Over the past few years, I have tried my best to incorporate my own creativity and style into projects which are usually considered cliché or overdone. Example number one: Holiday Cards.
Every year around the holidays, my family exchanges cards with family and friends which usually creates an equation for bickering over who looks best in what picture, or if we should even send one at all. Last year, I created a card that had a grid of 12 images which made most everyone happy. This year, I thought it would be fun to do something offbeat and more authentic than slapping a bunch of iPhone images on a card.
About two years ago, I purchased a FujiFilm instax mini camera and I have absolutely adored the tactical and instant glorification of images. I thought that incorporating instant images would be a unique way for my entire family to have individual pictures in the form of a holiday card. This way, the textural and film like quality hides any flaws, and allows for a fun and different style. I had my mom, dad, brother, cat, and dog wear a santa hat and hold (or have in the vicinity of them) a blank white canvas. My game plan was to take the picture, and then place the 6 images (myself included) onto a colored or photograph background, with the words "HAPPY HOLIDAYS LOVE, THE THOMSON'S 2015" photoshopped onto the canvases. I even tried implementing a few photos or textures as background images, but none of them seemed to work with the authentic feel I was going for.
One of my best friends, Sarah Hunt, was over one night when I asked her opinion on the cards. Since she is a very do-it-yourself, hands-on kind of designer, she told me to stop forcing these very tactile images into a digital space, and instead go back to square one. She told me to try photographing the images in a themed environment and to handwrite the type directly onto the images, instead of forcing originals into the computer. Sure enough, once I dug up some of last year's holiday frillies, bows, and ribbons, I was on a role.
After (surprisingly) not much of a debate, my family decided on the first set-up, which was the design that included my own handwriting. Moral of the story? Get dirty, go back to basics, and get off your computer. The best designers in history did everything by hand, with no programs to help them out. And sometimes, that kind of authenticity is what can take you from a good idea, to a special finish.
I used Artifact Uprising to print the final card design. I have printed with them before and their image/paper quality along with the ability to customize double-sided cards and print full bleed, makes for beautiful final prints.