Category: Projects

Team Groom Discs

It’s no secret I’ve fallen in love with (some my say became obsessed with) disc golf. It was sparked around the time of my bachelor party and all of my groomsmen have also taken up the sport. I knew I wanted to make a special gift for my “team groom” and our shared affinity for disc golf provided the perfect project. I had read a little online about dying discs so I came up with a design and set out to create custom putters for the guys.

As my friends would say, “Nuttin’ but chains!”

This project seemed really simple when I was planning but there were a lot of hurdles to overcome. The design was easy. I came up with a simple vector drawing of a bow-tie (which were a staple of our wedding wardrobes) and then put the text “TEAM GROOM” and “#JONESWED” underneath. We had referred to ourselves as Team Groom and #joneswed was the official hashtag of our wedding.

The design was the easy part, getting it from the computer to the discs was where things started getting interesting. I thought cut vinyl could be applied to the discs fairly easily so I set out to it cut. First I tried using a friend’s Cricut cutter. Apparently the software “hack” that let you cut custom designs had been updated and lost support for Cricut machines after a lawsuit. I tried to no avail to find an older version that would work but I was left without my vinyl. At this point time was running out of time so I found some local sign shops and finally got my vinyl.

My original plan was going to just stick the vinyl on the discs but after doing some research into dying, it seemed I could use the vinyl to create a unique design with the dye. This technique allowed the discs to dye the area around the vinyl, then when it was later removed the original disc color would show through. I liked the idea of a smooth surface on the disc so it didn’t disrupt the flight pattern. I found some Rit dye in a color I liked and went home to start dying.

The disc prep included using acetone to remove the labels. My first attempts seemed tougher than the videos I had seen on youtube. I kept at it and then stuck vinyl on my first disc. I dunked it in the dye and it didn’t seem to be taking. I added more dye, left it in longer, but it still wasn’t really working. Turns out, I had bought the wrong type of plastic discs… I went back out and bought a new set of discs, this time in the Innova Star plastic, which upon further research, appeared to be the best type of plastic for dying.

Applying the vinyl to the blank disc

Applying the vinyl to the blank disc

Star plastic was much easier to remove the labels with acetone and lucky for me, took much better to the dye. The dye seemed to turn out more of a dark purple than the bright blue advertised on the box but they still made the custom look a success.

disc in the dye pan

Here is the disc face down in the dye. It’s important to keep the dye warm but not too hot or you can melt the plastic of the disc.

dyed disc with vinyl still on

Here is a disc after it’s been dyed with the vinyl still applied

peeling the vinyl off of the dyed disc

After the dying process and a quick rinse, you can remove the vinyl from the disc

pile of custom team groom discs

the final products

I topped off the gift bags with a custom Team Groom water bottle using the same design. Those were an easier task, which just consisted of the application of vinyl to the bottles. Overall I’m very happy with how they turned out and can’t wait to try another dye job. I think I’ve learned a lot about the process (and which discs to choose, definitely the Innova Star plastic!) and the next time should go much smoother. Have you done any custom dying? Share a link or some pro tips in the comments.

Little Miss Phone Wallpapers

Way back when my fiancé got her first smartphone I created a custom background wallpaper for her. It was an original Motorola Droid and she had a pink case on it. I created “Little Miss Droid” which was inspired by the Little Miss and Mr. Men books.

When it came time to power down her Droid for the last time and move to her brand-spanking-new iPhone, she was a little sad to see Little Miss Droid leave her life. She named her iPhone “Little Miss iPhone” and I knew she would love it if I made a new wallpaper for her. I finally finished it this past weekend and I’m really happy with how it turned out. There isn’t a “Mr. iPhone” for myself yet, but that is definitely on my to-do list.

