U and I | A lovey-dovey birthday greeting

Last Friday was my best friend’s birthday. We’ve been dating for about five and half years and this is the first of those years that we’ve spent his birthday very far apart. He’s traveling around the country for a while for work so while he celebrated his birthday all nomad-style in Arkansas, I wished he was closer in Florida.

Sending gifts was going to be complicated and shipping him home for the weekend just wasn’t feasible. Instead I put together a digital birthday greeting to send some love until I can give him his presents when he gets home in about 50 days.

But who’s counting?


The initial idea to use a punny pick-up line for the graphic came from my friend and roommate Andrea, so she gets partial credit here. It’s fitting for this project because A. Ben’s pretty punny himself, and B. the statement is true, I really do wish we were closer geographically speaking. After we perfected the text, I planned on accompanying the line with a drawing. But when I realized the sketch was looking more lame than it was cute, I scrapped it and began experimenting with typefaces and color to create a more vivid image with higher impact and depth.

My process tends to be fairly fluid, which sounds like a good thing but it could go either way. By fluid I mean that I start with a mental visual and proceed to what is normally a very rough sketch or concept. From there I bring it to the screen and begin recreating it in Adobe Illustrator. All of my edits continue digitally as my brain and my eyes start compromising and collaborating in order to bring the final piece to a place that is aesthetically pleasing to both and still representative of the original goal.

This process can be risky because it is very willy-nilly, but I find that my best work comes when I don’t try to cling on too tightly to a preliminary draft. Instead as the design grows, so, too, does my understanding of the concept.

Boring as it may sound, I ended up posting the final piece on Facebook on his birthday. We truly are living in the digital age.

So what about you, can you relate to my frequent reworking of projects until they’re just right? What’s your process like?

P.S. The final image uses one of my favorite, simple serif typefaces – Century. Also, the geometric background is courtesy of Subtle Patterns – Inspiration Geometry.


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