#140 Love & Light

140 Love & Light
#140 Love & Light
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Happy Birthday, Diane

 

Amper­Art #140 is inspired by a gift from my friend, a real­ly cool amper­sand sculp­ture that lights up. She signs her name with the words “Love & Light” which gave this piece its title. But tru­ly, Diane is the per­son­i­fi­ca­tion of love & light. The back­ground is also inspired by her, as she is always admir­ing cloud for­ma­tions. I am issu­ing Amper­Art #140 Love & Light on Diane L. Donohue’s 60th Birth­day, August 6, 2019.

Her BIG 6‑OH is a real­ly big deal because Diane was not sup­posed to live past 58. At least that’s what the doc­tors said. More about that lat­er.

60 Smart & Strong

Diane L. Dono­hue is the cre­ator of 60 Smart & Strong, a series of pod­casts & the web­site to inspire women & men who are 60 & bet­ter to live their lives to the fullest…like Diane does.

I met Diane less than a year ago (seems I’ve known her all my life, she’s that kind of soul) at a group of aspir­ing artists & writ­ers where I was offer­ing my ser­vices pro bono which I do a cou­ple times a year. She took me up on my offer to design a logo & a web­site. Here is the orig­i­nal sketch, but before I had the chance to refine it too much, she request­ed that I keep it pret­ty much the same, as she likes things “per­fect­ly imper­fect.” 

 

Her web­site, 60s​mar​tand​strong​.com, is still being devel­oped but it is live if you want to take a look. (Please sub­scribe & you will be the first to see her series of snap­py, inspir­ing videos.) If noth­ing else you will enjoy her list of “Diane-​isms” to enlight­en & bright­en your life.

Here are just a few:

No excus­es = No regrets

Healthy Thoughts = Healthy Actions

Grat­i­tude is a mag­ic wand that turns every­thing you have…into every­thing you want.

Your bat­ter­ies are in your feet.

You’re not sweat­ing, dar­ling; you’re detox­ing!

If you want more ener­gy, eat more ener­gy foods.

I don’t diet, I just don’t buy it.

When life gets mental…you get phys­i­cal!

If it should­n’t be, it would­n’t be.

The C word

Accord­ing to the doc­tors, Diane was not going to live past August, 2018 — one year ago. But you wouldn’t know any­thing is wrong if you met this amaz­ing lady.  Always smil­ing, upbeat, laugh­ing, giv­ing, she bright­ens every space around her — kind of like that amper­sand lamp she gave me! Diane walks her talk, eat­ing healthy & con­stant­ly exer­cis­ing, teach­ing a strength & car­dio class no less, sev­er­al days a week. All while being ful­ly aware she’s liv­ing with stage 4 breast can­cer, dis­cov­ered six years ago. I have nev­er known any­one so full of love & light as Diane. She’s amaz­ing, embrac­ing life to the fullest & accept­ing death as some­thing just meant to be. 

(I refuse to believe she won’t be around anoth­er 10 or 20 years. This world needs peo­ple like her to keep them lov­ing & laugh­ing & smil­ing — and if Diane were to edit this she would add eat­ing right & exer­cis­ing!)

Happy BIG 6‑OH Diane!

Wish­ing you Love & Light for many years to come. 


 Please comment here.


chaz sez

Want more?
Rants & raves most­ly about design, some­times about the uni­verse.

An occa­sion­al bit of use­ful advice.
des​i​monedesign​.com/​c​h​a​z​-​sez

 


Production notes for #140 Love & Light:
Original size: 20x30 inches

Program: Adobe Photoshop
Font: Rockwell

Ampersand: a special gift from a special friend
Credits:
Clouds image: deposit​pho​tos​.com

Note: &” replaces “and” in most or all text, including quotations, headlines & titles.
You may repost the image & article. Please credit Amper​Art​.com.
To download a full-​size high-​resolution 11x17-​inch poster, click on the image.

An excel­lent com­pa­ny, prod­uct or ser­vice needs brand­ing & graph­ic design that is prop­er, per­fect & pro­fes­sion­al.
Please vis­it Des­i­mone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!

#130 Cool & Breezy

#130 Cool & Breezy
 #130 Cool & Breezy
Click image to view full size or download poster for gallery-​quality printing & framing.
This is a high-​resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

National Scarf Day is September 27

Last week I came across the announce­ment that the first annu­al Nation­al Scarf Day is Sep­tem­ber 27, 2018, & one thing fell in place after anoth­er. I had been think­ing about wrap­ping a scarf into an amper­sand for some time, then that announce­ment was the clinch­er — for sev­er­al rea­sons.

