Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Evolution of a Design

I thought it would be fun to share a little about my design process. For me, I always start out with a sketch. I usually have so many ideas swirling around in my head that this is the quickest way for me to get a rough idea of what I want to try and create. Sometimes a finished design will look very similar to the sketch:

and sometimes it will look very different:

My original vision for the NOEL design [available at Minted] was colored Christmas lights [the biggish bulb ones that used to hang around my grandparents' door and in their boxwoods] with the letters of Noel hanging down -- bright colors and fun lettering. I worked on those darn lights for hours and could not get them to look anything but bizarre and cheesy:

See what I mean? Oh, it makes me cringe to put those up here, but I'm being honest because if you can't laugh at yourself through this, you'll become a big, overly serious, stress ball. I was so frustrated at one point that I hid all the layers containing my unfortunate strings of lights and my hanging, pseudo-lighted letters. Then I typed out a gigantic NOEL, like "take that Illustrator!" And AHA! It was at once clean, colorful and festive. So, the color and placement of the letters were inspired by vintage twinkle lights. Who knew? It's not the road I had set out on, but I love where that road led.

Something I've found to be true over and over: you may have to abandon your original vision -- even when you've spent hours on it. It just may not be working -- at least not right now. And if you let the process flow, who knows what will come out of it.

[NOEL holiday card available at Minted right here]

[b. full of glee holiday card available at b.wise papers right here]

One of the most freeing things I've read was in the book Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. She's talking about writing, but I think it applies to most things that require original thought and creativity. I'm a firm believer in what she calls "a shitty first draft." That idea that you have to just get out of you and no one will ever see it so it doesn't matter exactly whay it looks like but you just have to get it out. Then, when it's out of your system, you can either keep refining or abandon it if it turns into a shitty second, third, fourth and fifth draft! But if you don't get it out, it could impede other things that could actually be beautiful and wonderful.

So there it is. Cheers to shitty first drafts! May they always lead to the beautiful and unexpected...

1 comment:

Heather said...

I love this "behind the scenes" look! And that NOEL is one of my favorites - so I love knowing the story. :)

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