In the 1970s, Recycled Paper Greetings, a small company needing to establish a competing identity against the large companies like Hallmark Cards, began publishing humorous, whimsical card designs with the artist's name credited on the back. This was away from what was known as the standard look (sometimes called the Hallmark look.) By the 1980s, there was a thriving market for what were now called "alternative" greeting cards, and the name stuck even though these "alternative" cards changed the look of the entire industry.
These are greeting cards for the budget conscious. There are two common formats for reusable cards. Firstly, there are cards with slits in them positioned to hold pages. Secondly, there are notepad style cards where pages stick to the back of the cards. The pages that have been used for reusable cards can be removed after being received and fresh pages can be used to reuse the cards.