First, Nation­al Scarf Day was “offi­cial­ized” by the same orga­ni­za­tion — Nation​al​Day​Cal​en​dar​.com — that I reg­is­tered Nation­al Amper­sand Day with. (That’s Sep­tem­ber 8, & here’s why I chose that date.) Since I did­n’t yet have a theme for Sep­tem­ber’s Amper­Art piece (push­ing it till the last minute again), this was def­i­nite­ly a pos­si­bil­i­ty. I was curi­ous who came up with Nation­al Scarf Day, so I read the arti­cle at Nation­al Day Cal­en­dar. 

Echo logo and Dot the spotted zebra

Lo & behold, Nation­al Scarf Day was found­ed by none oth­er than Echo Design, a high­ly respect­ed mak­er of lux­u­ri­ous, styl­ish scarfs (their orig­i­nal prod­uct, but now they offer gloves, home décor, swim­suits & more). They’ve been in busi­ness 95 years, & here’s the best part: Sep­tem­ber 27 is the anniver­sary of their first day in busi­ness. I love it when there is pro­found mean­ing for some­thing, & the name Echo was­n’t arbi­trary: it’s the acronym of Edgar C. Hyman’s name (just add cO.) To make the day they start­ed their scarf busi­ness even more spe­cial—now this is real­ly pro­found—Sep­tem­ber 27, 1923 is also day they got mar­ried! Read the fas­ci­nat­ing Echo sto­ry here.

Upon vis­it­ing echode​sign​.com, I was cap­ti­vat­ed with all the styl­ish designs & vibrant col­ors in their prod­ucts, as well as the fun & sophis­ti­ca­tion of their web­site. This imme­di­ate­ly inspired my Amper­Art design!

What per­fect tim­ing — the begin­ning of fall, when it will soon be Cool & Breezy; the date of Echo’s anniver­sary; & just about the time I was start­ing to won­der what this mon­th’s theme should be.


Before I con­tin­ue, treat your sens­es to these incred­i­ble designs by Echo. I nev­er knew scarfs could be so flam­boy­ant & artis­tic. I was on their web­site for at least an hour, like a kid in a can­dy store!

Echo Design

 

Hun­dreds more at echode​sign​.com/​s​h​o​p​/​s​c​a​rfs


Scarfs or scarves?

I was intrigued that Echo spells the plur­al “scarfs” rather than the com­mon “scarves.” I did a lit­tle research & dis­cov­ered “scarfs” is an old­er spelling, where­as “scarves” became more pop­u­lar around 1930. My orig­i­nal idea for nam­ing this Amper­Art piece was “Scarfs & Scarves” but then “Cool & Breezy” is much bet­ter, don’t you think?

Here’s a chart from writing​ex​plained​.org show­ing the usage of the two words in the last two cen­turies. “Scarfs” was just bare­ly still the pop­u­lar ver­sion when Echo Scarfs was found­ed in 1923. 
Blue: “scarfs”  Red: “scarves”

Scarfs” sounds classier to me — each scarf is indi­vid­ual, where­as “scarves” sounds like a big pile of close­outs on the dis­count table. I’m glad Echo still spells it “scarfs.” (By the way, do you know which is more pop­u­lar: “gray” or “grey”? You’ll find the answer if you keep read­ing.)

Scarf Queen to the rescue!

Upon dis­cov­er­ing Nation­al Scarf Day, I could­n’t wait to tell my friend Mor­gan Won­der­ly, who is an image expert. She says, “I have had a scarf obses­sion for many years now. I find that they are the per­fect com­ple­ment to any out­fit to add addi­tion­al col­or & style. As an image expert, when I work with my female clients, I always help them acces­sorize with at least a cou­ple of beau­ti­ful scarves in their sig­na­ture col­ors.” She told me her favorite red scarf is an Echo! Mor­gan was indeed excit­ed, & wrote about Nation­al Scarf Day on her blog. 

Simply Feminine, Morgan WonderlyBesides image expert & fab­u­lous makeovers, Mor­gan Won­der­ly is the author of Sim­ply Fem­i­nine — Sur­pris­ing Insights from Men. Ten years’ worth of inter­views with hun­dreds of men pro­vides a fas­ci­nat­ing (and sur­pris­ing) in-​depth study of women’s fem­i­nin­i­ty from a man’s per­spec­tive.

How did the Scarf Queen res­cue me?

