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Meet the Artists

Dean Morris

22 Jun 2021

Meet the Artists: Hello from Dean Morris

Tell us a bit about yourself….

My name is Dean and I live in Wolverhampton in an “immaculate semi” as the Daily Mail genuinely described it.  I live with Mat, my hubby of 21 years who in between being incredibly clever with computers also assists in the running of Dean Morris Cards.  As you can see back in 1999 when I started my business, I was very creative with the company name. 

Apart from designing cards, obviously, I’m happiest when I’m hiking up a big hill in the Lake District.

How did you get into the creative/greeting card industry?

From when I was a child, I’d always buy traditional birthday and Christmas cards for my family and add my own decoration to the inside and out so maybe it was always meant to be.  Fast forward a few years after finishing my fine art degree I was in an art shop looking at all the different papers and materials.  In a moment of uncharacteristic confidence, I decided I could make cards for a living and with some help from the Prince’s Trust and another EU funded scheme I set out on my career path that I’m still on today.  There was never any long-term plan I just knew the traditional blue-chip career wasn’t for me.

What have been your biggest challenges to get to where you are today?

There’s been several over the years but the one that always comes back – although I am better at dealing with it now – is achieving the classic work life balance, which can be especially challenging when the office has always been home.   With it being my baby, the hours can be long and sometimes frustrating, but I always try and find moments of stillness when I can decompress.   

Until we knew how it would present itself the uncertainty of the pandemic in March 2020 was a big challenge, but I remember being up in the Lake District as business fell off a cliff and I remember being on a solo hike (thankfully not falling off a cliff) really helped me prepare for the upcoming lockdown with a sense of perspective.  

What has been the proudest moment of your career?

I was waiting to check in for a British Airways flight a few years ago and there was a problem with the ticket, so I was asked to wait while the BA team sorted it out, which they eventually did.  I’ll never forget when one of the staff came over after fixing the issue and asked me “are you THE Dean Morris from Dean Morris Cards?”  I never really saw myself as a brand until that point so that made me so proud.  I’m clearly well-known across all airlines as I’ve had “are you the guy that does the cards” asked to me by check in and cabin crew for Virgin Atlantic too! 

Because of this I managed to secure @thedeanmorris for my personal Instagram if you want to be nosey. It’s fine, I’m an over sharer.  

Do you have anyone or anything in mind when designing your cards?

Sometimes I wonder what does go through my mind!  Ideally, I hope the cards will make people laugh and generally I succeed with that.  I don’t have a well-planned out demographic, I just create stuff that makes me laugh and hope there’s other people out there with the same sense of humour as me.

What is the best card you’ve ever been given?

The best card I ever received was this one that says, “To a wonderful son & his partner”. It was from my mum a few Christmasses ago, sadly she is no longer with me, so it has a special place in my heart. It goes on the mantelpiece every Christmas now.

Which is your favourite card you ever designed and why?

My favourite Moonpig card that I have designed was one of the first they featured on the site.  I’m mostly known for designing greeting cards with retro images from the 60s and 70s so this one is an exception of being only basic white text on a black card with a simple heart.  “Couples that fart together stay together” (dnm009) is such a simple funny message and it’s quite often my best-selling card on the site (always a bonus) so it must resonate with lots of people.  It’s actually true as well 😊

We love that your cards are so colourful and eccentric! Of all your cards, which is the most ‘outrageous’? 

The most outrageous Moonpig card I have designed has to be “Today is all about you” (dnm053).  It has everything I want when I design a card.  I love the sickly-sweet retro image used, the clash with the rather rude sentiment, the to the point message and the bold colours.

What do you love most about your job/brand?

I love that it’s mine and that it is a brand, which took me a while to realise; more often than I should I define myself as the guy that makes funny and rude cards.  I love the freedom of being my own boss and that I can pick and choose when I work and when I can have holidays.  Also, I especially love, even after so long, seeing people buckled up with laughter reading my cards in shops or online.  The buzz of that never gets boring.

What is the one message you want to send for Pride Month?

I think Pride is different for every one but one thing that unites us all is our first Pride. Whether you’re celebrating by watching a parade, a festival or down the pub, if it’s your first Pride, I hope it’s fabulous! For all of us, I would just like to wish you a happy Pride!

Are you planning anything special for Pride this year?

I’ll always make a big thing of Pride on my socials during June as a large output of Dean Morris Cards is littered with rainbows anyway.  I love that Moonpig now has a much bigger LGBTQ+ collection too.  I cannot wait until we can have pride festivals again.  Being 46 I sometimes feel like I have been there and done that but there’s nothing like 18 months of restrictions to make you realise what you’ve missed.   

Do you think the greeting cards industry could do more to be more inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community?  

I think all industries could do more, but in my 20 years in the greeting card industry, I’ve seen a massive increase in LGBTQ+ cards. In the grand scheme of things, I think the greeting card industry does really well in regards to inclusivity. 

Is inclusivity an issue you have ever faced in the industry you work in? If so, how did you deal with this, overcome the issue and get to where you are today?

Inclusivity has never been an issue for me in the greeting card industry, it's always been very LGBTQ+ friendly. I have many friends & peers also in the industry who come under our fabulous rainbow banner. 

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