Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chinese Zodiac Calendar

Back in the fall of 2008, “Make Something Present” came into being. Two designer friends and I bought 100 jewel cases to be split between us. That year we were all going to make calendars as Christmas presents (and of course give them to each other as well).

So I had to figure out what the topic for my calendar would be, and only one idea popped into my head: Chinese Zodiac. I not only thought it could be a fun theme to work with, but with twelve animals, each month could easily correspond to an animal.

Given the rectangular shape of the jewel case, I decided to put three months per sheet. However, I didn’t want it just to be a desktop calendar; I wanted to have a second option that encouraged people to keep the calendar rather than throwing it out once the year was over. Therefore, I designed it so the calendar could be turned into cards, and the cover sheet could convert into a folder to keep the cards together.

So first I drew all my animals, round and cute. Next, I found a couple of sources about Chinese Zodiac animals, and selected ten adjectives (both positive and negative) to describe each animal’s personality. And I listed their friends and enemies as well (since it’s always good to know who you can trust).

The calendar came together pretty smoothly on the whole, and I managed to finish it before the Christmas deadline. My two designer friends and I met up and did our calendar exchange (and it was fun to see what they came up with). All in all it was a success.

Since then, I’ve tweaked the type and images of this calendar a couple of times. One of the larger changes I made was redrawing the monkey, since the original monkey drawing was definitely more “old man” than “monkey”. Most recently I altered the color to be a bit more bright and happy. Yet, the basic look of the calendar has stayed nearly the same over the years because I’m still pretty satisfied with it overall.

2013's version of this calendar is available for purchase at my Serious Whims shop.

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