Today, I think we have a real treat for you all. Maybe you’ve noticed that over the past couple months Pinegate Road has started to delve a little into design theory, and a little bit more on practice. This might be my thesis’ influence, but this deeper discussion on design and meaning has been popping up all over it seems. I think everyone’s getting a little bit curious about their own practices, so looking deeper into the how’s and why’s is only natural. A couple months ago I was happily struck by one of Rashi’s posts on iteration—she realized that she was fed up with ‘good enough’ and wanted to move towards ‘great’ with her design. She found that through not settling, and creating a couple more iterations, she was able to feel like she really accomplished something with her final design. Paired with my thoughts on inspiration, Rashi and I decided to create a collaborative project where we would be ‘inspired’ by the same image, iterate through the process, and present our work. Showing our process, and how we work as graphic designers is something that we both wanted to explore more, and showing how the same inspiration can find its way into the work of two different projects is really just the cherry on top. This will be a four-part series that we’ll be presenting on each of our blogs every other Wednesday, so I hope you’ll join along on this tandem creative adventure!
For part one, Rashi and I are both working from the image above, photograph by Ruby James. When I first start working on a project, I like to start with a word map to get all of the perceived meaning out of my head and onto paper. From here I usually start to find themes in my thinking and start to pick up on how the project might start to shape. When working through this process, I really started thinking about beauty, turning sadness into happiness, vintage aesthetics, and empathy based on that golden tear. After getting this out onto paper, I came up with a few ideas from which to work. The thing about my process is, is that I almost never end up creating what I set out to in this section. While I decided to create a sympathy card, small tweaks in my un-written process happened that lead me to think about the saying: “Sorry I’m not sorry.” This is a favorite of my friend Megan. She’s pretty much fearless, and this describes her attitude towards life in so many ways. While not rude, she’s always going to be herself, and she’ll never be sorry about showing that. As I started thinking about it, I realized that this saying was really turning around a sympathetic reaction—perfect reflection in regards to the golden tear running down the woman’s face in the photo.
I started off doing what I normally do: I letter. I went through sketches and tracings, and more sketches to work out the lettering for this project. When I got through a couple versions, I realized that it just wasn’t feeling right. The tear is creating a flowing line, almost geometric, and I wanted to bring back in the vintage feeling as well as some gold elements. I decided to create a card that had the saying printed in a bold sans serif, with a gold overlay, in an envelope with some vintage-inspired fabric as the liner. You know, because I have that kind of thing laying around here. Really.
FAIL. This is one of those happy accidents that happens when you get into the thick of creating. When I tried to iron on the gold overlay, it crinkled up the paper, and melted the ink leaving these deep wood-like grooves in the green part of the card. While the gold might have looked pretty neat, I was so intrigued by how this accident created a pattern that flowed with the fabric I was using for the envelope liner. Sometimes, you just need to embrace these kinds of things.
From here, I assembled the final piece and mailed this letter out to my friend Megan, who inspired the saying. While disperate from the original photograph, I think the intentions ring true to how it inspired me. I even added a little bit of gold with the washi tape on the envelope, as well as a note of the script with how I addressed the envelope. With an open-ended project goal, I was more interested in following where the process lead than trying to dictate it based on my initial thoughts. What I learned most importantly from this project was to embrace mistakes, and to practice creating without the fear of failure. When there was no end goal, I was free to have fun and work on a whim, and I was able to send my friend a rad note that will possibly make her day. That kind of makes it all worth-while in my mind.
I hope you enjoyed this first part of the new collaborative project! Hopefully this might inspire you to look into some of your own creative processes a little more closely to learn some valuable lessons about your work, and about yourself. Head on over to Bucket of Squash to see how Rashi was inspired by this photograph, and check in soon for another iterative inspiration in a couple weeks!