The Evolution of ‘isms’

August 3rd, 2015


I have an evolution story for you. An evolution story that involves a bunch of fonts, quotes and factoids. I’m talking about the evolution of “Isms”.

If you’ve read my previous blog posts (which I admit have been few and far between in recent days, months actually, something I’m working on fixing) you’ll remember my “Isms” post. If you don’t remember here’s a reminder…


BANG! There you go. The granddaddy print that started everything. It was a special order Christmas present for a client who wanted to get down on paper all of the special sayings and facts that made her husband… well, her husband.

I had so much fun creating it. There’s nothing I like more than a good font. Fonts, or type, have kind of become my thing. I love to manipulate type into artwork. I actually become giddy when I find a new font (especially if it’s free). And when I come across the perfect combination of fonts… two or three different type styles that work so perfectly together… well there are no words, ironic right? I admit it, I’m a bit of a dork when it comes to typeography.

But “Isms” wasn’t just about the fonts. No matter how perfectly they played off of each other, something was missing. DINGBATS! That’s what was needed! Dingbats are the little picture icons that I sprinkle in amongst all of the carefully selected words and phrases. They add a touch of color and fun and break up all of that black type.

So once I had that basic formula in place that’s when the “evolution” began. You see “Isms” begat “Fact Check”…


which was similar and created for my former boss who was heading out west on a big new adventure. “Fact Check” then begat “The Exchange”…


which was created at the request of a client wanting to give her exchange student “granddaughter” a memento of her time in the United States. I know, I know, you’ve read and seen all of this before but I’m getting to the point. And here it is… “The Exchange” then begat “This Is Your Life” (that one’s a working title I’m debating between “This Is Your Life” and “It’s The Most Remarkable Year of Your Life”, can’t decide which one I like better.)


Anyway, right now I’m going with “This Is Your Life”, which came about when my friend Anne asked me to make a birthday gift for her friend Sara. She sent me a picture of a print she had found on Etsy, or was it Pinterest? I can’t remember but it doesn’t matter. It was one of those prints that lists all of the significant historical events that happened during the year of a person’s birth. I’m sure you’ve all seen that type of thing on a card inside a Hallmark store. The print sample she sent me was a bit of a mess (I know, now I sound like a typographic snob) but it really was. However, it had some really good facts for the year 1975. For example, I had no idea that was the year Bic introduced it’s first disposable razor. How did I not know that? And Space Mountain opened for the first time? How was I not aware of that? I mean I was five-years-old at the time, that kind of news seems like it would have been significant to a five-year-old.

So I started to play around with all of the factoids and did some dingbat searching. But I was still missing a header, or title design for the print. And then I remembered the New Year’s print I had made to fill some of the empty holes left behind by my Christmas decorations…


And there you go (said in the Greek accent of Toula”s father on “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, yes, that movie has been on cable A LOT this summer). And yet another new print was born. But wait, there’s more. By the end of the week “This Is Your Life” begat “Aren’t You Tired? Retire!” (yet another working title)…


This one was made for my sister Kelli’s mother-in-law who after promising to retire in March for the last 10 years finally did. Yay Janet! We started out gathering factoids about what it was like to be a nurse way back when. But since the print was a surprise for Janet we couldn’t verify if she really had to do some of the things we discovered nurses had to do. Wow… again, an education in factoids. Kelli ended up calling her husband and sister-in-law and asking them for “Janet work quotes”. My very favorite ended up being “Oh, I can’t on Friday. I have Dr. Whittles Clinic.” This was said on numerous occasions when her daughter Dianna called asking her to come to Kansas and watch her kids. I don’t know why I find this so funny. I think it’s the Dr. Whittles part. It’s just a funny sounding name I guess.

So again, “There you go.” After a lot of “begatting” that’s where my evolutionary tale ends. Until someone contacts me with another idea for a print. I’m pretty sure I have a few more “begats” left in me.

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