If you love art as much as you love artichokes, this post is dedicated to you.
Perhaps the biggest challenge in self-teaching design skills is initiating interesting projects for yourself that push you outside your comfort zone. So far, I've been drawn to, well, draw. My visual education up to this point has been entirely in fine arts, not capital D "Design" with all its Helvetica and mid-century minimalism. Thus, I've been training my eye to see the crystalline beauty of simplicity and clever visual problem-solving. The result?
I'm seeing the world in an ENTIRELY new way. And it's incredibly beautiful.
It's also, I realize, far harder to create something simple than it is to create something complicated. It's certainly true in writing, and I see now how true it is for design as well. I love complex pieces of artwork and illustration (Aubrey Beardsley anyone? Can I get an amen?), but I see now that the most important visual element — line — is equally present in design work, whether it's the line of letterforms, shapes, or layout.
I'll admit it: I've been a little reluctant to try my hand at simplicity. What can my lines hide behind if they aren't good enough? But this week, I received a major dose of inspiration that got me over that silly hurdle. And if you're reading this, you're the kind of person who knows that one solid dose of inspiration can set off a chain reaction of goodness.
Saturday night, I unintentionally attended an emo concert here in my small German town, Mainz. The flyer said punk rock! I would have felt sorely mislead, except that the whole touchy-feely emotional extravaganza triggered my idea:
Art Heart. Or art ♥.
It's what I've always written down on grocery lists when I needed to by artichoke hearts.
You know what else it is? Perfect for a t-shirt. The rhyme, the the shape of an artichoke, and the symbol of a heart all add up to a clever little pun that made me very happy. I had to come straight home and sketch!
I came up with a handful of iterations:
But ultimately, the one I like best came to me right as I was about to shut down my computer for the night:
Doubling up on the simple vector illustration emphasizes that one-two punch of "artichoke" and "heart shape," framing the text nicely, almost with a nod to the playing card suite of hearts. The text is in Vincent, a (gird your loins, professionals) free typeface off the internet. (I know, I know. It's a "no no." You pay the licensing rights, and I'll consider alternatives.) To me, Vincent looks like the vintage letterforms you'd see on a football jersey from the 1940s. It gives a "club" feeling to the piece — a sense of identity and belonging.
I hope you enjoy my humble attempt at cheeky simplicity. If you want to join the Art Heart club, stick this image on a shirt and wear it all around! Email me directly and I will be more than happy to send you the file.