Exploring Ramadan and Eid greetings card design with artist Sakina Saïdi

Sakina’s Saïdi’s illustrations depict how she sees the world and her designs cover topics such as gender equality, mental health, diversity, and community. The Postal Museum has recently collected some of Sakina’s greeting cards as part of the We Collect project, where we seek to better understand how people use the post to connect during moments of celebration. We sat with her to learn more about her story and her artistic practice.

Hi Sakina, can you tell us about yourself and your work?

I am a French-Moroccan artist and illustrator based in London. Through my cheerful work, I aim to carry a deeper message about well-being, community, and love. I believe in the power of art to be a catalyst for positive change and tackle serious issues. I regularly work with charities and grassroots organisations to create compelling illustrations. My clients include BBC, Fairtrade, Plan International, and Sephora. I am also an independent greeting card publisher aiming to bring more diversity and representation to the industry.

Sakina holds her cards and looks at the camera. She's outdoors and has a palm tree as background

Sakina Saïdi with her Ramadan and Eid cards

What inspired you to set up your shop? How has it grown since launch and where can we find your products?

I started selling my prints after sharing my art on Instagram and connecting with people on common themes such as nature, well-being and social issues. I was first selling for retail only and added new products gradually. Now I’m an independent stationery brand and I have my products on the shelves of some of the best independent shops in the UK and abroad, as well as some well-known names such as Oliver Bonas, Waterstones and Paperchase. I also have the honour of seeing my prints and cards in several museum shops in the UK and USA.

How did you get into greeting cards?

It all started by chance for me. Coming from France, where greeting cards aren’t as big as they are in the UK, I initially focused on creating art and prints. However, as more and more people requested cards from me, I stumbled upon the magic of greeting cards, and I was instantly captivated! Being able to play a part in people’s important milestones and cherished moments is truly incredible. I take great joy in the fact that many individuals can find themselves and their loved ones reflected in my designs.

Can you tell us a bit more about the greeting cards designs The Postal Museum has collected and what they mean to you?

Every card design holds a story, from the everyday cards to the occasion-specific ones. I take particular joy in the selection of my Eid cards. Not long ago, there were few, if any, Eid cards available in stores. Now, I am delighted to play a part in expanding representation for these occasions to a wider audience.

Two cards with the messages Ramadan Kareem and Eid Mubarak The text is in the centre of the card, surrounded by decorative geometric drawings.

A selection of Sakina Saïdi’s cards

What would you like someone to feel when they see your greeting cards on shelves?

I want people to feel uplifted, represented, and seen. It brings me joy when they discover a card that is ideal for someone they care about. Even more so, I am thrilled when they find the cards that speak to them personally, with a message that truly resonates. Some people pick up my cards as keepsakes or special reminders, and I consider it a great honour.

What change were you seeking to inspire in the industry? What more do you think needs to be done to improve representation?

I believe that representation is gaining attention as a trending topic or marketing strategy. While I understand that perspective, I aspire for it to be the norm. Greeting cards should mirror the diversity of today’s society in a natural and inclusive way. I believe representation should not be limited to people of different colours on the cards. True representation goes beyond that; it involves having people from diverse backgrounds and with varied life experiences in the design and being part of the industry. Just changing the skin colour of characters is superficial if the underlying structure does not evolve. One aspect I value about the UK’s greeting card industry is the space it provides for small publishers and independent entrepreneurs like myself: we are part of the landscape alongside larger entities.

Have you received any feedback from a stranger who bought your greetings cards that really stood out? What difference did your cards make to them?

Absolutely! I often receive messages from people who have purchased my cards for their dear ones. The most common feedback I receive is about the diversity of people on the cards. For some, it is the first time they have encountered a greeting card character that resembles one of their friends or family members.

What role do you think greetings cards play in celebrating religious and cultural events?

Greeting cards are just perfect for adding a lovely touch to our already vibrant cultures and festive celebrations. They add that extra special something to make a gift for any occasion even more meaningful. Plus, they’re a fantastic way for those who might not celebrate certain holidays to send wishes to their friends who do, showing them some love and making them feel truly appreciated.

Three cards with the message Eid Mubarak. The cards include different illustrations, from hands decorated with henna, to sweets, mint tea or a women looking at a sky full of stars

A set of Eid Mubarak cards

What do you see as the future of greetings card design?

The future of greeting card designs is all about making design more accessible to everyone. Thanks to online social platforms, it’s easier for people to create their own cards and manifest their creative ideas. While the existing structures with major companies, licensing agreements, and broad distribution channels will remain crucial, there will also be a wider range of options for those willing to explore beyond the traditional paths.

What would you like someone in the future who discovers these cards in the museum’s collection to know about them?

I want them to know these cards didn’t start as a commercial exercise and are not made by ticking boxes and following trends. They are made by someone who cares and who wants to create something special for others / them to enjoy.

Get Sakina’s cards at The Postal Museum shop and visit her website to learn more about her work.