Saturday, November 26, 2016

Good Things Take Time

*Disclosure: As part of an affiliate program, I make a small commission on purchases made through various links posted on this site.*

Earlier this month I was excited to announce that my Bright Starburst design made the cut for Minted's 2016 letterpress holiday card assortment. And it was just announced that it won the best Faux Full Bleed award! Now that my Bright Starburst design is available for sale, I thought it would be fun to look back at where this design began :)

Over a year ago I came up with the idea of a graphic starburst to highlight a holiday greeting and I remember at the time how proud I was of the design. I learned how to create a uniform starburst shape and played around with the lettering. But it didn't make the cut and frankly rated poorly.

In spite of that, I persisted with the design in the following holiday challenge. I knew my concept was solid and with some distance from the design, I could see that it needed far more refinement than I initially thought. I saw that the starburst rays were messy around the lettering and looked like it was hiding behind the lettering rather than shining as intended. Also, the greeting on top wasn't feeling balanced with the word "bright" and the starburst design. I worked on expanding the rays out further & changed to a different script style type with more curvy flourishes to balance out the harsh lines in the starburst. Again, I was feeling great about my design and was *sure* it would make the cut.
Unfortunately it did not and again I was devastated! How could I put in so much effort and not get anywhere?? I thought. But again, I believed in my concept and was determined to get a win out of it! Looking back I can now see the awkwardness of the starburst rays competing with the harsh edge of the dark photo.

When the letterpress challenge came around, I was immediately inspired by the faux full-bleed award in the challenge brief and felt even more confident in my concept than when this first started. (Full bleed photo means the photo is printed to all the edges but here it is an illusion of that effect with a white gradient to fade into the background behind the letterpress element). I obviously had that effect going on in the first iteration, but the actual design still needed more work. The photo I ended up using had the most perfect subtle burst of sunshine in the background to complement my design. I also changed the top greeting to a condensed serif so it would compete even less with the rest of the design and I lightened up the starburst rays to give the word "bright" even more pop.

As a self-taught designer, all those little incremental changes took time for me to see but at last it worked out and I learned so much more. There were definitely times when I questioned if I should take the second loss as a clue to just move on to something else but my heart was set on seeing this on Minted so I trusted my gut.

If the process has taught me anything, it's that I can't grow complacent in my work, I need to keep pushing myself, and that sometimes good things just take a bit more time. It also taught me how much manual work it can take to make something look random! If you'd like to see the rest of the pieces that I designed to match this card, click on through. There's a matching envelope liner & free recipient address printing! Even a matching postage stamp! And more starbursts! (Hint: all those little dashes & lines in all the starbursts you see were hand-drawn & placed by me.)

I hope everyone had a happy thanksgiving! On the holiday and outside of the holiday I am always always grateful for my family and friends who continue to support my creative endeavors, including the culinary ones that don't quite turn out ;) Thank you.

PS: Get 20% off holiday card, gift, and art orders over $150 or 15% off any order with code BF2016 until Sunday, November 27 at 11:59 PM PT! 

If you don't have your photo ready, just go through the personalization steps and at the end when they give you an overview of your customized card, click on "Buy no, personalize later." (example below)
This way you can take advantage of the sale price but you don't have to finalize anything until you're ready :)

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