• Madeleine Allcock

Client case study: Vintage Valentines Cards

Not On The High Street approached No Ordinary Gift for two unique, customisable Valentine's Day cards that would feature on the home page with similar items.

No Ordinary Gift created the first bottle and bird designs in monotone colours. The bottle featured a transparent paper bottle with pull out scroll, dangling from a piece of string. The bird design has a small red envelope with customised plywood postcard inside. However, they felt something was missing from the design, as it lacked a feeling of warmth, and I was asked to tweak the design, starting with the bottle.

At first, I kept the the original design and added warm, modern colours that still evoked a nostalgic vintage feel, adding a border, and problem solved the issue of the card taking too long to manufacture with the rest of the team. We came up with a wooden middle layer, and a fully printed paper bottle on top, with the scroll as a solid strip of paper to pull out. The mechanism now worked better, but the client was still unsure about the illustration.

Using the composition from the original design, the rest slowly became unrecognisable as the illustration cycled through a number of revisions. Concentrating on the bottle itself, I created a digital painting in Procreate, full of detail and magical elements.

Changing the background proved to be a challenge, since the client wasn’t entirely sure what they wanted. I came up with a few designs, including a detailed background to match the bottle (too storybook like) and the chosen hand-lettered design. The client was thrilled with the end result, and asked for the bird card to have a similar feel.

Can you tell I had fun painting the bird? It’s nice to have time to add details like this to a project, and having a multi-disciplinary approach to style really helps when designing a wide variety of cards.

To help give the design more life, I created an outline file for the bird to be laser cut from paper, which is then affixed to the card using small foam stickers for card making, raising the design from the surface.

The bird design printed and assembled, and ready for the customer.

In the end, the client decided to print the bottle design on clear acrylic instead of paper, to give it a more glass-like feel. The label then needed to change to give it more clarity. Material decisions are important, and usually happen early on in prototyping and designing a product, so that the illustration can adapt to the limitations imposed by the material itself; for example, a lot of detail is lost on clear acrylic, and printing requirements can also vary. In this case, the decision to change material happened after the final illustration was accepted and signed off.

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