After com­plet­ing, pol­ish­ing, for­mat­ting, & upload­ing my Amper­Art piece for this issue, Mor­gan admon­ished me for draw­ing “a piece of string” to rep­re­sent a scarf! (See the orig­i­nal ver­sion below.) So I fired up Pho­to­shop again & added some more threads to the scarf. It does look warmer & cozi­er. Prob­a­bly still not as wide as Mor­gan (or Echo) would like to see, but I had to keep the amper­sand rec­og­niz­able. (Look close­ly — the scarf is made up of “knit­ted” amper­sands as well. I don’t see why this could­n’t be made into a real scarf.) As for the gray vs grey answer, both spellings are more pop­u­lar: gray in Amer­i­ca & grey in the UK. You’re still read­ing!

original skinny design

That skin­ny thing is not a scarf!” says the Scarf Queen


How do you celebrate National Scarf Day?

Wear your favorite scarf, of course! Bet­ter yet, splurge on an irre­sistible new one. Vis­it your local store, or shop right here at Echo and enjoy their enter­tain­ing web­site. Sign up for the Echo newslet­ter & you’ll save 10%. (As my sub­scribers know, I do not get any com­mis­sions nor par­take in affil­i­ate mar­ket­ing. If I like some­thing, I just want to tell the world.)

I’ll leave you with this stun­ning image. It’s the lim­it­ed edi­tion Echo 95th Anniver­sary Scarf, 50 inch­es by 50 inch­es of 100% silk & fin­ished with a machine-​rolled hem. Pur­chase here.

This is good: A per­cent­age of pro­ceeds from the sale of this item go to the Car­ing Kind Ini­tia­tive, help­ing peo­ple with Alzheimer’s Dis­ease get the care & sup­port they need.

 

Enjoy National Scarf Day &
Happy Anniversary, Echo Design Group!

 


Production notes for #130 Cool & Breezy:
Original size: 20x30 inches

Program: Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop
Fonts: Clicker Script (modified), Helvetica (modified)

Ampersand: Helvetica (modified to the point of unrecognizability — that’s what happens when you knit an ampersand)
Credits:
All scarves shown are from the echode​sign​.com website.
Chart: writing​ex​plained​.org
Book: sim​plyfem​i​nine​book​.com (book cover by Desimone Design)
You may repost the image & article. Please credit Amper​Art​.com.
To download a full-​size high-​resolution 11x17-​inch poster, click on the image.

For pro­fes­sion­al graph­ic design, please vis­it Des­i­mone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!

#100 Milestones & Goals

100 Milestones & Goals

 #100 Milestones & Goals
Click image to view full size or download poster for gallery-​quality printing & framing.
This is a high-​resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

We did it! We hit the 100 mark! 

Thanks to you, amper­sand fan & loy­al sub­scriber, Amper­Art #100, Mile­stones & Goals, is the one-​hundredth issue of an Amper­Art poster, for which my goal has been one per month since this project began in June, 2011. 

I have issued, with­out fail, one Amper­Art piece per month (even if it meant stretch­ing the month to the last hour in a remote time zone that had­n’t yet reached mid­night, such as Bak­er Island & How­land Island, tiny out­ly­ing islands of the US).

Until now.

Ironic, isn’t it?

Iron­i­cal­ly, I missed the dead­line on this mile­stone achieve­ment, the one-​hundredth cre­ation of Amper­Art, Mile­stones & Goals. This was to be issued dur­ing April, 2017. It nev­er made it. 

Why? Because I could not come up with an appro­pri­ate title for the theme of “one hun­dred.” Should be easy, right? A big, impor­tant num­ber like that?

On the oth­er hand, I’ve had #101 in the works for months. That one’s easy: black spots all over a white back­ground, allud­ing to one of my favorite movies of all time, espe­cial­ly for the snap­py pencil-​drawn styl­ized effect — and the first to use the Xerox process for ani­ma­tion which gave it that dis­tinc­tive style.

Isn’t 100 supposed to be an important number?

A title for #101 is easy. But #100? I fig­ured there would have been a sur­plus of phras­es, idioms, themes, ideas that allude to the num­ber 100. But Google was prac­ti­cal­ly dry. There’s the 100th Anniver­sary stone, the dia­mond. And the anniver­sary col­or, pur­ple (not my favorite col­or; can’t use that). There are plen­ty of news sto­ries about 100k marathons. But noth­ing all that sig­nif­i­cant about the num­ber 100 itself. I thought & thought & thought, but just could not come up with any­thing. 

April 30, 2017 came & went, and the string of one Amper­Art per month was bro­ken. Fran­ti­cal­ly, I tried to think of oth­er titles to cel­e­brate the 100th issue: Grin & Bear It, Dead­lines & Quo­tas (that would­n’t do — I missed the dead­line), Day Late & Dol­lar Short, Slow & Steady, Con­grat­u­late & Celebrate…on & on. 

