If you’ve ever wondered how the Hallmark greeting cards you send or receive are created, you could get the answer from Annette Esler, a 1988 Hennepin Technical College graduate, who has been employed as a production artist at the headquarters of Hallmark Cards, Inc. in Kansas City, Missouri, for 25 years.  

With a passion for drawing and advertising, she chose the program that was then called Commercial Art at HTC. “My boyfriend at the time was enrolled in the college’s woodworking program and he encouraged me to sign up for classes,” says Esler. After completing the two year program, Esler was ready to launch her career.

“My dream was to work for Walt Disney,” Esler says, reflecting on her aspirations. However, she found an opportunity closer to home. Since Esler, who grew up in Blaine, Minnesota, had relatives in Kansas City, she spent weeks in the summer visiting her aunt and uncle there. 

“My aunt thought I should show Hallmark my talent, so I did,” recalls Esler. “It was the first place I sent my resume and portfolio, and just two days later, I got a call from Hallmark letting me know they had reviewed my portfolio and they were interested in my joining the company.”  Given two different areas of the company to consider, Ambassador Design or process art, Esler says, “Since I was more on the technical side, I chose the process art department.”  Today, Hallmark is a $4 billion business with greeting cards and other products sold in 39,000 retail stores across the U.S. and in 100 countries worldwide. The brand also reaches people online at Hallmark.com.

Thinking about her career, Esler acknowledges that a lot has changed in a quarter of a century, particularly the technology used in graphic design. “When I started, everything was done on drawing boards, and computers were just being introduced into the art world,” says Esler. “Today, everything is digital, and I’ve learned at Hallmark as new technology has been introduced.” 

Even though the process of producing greeting cards has changed, one thing remains constant for Annette Esler: She still enjoys using her talent as part of the team at Hallmark. And she’s still glad she chose Hennepin Technical College for training that helped hone her skills and prepare her for a successful career.

Last updated by jhanson : 2016-08-01 12:12:16