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Les Vacances

I've always been fascinated by how different the typography looks in different countries - even walking through the supermarket in foreign countries can be fun for me for that reason!

After watching Martina's fantastic videos, including the side tours through different European font styles, I found myself in a French mood... so as I tried to figure out what word to letter, I looked through old vintage posters and then French cookie packaging design for some inspiration.

Inspiration:

Specific things I took away --

1) the lean of the letters can contribute to a mood, as in "Juan les Pins"

2) serifed capitals can be fun and quirky, not deadly serious, as in "Bayonne" 

3) spacing can create a friendliness and accessibility to the look of words, as in the "beurre nantais" and the cursive writing on the postcard (handwriting of Henri Matisse!)

I decided to try to create a postcard with the words "les vacances", or "vacation" - to express a spirit of fun and freedom.

Initial Sketches ("Les") and Refinement ("Vacances")

I wanted to create some contrast between the 2 words, with the first being more breezy and loose and the second more substantial.

I tried using a thin brush and ink for the "Les" - not calligraphic, but gave me the freedom to achieve a free look in a few different ways.  I played around with using cursive vs. capitals, and varying the size of the L relative to the other letters...

Next steps - I will work on digitizing these initial sketches into vectors.

Step 1: Tracing Vectors from Initial Sketches

This was a good exercise for me to go through, since I'm relatively new to Adobe Illustrator and have so far resisted actually understanding how to use the pen tool... but no choice but to learn here!

I traced my final pencil versions of both words, and then went ahead and colored each word to make it more fun, although I know there's a long road ahead before I'm done.

Step 2: First Pass at Refinements

After making some initial adjustments within Illustrator, I got to a point where I wanted to get some distance and print out before making further edits.  Here's a copy of my notes...

I've kept playing around within Illustrator - although I may print again, it's gotten kind of addictive to keep adjusting the letters, now that I feel more confident about using the pen tool!

Here are a few iterations (L to R, top to bottom) of the letters as I've tried to tweak.  That final "s" in the "vacances" is killing me.

 

Home Stretch!

After spending a bit more time with the shapes of the letters, here's where I am today.  Added a Popsicle to help with the vacation feel (why not?)

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