Before I ever got to this assignment it was a source of worry to me, as the next piece of work to be handed in. Because of this I had already started on it before I had finished other exercises and then I had broken off and now I have come back to it, all other exercises done, deadline set by my tutor for next week. I’m not sure if it is the ideal way to tackle something but everything is a learning curve.

I’ve noticed I have a tendency to jump in with an idea at an early stage and then a tendency to lose sight of the brief. I have an idea already (as usual) so now I am going to go back and read all the notes carefully to make sure I don’t miss something.



The brief is fairly loose, greeting cards, landmarks not catered for.

I like the idea of doing something “clever” with the envelope or card but I’m not sure if my practical skills are up to it.

Just recently I have been to quite a few funerals, various acquaintances have been diagnosed with terminal illnesses etc and having had to buy  “condolences” cards I was struck by the very limited choice. In view of this I thought I might try this subject. I also wondered about cards which couldn’t be sent, thoughts that a person might have but it wouldn’t be socially acceptable to say. I thought of a variety of ideas on this theme.

I decided that I was the client in this case, designing cards that I would like to send but wouldn’t/couldn’t. Cards are usually idealised versions of the world, not reflecting the ambivalence that we all feel.

The keywords are: fun, black humour, ambivalence, juxtaposition.

The “negative keyword” that I wanted to avoid was: unkind.

Primary research

I already have quite a collection of greeting cards that I have picked up over the years so I have looked through these for inspiration of colours and design. I noticed that the “condolences” cards were all very tasteful, muted colours, usually portraying flowers or natural subjects.

I also thought about films that I like that have a mixture of light and dark such as “Sweeny Todd”, “Moulin Rouge”, the “Dexter” series.


Secondary and visual research

I looked into victorian mourning rituals, momenti mori photographs, cards and jewelery. I found myself swinging between macabre, sentimental and morbid emotions, none of which was really how I felt about the cards I wanted to make.

mood board

I constructed this from bits and pieces in my studio and looked through old sketch books for colour and texture ideas. In the end it was more of a “mood pile” as a lot of images were in sketch books. I decided to go with purple, yellow green and yellow orange as the colour range in the cards.


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