Final­ly, I had to rely on the philoso­phies of Live & Let Live as well as Patience & Deter­mi­na­tion; just let it go until I come up with the appro­pri­ate title. I’ll issue two pieces in May.

Finally, a milestone

Yes­ter­day I hit on the word “mile­stone” and real­ized that would make a nice title. Not about the num­ber 100, but about an impor­tant mile­stone. So, what to pair that up with? Mile­stones & Achieve­ments? Mile­stones & Dead­lines? (After all, it was each month­ly dead­line that kept me on track to achieve this mile­stone, even though in the course of most projects & busi­ness teach­ings it’s the mile­stones that lead to meet­ing the dead­line.)

I had Mile­stones & Dead­lines all set to go, when I came across the phrase “goals & mile­stones.” That sounds sweet­er to most peo­ple than “dead­lines.” And it’s real­ly what I am try­ing to accom­plish: my goal is to keep churn­ing out one Amper­Art per month (okay, on aver­age) until I’m dead. So, I guess “dead­line” would be mean­ing­ful after­all, but I chose to rewrite the title as “Mile­stones & Goals.” (Goals & Mile­stones makes more sense, but it sounds weird & looks weird­er.) Final­ly, here’s the April 2017 Amper­Art, #100 Mile­stones & Goals…in May.

Our little secret

I feel defeat­ed about miss­ing the dead­line on such a mile­stone piece, and I hate to be dis­hon­est. So here’s the deal: You, my dear Amper­Fans, are privy to the truth. But between you & me, no one else has to know that I blew it. It’s just eas­i­er to con­tin­ue boast­ing “I’ve issued one edi­tion per month since the very first” than con­fess­ing “I’ve issued one edi­tion per month since the very first except I missed the dead­line for the one-​hundredth which was such a mile­stone piece I feel like a worth­less piece of crap.” Or maybe I’ll just admit I’m human. We’ll see how it goes.

 Please comment here.

Why I love Photoshop

Review­ing sev­er­al pho­tos for Mile­stones & Goals, I was focused on some sort of rock or boulder…until I saw this beau­ti­ful old wood post to which was attached a mod­ern sign, against a gor­geous back­ground. The blue of the sign is my favorite col­or blue, a cross between cyan, cerulean, turquoise & my all-​time favorite, Cray­ola Blue-​Green. So that one got down­loaded (and paid for, by the way). I guess it’s also sig­nif­i­cant that I chose this image to rep­re­sent Mile­stones & Goals, as I used to own a sign com­pa­ny. That busi­ness was a mile­stone to where I am today.

I did­n’t care for the dull­ness of the sign­post, being it was back­lit. Pho­to­shop to the res­cue. Here’s the before & after. I toned down the back­ground blue haze just slight­ly, but real­ly brought up the light on the post & sign:

 
Original photo
After retouching

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You are prob­a­bly crit­i­ciz­ing the lousy “pho­to­shop­ping” on the edges of the sign, right? Quite obvi­ous that it was plas­tered on top of the orig­i­nal image, cor­rect? Well, I thought so too — that the pho­tog­ra­ph­er did a half-​assed job of copy & paste (no, it was­n’t me). Guess what, though — it’s the actu­al pho­to. Upon enlarg­ing (see below) I dis­cov­ered the sign is a piece of sheet met­al to which a decal is past­ed. With the slight bor­der of the met­al show­ing around the decal, it sure does look like a crude retouch­ing job. But no, it’s real. (Click to enlarge.)

Clever one-piece sign

The final deadline.

Now that we’ve achieved this mile­stone of Amper­Art #100, it’s onto #101, #102, and so on, cre­at­ing a new piece each & every month (maybe with a lit­tle time shift­ing here & there) for the rest of my life…the final dead­line.

 Please comment here.


chaz sez ...

Check out the new “chaz sez” blog at Des​i​moneDesign​.com, my com­mer­cial graph­ic design web­site. It’s most­ly about design, typog­ra­phy, print­ing, pub­lish­ing & mar­ket­ing, but on occa­sion I’ll divert to a side­ways top­ic that just can’t escape my rant­i­ng & rav­ing.


Production notes for #100 Milestones & Goals:
Original size: 12x18 inches

Programs: Adobe Photoshop
Fonts: Bank Gothic, Ebrima
Ampersand: Ebrima
Credits:
Kilometer Pole Photo: © Afhunta | Dream​stime​.com (modified by Chaz DeSimone)
You may repost the image. Please credit Amper​Art​.com.
To download a full-​size high-​resolution 11x17-​inch poster, click on the image.

For pro­fes­sion­al graph­ic design, please vis­it Des­i­mone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!