During testing, we were impressed with how functional, well-organized and easy to use Hallmark Card Studio 2018 is. When you open the program, you land on an attractive menu screen that helps you navigate the software. From the home screen, you can choose to create cards or a slew of other projects, including photo frames, certificates and personalized stationery.
Hallmark’s greeting card software stands out from its competitors because of the number of support options it provides. Just above the design suite, there’s a button for a tutorial that teaches you how to use the program. There’s also a Help tab in the menu bar at the top of the page, which gives you access to a comprehensive – if a little dated – searchable help center.
Additionally, there is a downloadable user manual and videos in the Help menu. There’s also a link to online support. Hallmark has a toll-free number you can call during business hours. In contrast, our best pick, Print Artist Platinum, charges a $9.99 fee whenever you call it over the phone.
Hallmark’s program also includes writing tips and etiquette instructions, so if you’ve never designed a greeting or event card before, you can learn about what’s appropriate or expected to be included. This feature isn’t offered in many greeting card software, and we like that Hallmark supports and guides its users.
In addition to evaluating the program’s design and support, we looked for updates between the software’s previous and current version. Hallmark Card Studio contains more templates in its 2018 version than its 2017 release. In our research, we found the previous version of the software had only 10,000 templates, while the newer release has 11,000+. However, it doesn’t seem that Hallmark included more graphics in the latest version – both the 2017 and 2018 version have 13,000 graphics.
Hallmark Card Studio has a variety of tools you can use to shape text and clip art, and we were impressed by how easy the software makes it to resize and adjust graphics to create custom designs. When we resized graphics, we didn’t see pixilation or fuzzy edges like we did with images in other programs. You can also design custom e-cards with your own music and share your creations on popular social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube.
Much like Canva, our best value pick, Hallmark Card Studio doesn’t have a photo editing suite. If you want to save time by making all your edits in the same program you create your card design in, you might want to consider upgrading to the deluxe version.
Initially, it’s hard to tell the difference between Hallmark Card Studio’s deluxe version and standard version. What seems to set them apart is the number of templates and graphics they each include – in the deluxe version there are 18,000+ templates and 20,000+ graphics, while the standard version only includes 11,200+ templates and 13,000+ graphics. Other than that, they have the same support features and organization, and many of the tools are the same. The deluxe version comes with a simple photo editing studio that allows you to fix red eye and correct damage in old photos.
The deluxe version of the program costs about $20 more than the standard one. If you’re just dabbling with making greeting cards or are a beginner, we think the standard version is the place and price to start. A more advanced or dedicated user might try our top pick, Print Artist Platinum 25, which comes with a bunch of editing tools and 300,000+ graphics.
Overall, we’re pleased with Hallmark Card Studio 2018’s quality. It doesn’t have as great of a selection of templates and graphics as more expensive software, but those it includes are stylish enough to create some nice designs. The software’s lack of photo editing tools is a bit inconvenient but doesn’t make it unusable, especially if you already have a photo editing program. The support Hallmark provides first-time users and those new to graphic design makes this the best program for beginning greeting card designers.