Charming, witty and altogether unexpected, Emmie Hsu’s Fomato birthday cards make our favorite day a little more educational. Designed with bold graphics, each card starts out as with a mini comic-book-style, non-fiction tale about such subjects as potatoes, samurais and wine before revealing, often on the back page, the ultimate purpose of the card: the greeting.
Hsu actually started out wanting to illustrate children’s picture books; it was only after a fateful booth entry at the National Stationery Show that she found a niche for her idea for cards.
Fomato has a decidedly Asian aesthetic. Hsu, who writes and designs the cards, found inspiration in the Tawainese stationery stores she frequented as a child. But it’s the cute visual mixed with silly humor that makes the line a hit with everyone outside of the Asian culture—in fact, 500 shops currently carry Fomato, from London’s Design Museum to Los Angeles’ Skylight Books.
Fomato offers cards for other occasions as well, including baby and holiday cards. The next birthday card collection, dubbed “Unsexy” and focuses around topics like the bubonic plague, office supplies and parking spots, will launch Sept. 1. All of the cards can be seen in full on the site.