past Shelter Holiday Cards

As we pull ourselves away from the Thanksgiving table thoughts turn to the festivities of the coming holiday season and the annual Shelter Holiday Card.

Like most folks who work in creative fields we love to dabble in the graphic arts. While we are the first to admire those who devote their design skills exclusively to graphic design we still enjoy seeing what we can come up with on our own. There certainly is an aspect of the work we do that translates in strong graphic design (at least we hope it does). We are currently working with a group of talented graphic design and branding folks from Austin, TX on a new brewery here in Mpls. Look for more insight into that in the coming weeks and months.

Aside from all the other graphic work we do in-house Holiday cards are one folly we have enjoyed over the years. We have stuck with the same general approach: 4 panels on 17″ x 5.5″ folded accordion style.

Here are some of the past cards:

This is the card we made our first year. Shelter was only a few months old and we were trying to get some name recognition. 2004


We liked the format so we decided to use it again the next year. 2005


The closing line that year was “live well.” that would evolve into our oft used “live better.” We also used the “we know where you live” line followed by “but not in a creepy way” on other marketing pieces.

The 2006 card was designed by our intern Sarah and was the start of looking to Christmas Carols for inspiration. Shelter was becoming known for our work on the front lines of sustainable design practices. We were also seeing the start of greenwashing in the construction industry. The closing line played on the buzzwords that were now prevalent in other’s marketing efforts.

Our punchline read: “low V.O.C., environmentally sensitive, carbon sequesterized, bio-degradable, close looped, low-impact, minimal hardcover, renewable, bio-regional, organic, free range, sustainable, little, politically correct holiday!”


August of 2005 brought the destruction of Hurricane Katrina to many areas of the Gulf Coast. One of our Founding Partners had moved down to the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans to help with the rebuilding efforts. By 2007 we were still involved in New Orleans so we used that as the theme of that year’s Christmas card. Sort of a cultural/culinary mash-up.



There was a slow down in our mailings as we tighten our belt to deal with the crash of the housing market. Architects were the canaries in the coal mine as contracts slowed to a trickle.

2011’s card went back to our Christmas Carol theme (Deck the Halls).


Last year was (Comfort and Joy) and we went with a graphic play on ribbons.


Well, that brings us to 2013. This year’s card is yet to be finalized but it’s always fun to sit around the studio sipping on spiced wine and egg nog and brainstorming.


Have a wonderful and festive holiday season, the most wonderful time of the year….that gives me an idea.

Cheers, your friends at Shelter.

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