OH, THE DESIGN PROCESS. I can't for the life of me figure out how to tell this in an orderly fashion, so I am just going to share tid-bits that strike me as interesting. The whole process was a combination of tid-bits and tweaking and progress here and then a bit of progress there so this actually might be the only way to explain it anyway. It was an adventure for sure.
As mentioned, from day one I knew I wanted this kit to be simple. Something that would "match" itself well, lend itself to plenty of journaling space and not compete with the photos. I was thrilled to have Meredith to work with. She was an llustrator wizard (which was key!) and more importantly, wouldn't be graphically limited (like I would be) by what she could execute. It was important to me that even though I was thinking "SIMPLE. SIMPLE. SIMPLE." in my head that designing and creating anything was possible.
this is a peek at the folded journaling cards. They come with plenty of space for text.
Even though the total kit involves 3x4 cards, 4x6 title cards, 4x6 folded cards, 12x12 patterned paper, an album and monthly dividers, when I think "Project Life", I think 3x4 journaling cards. The small canvases of the 3x4s made the most sense to start with, so that's where it all began for me and then I was able to build out from there.
About a month after I had started on the color scheme, Becky sent a very friendly email asking for "design thoughts." Until this point, my "design thoughts" were messy. I went to bed that night and my mind WHIRLED until about 1:30am when I got out of bed to start sketching ideas. I used the plain backs of other kit cards to create dozens upon dozens of pencil drawings of where I could see this kit going.
Some ideas were obviously scrapped as soon as I saw them in the light of day. Others from those first sketches are in the kit. I was a big fan of simple phrases down the left side of the card and additional short phrases in small circles in the bottom right.
Those were some of the ideas we kept.
Because we were going to be printing all 20 3x4s double sided, I had a lot of flexibility and could play with big "statement" cards in addition to journaling cards. I loved the idea of big circles to correlate with the small circles. I also wanted diagonal text so that made an appearance on various cards.
The patterns, for the most part, came together quickly. I wanted herringbone from the beginning and that became the pattern that would cover the album. I am (obviously) obsessed with diagonal lines, so those were added in plenty. I love a grid, so of course that went in (and later turned it on an angle for the 12x12s). I loved the idea of thick lines for journaling with thinner white lines in between so we did that in mustard (on a 12x12 and 4x6) and in gray (on a 3x4). I loved a big mess of text in black and white so that got put on a 12x12 and a 4x6. Polka dots were added early. Chevron came a bit later and eventually a honeycomb and pinwheel pattern were dropped in as well to round things out.
The label wraps for each of the 4x6 title cards were a no-brainer. I use wrapped labels ALL THE TIME in my current album and wanted to replicate the look. I also wanted where you added the title or date to be standard even though the designs on the 4x6s would be changing so they could feel unified throughout the album. As you can see in the photo above, the backside of each 4x6 card is printed with the same pattern, turned a vertical direction.
Using sans-serif block fonts was also a no-brainer. I know that some folks will be using the digital version of the kit (and I LOVE that!) but many people go with the paper copy which means for the most part, journaling will be hand-written. I have always loved the combination of handwriting and block fonts, so we stuck with two very clean texts.
I wanted to include a few journaling cards that didn't go overboard with text. Sometimes you just need a space for your story, so I added in a bunch of "frame" cards. The back of these cards are printed with the same design sideways, so if you like to use variations of the pocket pages with horizontal 3x4 pockets you are set. The quotation mark cards were just a fun idea for adding quotes you love or things said by friends and family.
And from the beginning, I loved the idea of "prompt" cards. So there is a 5 senses card and a 5 W's card. I love the white font on the color and these two turned out to be some of my favorites.
(ignore the colors above, my printer acted up this day.)
Once things started coming together, it just branched out and out until I had 12 paper designs, 10 4x6 card designs, 8 folded journaling card designs, 40 3x4 cards and 12 monthly dividers. (This was about 500 emails.)
Dividers were last but somehow the easiest. ;) I can't wait to see these in real life.
And then it was a one loooong email proofing session. I printed version after version after version and there was approval after approval after approval (and of course MANY small and big changes along the way). I had the proofing versions hanging on my bulletin board by my desk and would literally roll my chair away and squint to make sure each color was properly represented and then I'd get really close to make sure the designs all made sense together.
When we finally (and it took about five tries) got the final files sent off, I wish I could say I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I thought for sure I had at the time, but really, I finally let that breath out last week when I opened the kit and saw and felt it in real life. There are tiny things I would change (aren't there always?), but overall it has the look and feel that I really hoped to capture.
Insane and gigantic THANK YOUS are in order for Meredith for her hard work, friendship & stellar Illustrator skills. And to Becky for her insight and for really trusting me with something that at the time felt out of the box.
It was a pleasure. I cannot wait until its widely available and I can see so many of you using it! Thanks for letting me share bits of the story here.