December 2012

newsletter #9 holiday christmas cards

It’s That Time of Year. . .

. . . when the world sends out reams of paper neatly folded into envelopes
It’s time once again to dread the wonderful world of solstice-time greetings! hanta virus reindeer mouseWe’ve moved from a sepia-toned time when we just expected everyone to celebrate Christmas, to wondering if the Shapiros may actually be Jewish, if Kwanzaa is a weird(er) spelling of Chanukkah, and if we should buy stock in Hallmark.

As a designer, I would be ridiculed and forced to wear an unflattering hat if I bought off-the-shelf cards, so I designed my own for a long time, then started stealing my kids’ art, which I sculpted into something original.

It’s not plagiarism if taken from someone with half your DNA. I made them, they made art, so I vicariously made the art. I suppose I’m vi-curious.

If you’re a business, nothing says you’re for real like sending custom cards, just like nothing says you’re not for real like being transparent and rattling ghostly chains.

Having a logo imprinted on cards you’ve bought is elementary-level being real. Getting the cards built from scratch around your unique theme is graduate level. Frankly, it’s more reality than most of us can handle without mood-altering pharmaceuticals.

For Salt Lake Applied Technology College, a flurry of logos positioned on a winter scene became snowflakes (at right). With Glyphics Communications, I had already created a bunch of stippled illustrations for their different areas of expertise, all following a theme of petroglyphs.

Using that style, I put the ancient dude on a snowmobile because the owner of the company loves snowmobiles.

Fortunately, a snowmobile is capable of looking like a fertility symbol with antlers. In that small space, I was unable to show the vehicle flipping and crushing the rider just before he’s buried in an avalanche, which would have added more excitement but less festivity.

If You Want Holiday Cards, Move Now!

I can design them for you, but there’s a bit of urgency. They’ll need time for design, for printing, for signing, and for stamp-licking. Otherwise, we call them “new year cards.”

How to Steal From Your Children

It used to be that “stealing from your children” meant raiding their college fund so you could upgrade your brand of coffee. But it can be so much more, and so much more gratifying.

Take the card below, illustrated in pieces by my daughter Sahara, when she was very young, and assembled into something that saved my marital holiday butt.

Sahara Christmas card tree dove1. She plays with markers on a wet coffee filter. Seeing potential, father yanks it from the refrigerator.

2. She draws designs on a couple dozen strips of paper. Wow! That’s cooler than what I do!

3. In Photoshop, I use the coffee filter art as background.

4. I take the silhouette of a spruce tree and use that as a mask, laying in the many strips of bright designs.

5. I create a dove in Illustrator, positioning it to land on the tree. It has just crapped on your car.

6. Checked with lawyer to ensure I’m not violating child labor laws.

7. Get digital color prints, write personal notes on a billion of them, and change the chemical composition of my tongue from licking stamps.