This was a really fun project, which I finished earlier this year. It was also one of the most challenging commissions I’ve ever done! The client wanted two companion pieces, one with more masculine lettering, and one with feminine lettering, but she wanted them to match.
I chose a serif font in all caps for the masculine piece, and for some of the words in between the script lettering for the feminine piece. Since the masculine piece was shorter, I could make the letters larger, and I wanted to—those big, serif letters communicate strength, but they also look like they can easily sit next to a lady and behave themselves. The script lettering, on the other hand, is still feminine, but it’s definitely not flimsy and it’s got backup in the form of a drop shadow. They both have horizontal lines and certain decorative elements in common, a rough aged texture, as well as white space and wide margins. Even though my heart is nearer to calligraphy than block lettering, I was surprised to find out that the masculine piece was by far my favorite! I really love the extra white space.
This pair of pieces was a learning experience for me as an artist as well as a business owner. I learned that communication is hard (surprise, surprise), and that I should err on the side of over-communicating. As a result, the piece I have here is not the piece I ultimately gave the client. Though I’m happy with what I gave her, I am happiest with my first draft, which was black and white. We had a miscommunication about the colors, which was largely my fault, so I had to swallow my pride and apologize all over myself. Thankfully, I give all my clients a PDF proof before printing!
I also had to get over this idea I had in my head that I needed to be perfect at everything in order to charge money! Most of the larger, more “professional” companies that I’ve interfaced with have made mistakes—and some of them have not made the mistake better, and sometimes I have not been dealt with in a professional manner. Being perfect is not the same as being professional or offering quality service. If I vow to learn from this mistake and ask really thorough questions in the future, than this experience was worth the embarrassment and the emails back and forth.
It also confirmed to me that I love being a small business, where I can personally communicate with anyone who is buying from me (and apologize if necessary), and ultimately make it so that the client is walking away with something he or she really will really love hanging on their wall.