Assignment Two: Thinking of You

Another assignment I really enjoyed, spending a lot of time considering themes, formats, subjects, and presentation. Having moved home and my wife celebrating a success we’ve had more than a few cards, which proved invaluable regarding suitable sizes, how they’re formatted regarding the commercial aspects and the most suitable font to use. Like most cards, when folded appear to be A5 size, the C5 envelop would accompany these.

The brief was succinct and gave me a huge amount of food for thought. After much thought, rumination and caffeine consumption I sketched out my initial thoughts in my notebook and settled on four areas:

  • The new car
  • Cheeky Bear
  • Literary reference
  • Children’s Friendship Card

Admittedly some developed into other themes as I worked my way through the project but the final themes were:

  • The new car – Volvo
  • Cheeky Bear – Goes Camping
  • Literary reference -1984
  • Children’s Friendship Card – Faerie Friends

Each design was pretty straightforward as I’m not quite yet technically proficient in creating pop-up cards, though this is now on my ever-growing list of stuff to learn. Isolating the key words was straight forward enough and allowed me to home in and develop a theme. For example, the new car image was going to settle on a BMW, focusing on the indicator with a sarcastic comment involving indicators inside.

However, I felt that it came across as passive/aggressive and detracted from the fun element of the project. I do, however own a Volvo estate, the acknowledged safe king of the road. The rear windows are blacked out so I can post-process stills on-site when out and about and not have to worry about sun glare.

Another upside was the daughter comment that the Volvo looked ‘Gangsta’ (is this even a thing?). So using my life experiences of language I recall ‘Safe’ was a term used, to sum up so many things, and it seemed somehow Street to my friends and me as adolescents in rural Nottinghamshire.

So nipping out one morning I saw the car had dew on the bonnet and in a flash of inspiration wrote Safe on the bonnet. The dual meaning in context worked for me, and I hope others. Post-processing in black and white added an element of drama to my noble V40, that it otherwise lacks.

For the inside message, I wanted a font as close to that used by Volvo as possible and found that Erbaum designed by Mariya Pigoulevskaya, on Adobe Fonts fitted the bill nicely.

As with all the cards I used Affinity Publisher to set out the format and import visuals and text.

A quick cheeky message and that’s the greeting. However, the back seemed empty and I wanted to include as many pertinent details as possible. I placed the printers logo created for the Exercise Book Cover Design at the centre of the rear outer side. With this, I added a recycle logo, a barcode, and some other information. This then replicated the rear of most cards I’d seen.

 As I moved through my ideas, I wanted to experiment with different visual communication techniques as well as take the opportunity to expand my working practice and knowledge. For the Cheeky Bear card, I felt CGI was definitely the way ahead and after a quick draft I set to on Affinity Designer. The idea of this card was a bit of cheeky one to celebrate the recipients first time at a naturist camp. The one thing that came from this process was to spend more time on my storyboarding. Especially in adding a little more detail in the planning phase.

The font I chose for this card was Acier BAT, designed by Jean-Baptiste Levée and accessed through Adobe. I enlarged the word Bear to deliberately emphasise the event as well as using the Homophone element of the word as a playful gesture.

Keeping the theme light I then started with the Faerie Friends. I envisaged this as a card aimed at children under 10 years, designed for a specific celebration day Faerie Friends Day. In this instance, I wanted to use photography as I wanted to be able to utilise some of Photoshops more generic effects.

Deciding on blurring helped to visually focus on the characters, especially their inferred friendship, and that friendship makes no difference between who the parties are or where they come from. The two props came from my ever-expanding prop box and were chosen for their gentle poses and nature. The Fairy not only for the obvious reason, but also the blissful nature of her expression, while the Dormouse was chosen for her gentile and cozy appearance. The garden setting added to the overall natural feel.

Sadly Adobe didn’t have a suitable font, but after a quick search, I settled on Beyond Wonderland by Chris Hansen. It has that air of magic to it that I sought, and after a quick re-colour it made the inner greeting more suitable. The corner rose scrolling was chosen as it added an extra element of both colour and inferred garden magic to the card. These were sourced online, however, I’m now looking to bolster my own portfolio by creating some floral borders myself.

The final card was an opportunity for me to put pencil to paper and create a card that celebrated something topical. Big Brother of 1984 fame. Here the character was deliberately drawn as my intention was to overlay the final picture onto a mock-up of the important question of what does 2+2 equal? I struggled to find a suitable font so simply added the type onto 80% grey back and then went over it lightly with a speckled eraser tool to give it the look of chalk. This would form the background of the picture onto which I would lay my image of Big Brother.

As there is no real description of Big Brother, and his visage would be seen in differing ways by differing people I went for a benevolent look. I sketched out the face before scanning it and going over the lines in Affinity Designer. From there I added skin and hair tones and details, such as the tie pin, that would add to an otherwise flat image.

Once completed I sourced the correct terminology, choosing the date the Orwell novel opens as Big Brother Day and using Mattox Shule’s Abolition Type as the most suitable for my needs, re-colouring yet again.

With this card I also changed the aspect from landscape to portrait as it not only suited the portrait of Big Brother but, in keeping with the dystopian world of 1984 was more efficient in terms of space it would take to display.

Overall this was a great experience and an opportunity to expand my knowledge with DTP as well as Type and how it worked. Still, lots more to learn and this Assignment has definitely given me plenty to contemplate.

Resources Used

Volvo Font. Available at:

Beyond Wonderland Font by Chris Hansen. Available at:

Rose Corner scroll. Available at:

Barcode Generator. Available at:

Recycle symbol. Available at:

Newspeak resource Available at:

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