It’s early days for Viva Cards but just over two weeks ago we launched this website and we’ve had a steady trickle of sales since then. The very first response we got was a tweet from Nadine Muller. If I’m completely honest my heart sank when I read it, because I could completely see where Nadine was coming from. My biggest concern had been what she flagged:


The first Viva Cards were handmade, scribbled by me on standard record cards, that probably cost about £4 – the cost of the cards and the cost of postage. Over the past couple years I’ve made a number of these sets, indeed last week Liz graduated with her PhD, and she was one of the people who had a hand made set and found that they boosted her confidence.

So, back to Nadine’s question, why aren’t they freely available. Simply because they cost money to produce. We have piloted an online version, and the person who used it said that the questions themselves were really helpful, but what she’d have liked was a printed version. She described how she’d have used them like worry beads, worry cards, in preparation for her viva. The portability aspect was very important, and we were keen that they were designed so that you wanted to use them. There are numerous costs associated with Viva Cards that we’ve footed so far: the time spent on developing them, the physical print design and lay out, the prototyped app, the actual print costs, the box and the stickers, the jiffy bags and of course the postage. In addition to that there was the web design, the web hosting costs and of course the time spent on twitter and here creating the connection and community around the cards, offering support to those preparing for their viva or writing up.

We are keen to lower the costs, however to do this we are likely to need to change printer. At the moment the cards are an incredibly high quality card produced by Moo, and this has been a deliberate choice. We think it’s important that the cards are high quality, that they feel nice in your hands, that they are attractive and robust and that you want to look at them or display them. Simply providing the questions isn’t solely what Viva Cards are about, they’re intentionally designed as a tool and a prompt, so whether you wish to use them alone, or in a group or indeed to display them on a whiteboard, we want them to have a high quality look and feel to them. We will endeavour to lower costs, but at the moment the entry point of £25 (with a time limited offer of free UK postage) is the lowest we can go and maintain the quality. Those who have spent the money have been really generous with their feedback, so while we appreciate it is not an insignificant amount, we do think that it is worth it.

WhiteboardRJalilPhoto with thanks to Rahul Jalil, Customer No 6.