Little Miss wallpapers on the phones

 

Designing a Wedding Part 2

If you haven’t seen Designing a Wedding Part 1, I went over how we got started with our invitations. After that design hurdle was jumped, we moved on to our website. Wedding websites are all over the place these days and there are plenty of free templates to get you started. Because we already established a very unique look (compared to a traditional wedding at least) we opted to design our site from the ground up.

abbyandchristopher.com homepage

We started with a splash or welcome page. It very closely resembles our invitation design but with more simplified information. We added our links to bottom to allow our visitors to get to the more specific information they’re looking for.

Our Story webpage

We tried to keep it simple and had only five links. We did one for our story which gives a little background on how we met and how our relationship developed. There’s a page for the locations of our venues with convenient links to maps and directions on how to get there. An accommodation section lists nearby hotels. We decided that an online RSVP form would be more convenient for guests and us (a win-win you might say). The back-end of that is powered by Google Forms. I was able to completely customize the look, which I discussed in this earlier post. Finally, we added a page with links to our gift registries.

locations page of our wedding website

The “secondary” pages all have the same design. They use the top from our invitations and homepage and turn it into a unifying header. The links turn into a simple menu to the left to allow visitors to navigate from page to page very easily.

The whole design is very simple and compliments our invitations very nicely. The invitation directs recipients to the site so we thought it was important to give a unified experience. While it’s not massive or even very complicated, I think it turned out to be a nice little site with all the relevant information easily accessible.

We haven’t made it this far but I do hope to incorporate the designs into our program and thank you notes. As those progress I’ll throw up another post about them. I always think it’s fun to see a whole design package and how all the pieces fit together and this particular project has been extra special for me. I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at our wedding design process.

Designing a Wedding Part 1

As previously mentioned, I’ll be getting married this June. My fiance and I are both graphic designers, so it was only natural for us to design an identity for our wedding. Any designer will tell you designing for yourself is harder than for any client. As you can imagine, having two designers design for themselves is even worse. It took us quite a while to turn our visions into reality but we eventually managed.

Close up of wedding invitations

It started with invitations. We knew we wanted something different. Something a lot less traditional and a lot more “us.” I think we definitely accomplished it. We opted for a single card design done in letterpress. You can see a bit of the actual printing process in my earlier post about the press check. I’m really happy with how they look. The colors, the texture and even the bright orange envelopes all look great together. You can see more pictures below.

stacks of envelopes and wedding invitations

In part two I’ll go into how we translated our invitation designs into a wedding website.

Letterpress Wedding Invitation Press Check

Last night Abby and I had the pleasure of doing a press check on our wedding invitations. We are having them printed at Ginger Tree Press which is a one person letterpress & design studio in Kalamazoo. It’s actually owned and operated by our friend Anna who went through the same design program as us in college. I’ve always loved letterpress and when the opportunity to do our wedding invites that way presented itself, we couldn’t say no. It’s always nice to keep things local and because we knew Anna, she invited us for a press check. After checking the color and such, we stuck around to watch some of the printing. It was extremely exciting for a couple of design nerds like us. Anna really knows her stuff so if you’re looking for letterpress, definitely check out Ginger Tree Press.

I love just about everything about letterpress. I love the look of it. I love the texture. I love how it feels in your hand. There’s something very pleasing about it. I think it’s extra special. Maybe because I know what went into it behind the scenes, but I just can’t get enough of it.

Below I have a few photos and videos of our sneak peek at the invitations. They are looking really great and I can’t wait to see the final product all trimmed out with the second color in place. I’ll be sure to post them when they’re ready.

 

 

Venn Diagram Generator

I’ve always been a huge fan of Venn diagrams. They’re a wonderful way to express so many different types of ideas and with such simplicity. For a few years now I’ve been running a fairly popular Venn Diagram Tumblr and this past fall I started a pet project for an online Venn Diagram Generator. I wrote it with HTML5 and a little JavaScript. I spent just a few days on it before getting side tracked with other things. It started as a very simple web app and I kept adding features and released a few versions. It’s currently in a “beta” release and could use a little more work. To be honest I kind of forgot about it but I think I’m going to revisit it soon. Feel free to leave any suggestions or feedback in the comments and I’ll post about it again as it progresses.

venn diagram describing my venn diagram generator