Tag Archives: typography

Recent Work: Christmas Card Designs

Having the ability to draw design inspiration from many sources, quickly sketch ideas, and ultimately turn those sketches into rendered graphics is so important to design strategy. As a designer, going through this process of actualizing ideas helps you filter through to the best ones. Moreover, many clients have trouble fully understanding new ideas until they are visualized. I like to work on personal design projects throughout the year to keep my visualization skills fresh, and to give me an outlet for my incessant need to create things.

As one such project, I’ve been working on designing our first ever Christmas card for a few weeks now. Just last night I completed the project by ordering a set. I thought I’d share a bit on my process for designing them, as well as our ‘rejects’ – I won’t show our final design so as to keep the surprise for those of you on the mailing list.

To start, I looked at stationary sites around the web for inspiration. I also looked through Real Simple and made a few trips to Paper Source to check out what they had to offer. The cards I loved most had interesting typography and blocky graphics.

After bookmarking a bunch of designs, I sketched out my take on some of the favorites.

Finally, I took to Illustrator to create the graphics. If you have the time, I find that a project like this is great for pushing your skills in design computer programs. Though the Adobe Creative Suite can be tough to get started with, there are lots of resources on the web – whenever I got stuck, I could Google, “How to create a clipping mask tutorial” and immediately find several helpful videos.

Here are some of our favorite designs:

And there you have it! Working on Christmas cards has inspired me that I can design our wedding invitation suite, so it’s on to the next project.

Side note: We ordered ours as postcards through Moo.com, which happens to have free shipping for orders over $35 until November 22. The process is very simple: upload your files, sign off on the proofs, then wait a few weeks for them to arrive in the mail. I can’t vouch for the postcard quality (yet) but love their services in general.

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Recent work: Typographic String Art

One of my goals for the time while I’m between full-time positions is to work on projects for our wedding next May. Until recently, that mostly meant thinking about logistics, contacting vendors, and searching the web for ideas and inspiration. Now that we’ve settled into our place in Cambridge, I can start to fully focus on the part I enjoy most – designing decorations and paper goods.

One decoration that really caught my eye during inspiration searches was this string art wedding invite by Kyle Read:

Wedding Invitation by Kyle Read

Once I saw it, I knew I needed to incorporate something similar into our decorations. This weekend, I completed my string art DIY of ‘J & T’.

Here’s a quick breakdown of how I created this.

Step 1. I played around with a bunch of different font types and sizes until I landed on Market Deco for the letters paired with Marquee for the ampersand.

Step 1: Choosing The Fonts

Step 2. I made a prototype with newspaper and printouts to make sure I liked the wood size, then went to Lowe’s to get some plywood cut. The piece I used measures 14″ x 24″.

Step 2. Paper Prototype

Step 3. I used a few coats of stain (Minwax Polyshades in American Chestnut) on the wood, then added a few coats of varnish.

Step 3: Staining The Base

Step 4. Using printed letters secured with tape as a guide, I hammered nails every 3/4″. For some of the curvy parts in the ampersand I added a few extra nails, but in hindsight they probably were not needed.

Step 4: Placing The Nails (and Hinckley says hello)

Step 5: All that’s left was to string it up! There are a few OK tutorials on the internet (here and here) but really all you need to do is tie the string on with a butcher’s knot, and then wrap it around the nails. I went for a randomized look, similar to what Kyle used in his invite. Once I was done stringing, I secured the loose ends with a few half hitches, and then dabbed some Elmer’s glue on top.

Step 5: Stringing The Letters

And there you have it! One wedding project down, many to go!

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