love the new design. I cut my development teeth on some of your tutorials back in the day. Thanks!

    Cheers,

    Bob @ GroupCard

  • Bob

    Thanks for the great writeup Snipe! We really appreciate the kind words.

    BTW, love the new design. I cut my development teeth on some of your tutorials back in the day. Thanks!

    Cheers,

    Bob @ GroupCard

  • Really? Haha – wow, small world šŸ˜€ Its funny, since the old site(s) didn’t have any commenting system, I never knew how many people used it it. I’m just really finding out now, and its very, very cool šŸ˜€

    I came across your site as I was following the I Want Sandy “retirement” saga. Someone had posted a card to “Sandy”. Was so impressed by it, I decided I had to do a writeup right then. The varying font styles, colors and angles is really such a perfect touch. Excellent job making something fun and creative – and functional – especially with so many companies employing remotely. You might want to think about turning it into a Facebook application – I bet it would be a big hit!

  • Really? Haha – wow, small world šŸ˜€ Its funny, since the old site(s) didn’t have any commenting system, I never knew how many people used it it. I’m just really finding out now, and its very, very cool šŸ˜€

    I came across your site as I was following the I Want Sandy “retirement” saga. Someone had posted a card to “Sandy”. Was so impressed by it, I decided I had to do a writeup right then. The varying font styles, colors and angles is really such a perfect touch. Excellent job making something fun and creative – and functional – especially with so many companies employing remotely. You might want to think about turning it into a Facebook application – I bet it would be a big hit!

  • Bob

    Ha! Again, thank you. We really enjoy what we do, and we’re very proud when people like our work.

    Funny you mention Facebook applications. We actually do have a facebook app (apps.facebook.com/groupcards/) and we found out last night that we’re one of the fbFund winners!

  • Bob

    Ha! Again, thank you. We really enjoy what we do, and we’re very proud when people like our work.

    Funny you mention Facebook applications. We actually do have a facebook app (apps.facebook.com/groupcards/) and we found out last night that we’re one of the fbFund winners!

  • Just checked it out – very cool! And congrats on the fbFund! I keep meaning to find out what it takes to apply and I end up too busy šŸ™‚ Do you plan on adding the Amazon giftcard tie-in to the FB app? Or is it there already and I missed it?

  • Just checked it out – very cool! And congrats on the fbFund! I keep meaning to find out what it takes to apply and I end up too busy šŸ™‚ Do you plan on adding the Amazon giftcard tie-in to the FB app? Or is it there already and I missed it?