In February, I had the pleasure of meeting Tristan of The Bright Side Project and of Blah, Blah, Blahg. She is simply lovely, and so is her work. In her Etsy store, I found some cards that she made particularly inspiring. I love her use of old illustrations and scripty fonts, and decided to use her work as inspiration to make myself a desktop wallpaper calendar.
For this recipe, you'll need:
- A script font. I chose Bickham Pro, but you can use a free (watered down) version of this font called Beautiful, available for download through fontsquirrel.com. (Bickham has glyphs, which are letter alternates. That's how I am able to get the big nice B you see there above, or the big M and swooshy y in my design.)
- A sans serif font. I chose Quicksand, also available at fontsquirrel.com.
- An old or scientific illustration. I own copies of several Dover Publications books that have rights-free images to use, and they're great! Many of them are collections of images that are simply in the public domain. Some are collections of images that their own designers have made. Every week, they also email a link to free samples to their email list. I'm on this list, so I get free stuff every week. Some of it I will never use, but a lot of it is fun. You can sign up here.
- A simple color palette. For mine, I used yellow, turquoise, and gray, a color combo that I simply can't get over lately. I try to design using other colors, but when I'm doing something for myself, I always come back to these.
- Swashy swirls. (For mine, I used swirls that came with one of my fonts, Adios.)
Collect and download your ingredients. Feel free to change things up according to your own taste. (You may, for example, not want a rodent on your desktop.) I used Illustrator to prepare my desktop, since it's the program I use for almost everything. Use the program that you feel most comfortable with.
Open a document that is the size of your desktop. (I looked up the size of my desktop in my system preferences.) Compile your ingredients into the same document. I was able to color my mice because I performed a live trace on the original image (this turns a raster image into a vector image, meaning that I can scale it as big as I like, and change the color with the click of a button!).
Arrange the elements in a way that is pleasing to you. I chose the script for my month name, and then I made a calendar using Quicksand. (To make the calendar, I relied on tabs so that all my numbers were evenly spaced. I didn't include the days of the week, because I don't need them for myself, but you might consider adding them.)
Assign colors to your elements. I chose a very light gray (5% black) for my swooshes so that they're not too distracting.
Above is the image that I used for my own desktop. (You can click this to access the full-sized version and download it to use it for yourself! This is a calendar for May 2010.)
And here is what it looks like on my own desktop. Which I artificially cleaned up to make it look better for you.
Have fun working on your own desktop!