Founded by Tianjin-born graphic designer Deng Bingbing in 2009, Bing Design is the company behind Shanghai's striking homeware brand Piling Pilang. While Deng's handcrafted ceramic and lacquer wares are a firm interiors favourite, less well-known is his range of stylish and affordable greeting cards, often influenced by the goods in store.
The signboard series, which match a range of serving dishes, and the intricate black and gold enamel inspired 'hydrangea' design are great for any event, while for dedicated special occasions, there is a full range of cutesy graphic prints in vibrant colours. Don't miss 'Love you, Mom' for Mother's Day, the adorable 'Welcome little one', which features a mother and baby elephant walking trunk to tail, and the 'It's your birthday, let's go party', with a tub of ice cream made to resemble the patterns of Piling Pilang's gorgeous enamel print trinkets.
They also offer a decent range of matching wrapping paper (from 10RMB/roll).
Since launching with a stall at the Paulaner Christmas fair in 2012, Mary Ching shoe designer Sarah Armstrong's sideline in quirky prints inspired by the Chinese language have become some of our favourite Shanghai gift items.
Armstrong hand-draws each design before getting them printed on greeting cards, tote bags, tea towels and T-shirts to resemble the work of a traditional hand-printing press.
For greeting cards we love the cursive, looping handwriting of xièxie and wǒ ài nǐ, and the clever, almost cartoonish, pictograms explaining Chinese words and phrases including computer (diànnǎo, electricity + brain). There is also a range for birthdays (shēngrìkuàilè) and a dedicated set of Christmas cards (shèngdànkuàilè) featuring snowflakes, trees and presents, which can be bought at 100RMB/pack of five.
If you're after unique gifts to go along with the cards, don't miss the alphabet series of tote bags resembling pages from children's reading books, with messages such as A is for āyí, B is for bāozi, or, our favourite, Z is for zìxíngchē, (100RMB).
From 23RMB/card or 100RMB/five
Shanghainese graphic designer Fei Yin works on branding for Shanghai restaurants including Wagas, Fortune Cookie and Pasha and turns her talents to greeting cards under the label Whiteismycolour.
Stylish and bold graphic typography such as 'Love you more than....' and 'I'm here for you' mean the cards can be adapted for different occasions, but we also like the subtle incorporation of traditional Chinese elements, such as rice spoons and tea cups edged in gold. Come winter there is a dedicated range of Christmas cards on recycled brown card featuring snowflakes, snow men and a playful pair of legs in red stockings.