Calm sets out to redesign Father’s Day one card at a time

Working with over 30 artists, the charity launches a new design project and online auction to raise funds for men’s mental health, in collaboration with The Or.

21 May 2024

Typically displaying messages that land on the more humorous side, some of the neatly wrapped, shop-bought Father’s Day cards you find in the lead-up to the day may not always express the most heartwarming of titles. In exchange for a display of stereotypes and one-liners (ie. bald jokes, slippers, beer, DIY), many Father’s Day cards aren’t always as tender as they could be, or as Calm puts it, they are often “distinctly absent of the loving attitude that dads deserve”.

In a bid to bring more meaning to our Father’s Day messages, independent creative company The Or, in partnership with suicide prevention charity Calm, briefed an array of artists including Marylou Faure, Hattie Stewart and Oli Fowler, to redesign generic Father’s Day cards. The project produced a range of designs with the aim to bring Father’s Day wishes back to the charm of the handmade and personal with artists working on top of a selection of existing cards to create a series of ‘before and after’ designs. Tom Snell and Dylan Hartigan, creatives at The Or commented:We've loved seeing the many interpretations of what Father’s Day means to different people and seeing these ideas beautifully brought to life by the brilliant artists involved, proves that the love for father figures is far from generic".


Jim Brook: Dad, for Calm Father’s Day Redesign (Copyright © Calm, 2024)

Over 30 artists have contributed to the project with one-off Father’s Day card designs that will be up for auction, starting on the 23 May, via The Auction Collective. Calm’s auction allows the public to bid for their favourite artwork and receive the card in time for Father’s Day, whilst raising money for the charity. Simon Gunning, CEO of Calm says, “We still have such a long way to go in breaking down stereotypes around masculinity and what it means to be a man and a father. This brilliant partnership speaks volumes to that need, showing that dads deserve to be shown love, support, and care on Father’s Day [...] and it will hopefully help us to raise vital funds to continue the lifesaving work that we're doing”.

With the aim of the project being to “redefine stereotypical messaging” many of the artists used their works as a way to express their personal gratitude for the father figures in their own lives. Opposing shop-bought slogans with messages such as ‘Thank you for being present and not just hiding in your shed’ (Oli Frape), on their cards, the project “shines a light on how we communicate with our father figures, reframing the narrative with positivity and openness” says Charlene Chandrasekaran, executive creative director at The Or.

As part of the project, each artist’s card is accompanied by a written description of the work, detailing personal influences and attachments to the cause. Artist Tina Crawford’s work, I don’t expect, surrounds the idea of how much we might expect of fathers, and men in general with her embroidered message ‘I don’t expect you to put up shelves or mow the lawn, or to pay the bills. I want you to be happy’. Combining their words with “the softness of embroidery – traditionally a women’s hobby”, says Tina, the artist's contribution, like many others, conveys a message that challenges expectations around masculinity.

The charity’s Father’s Day auction will be running until the 5 June, with all proceeds going to the Campaign Against Living Miserably (Calm), funding the work the charity does to bring people together and provoke conversations surrounding mental health.

GalleryCalm Father’s Day Redesign (Copyright © Calm, 2024)


Oli Frape: Thanks for being present and not just hiding in your shed


Murugiah: Story Time


Paul Davis


Hattie Stewart


Ryan Hawaii


Marla Morris


Tina Crawford: I don't expect


Jack Mears: Pool legend


Adam Bridgeland: Only the bold, and the brave

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Calm: Calm Father’s Day Redesign selection of cards (Copyright © Calm, 2024)

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About the Author

Ellis Tree

Ellis Tree (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a junior writer in April 2024 after graduating from Kingston School of Art with a degree in Graphic Design. Across her research, writing and visual work she has a particular interest in printmaking, self-publishing and expanded approaches to photography.

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