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Cards & Gifts

Remember when you were young and you used to make presents for your parents in school? A few popsicle sticks, a little dried pasta, some beads and glitter, and a few strands of yarn. Glue it all together and voila!

Although we’ve moved beyond the popsicle stick phase of creativity, I can’t wait for the birthday of a friend or relative or any other reason to make a card or gift for someone. I get to relive my grade school experiences, albeit a bit more professional. It’s a chance to be experimental and explore design and craft. No one telling you to add more “pizazz,” “popage,” or “weird little fetishy things.” Pure design freedom. Perhaps it is the only way that graphic design can “touch someone’s heart” as Sagmeister has said.

Here are my latest creations. Don’t be shy, please share.

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PUBLISHED ON Jun.20.2003 BY Kiran Max Weber
rebecca’s comment is:

I love your stuff Kiran! What are those colored blocks?

I make occasional geegaws for friends. Also, there was a flirtation with extravagant giftwrapping.

On Jun.20.2003 at 03:57 PM
armin’s comment is:

I suck at handiwork, but I did put effort into a gift for my wife. Pics are at home though. And I'm at work. You do the math.

On Jun.20.2003 at 04:03 PM
griff’s comment is:

Cool stuff Kiran, I want more than the pictures, I want to feel the textures and sniff the paper!

Very recently, I finally got around to making a hand made book of some illustrations I had done.

I was surprised, how much fun it was, sorta like doing a class project again.

On Jun.20.2003 at 04:50 PM
griff’s comment is:

oh, i forgot to say that rebecca was instrumental in getting me off my ass and making the book. I actually found her site long ago when google-ing for hand made books.

On Jun.20.2003 at 04:54 PM
Damien’s comment is:

I'm going to cheat and show off my girlfriend's stuff. Whenever we need to send out a card she makes these cut-out cards. They're kind of detailed and integrate some sort of illustration. She's a product designer. One of 'those'.

So I want to show some of her books that she makes. We're doing some stuff together - but its digital - alas.

This is a little box/book with a pebble she picked up when we were in Ireland.

These are three photos of a book, and an additional one of a different book.

The picture size doesn't really do them justice.

And I confess too - that since coming across rebecky's site some time ago - I too put some effort into crafting a micro-book. But I gave that one away. I'm hoping to publish a real book soon - and perhaps commission a cover....

by the way - great work Kiran et al.

On Jun.20.2003 at 06:00 PM
Lea’s comment is:

Kiran, great work, and Damien-- Amazing! Your girlfriend's mucho talented.

I love handmade gifts like these. Back in high school, my friends and I hardly had enough money so we always made each other some type of personal card. Though, I never managed to make anything too "professional" looking. Hahaha.

I don't think it's really uncommon for designers to go and create their gifts as such. My boyfriend designed a poster and a card for me for Valentine's day, and I decorated a wooden box and filled it with some design-y love letters in it. ;) And I did a couple digital illustrations for friends for their birthdays, too.

I think it's best to receive a gift when somebody uses their talents and effort into it.

On Jun.20.2003 at 08:09 PM
Armin’s comment is:

This is a gift I made for my wife on her 25th birthday. I asked her friends and family to fax over their birthday wishes and whatnot. Then I put all those little photo corners on each fax (around 30-35.) Before attaching all the faxes I actually had my wife wire-bound the papers for me (hehehe.) I used recycled paper samples that we get all the time at the office, it made for a great cornucopia of colors and textures. And I got to say cornucopia here, so it's all worth it.


On Jun.21.2003 at 10:18 AM
Patrick’s comment is:

Don't be shy, please share.

Wow, Kiran, et al. Some very beautiful handiwork indeed. On a sillier note, my latest - for a friend's 30th b-day - was a little cheesy. Okay, a lot cheesy. But fun. It also requires a little explanation: My friend is a gay man with a thing for Ewan McGregor. And a huge Star Wars fan. Like wait-in-line-for-three-weeks-to-see-the-new-movies huge. So we got a Billy doll. (If you don't know, he's the first out and proud gay doll. And "anatomically complete", if not exactly, uh, realistically correct.) And we made new clothes and packaging for him, dressing him up as Obi-Wan from the latest movies. Billy as Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi.

You can see it here.

You said don't be shy.

On Jun.21.2003 at 02:49 PM
Adam’s comment is:

Speaking of Sagmeister, we invited him to speak at our commencement this year, so of course we had to send him something he would appreciate as an invitation..

So we (myself and 2 other students) made him a book like the one in "Made you Look", with the last line being "Speak at the Art Academy of Cincinnati's 2003 Commencement", as being something to do before he dies.. Then filled the book with interpretive portraits of all the graduating seniors.. It was pretty craft-ey, and involved screen-prints, photos, lacquer transfers, stickers, staples, typewriter text, etc. etc. to prove to him how much we cared..

Check it out here. Thought it was a good example of a crossover between craft and communication..


(Incidentally, he ended up having prior engagements to be in Austria on the date, but promised to come next year for the same occasion.. Kinda bittersweet for the 3 that made it and are now graduated!)

On Jun.22.2003 at 08:28 PM
Kiran Max Weber’s comment is:

Thank you for the kind words.

Rebecca, they are 4" x 4" boxes painted black, with ink-jet printouts pasted on top. They all have liquid gloss applied. The text is from the Bible. I liked your stuff very much, my favorite is the line about "acid free" paper. Very funny.

I want to feel the textures and sniff the paper!

That's what I love about making cards and gifts. Print in general, there is a sense of accomplishment that I don't seem to get in the digital world. You get to hold it, smell it, carry it around. Your book in particular, the use of the wire mesh gives it even more of a physical dimension, you can get cut!

sorta like doing a class project again.

It does remind of all nighters in college.

Damien, the box is wonderful. Are the corners made of cloth? Very Zen.

I don't think it's really uncommon for designers to go and create their gifts as such.

I agree, look at the stuff M&Co. did for Christmas and such. Sagmeister too.

I asked her friends and family to fax over their birthday wishes and whatnot.

Great idea Armin, gifts with the input of family and friends always seems to work.

Billy as Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi.

I'm glad you weren't shy, that is hilarious. What was his reaction?

"Speak at the Art Academy of Cincinnati's 2003 Commencement"

Very clever. That's cool that he promised to do next year's commencement. Will you attend?

Does any one know of good resources on the web for doing things like this? Other people's projects, binding equipment, paper and envelopes, printing techniques, etc.?

I have a few:







These are kind of interesting too. There is a site that I can't find at the moment where you actually make things and trade them. That might be taking it a bit far, I dunno.



On Jun.23.2003 at 11:04 AM
griff’s comment is:

Damien - How long to cut a book/card like that?!?! Mine would be blood spattered from mistakes with the xacto knife!

Armin - Way cool, i did a similar thing with polaroids presented to my wife during the labor of our first child. The idea was that I wanted all our friends and family in the delivery room!

Patrick - Will those soon be found in Boys - R - Us?, er, i meant Toys.

Adam - I can't believe he didn't cancel all plans after viewing it!

KMW - I am working on building a trading site right now - shhhhhhhh, top secret. I will let you know upon completion!

On Jun.23.2003 at 11:16 AM
Patrick’s comment is:

I'm glad you weren't shy, that is hilarious. What was his reaction?

He loved it. His first reaction was that he thought it was genuine, then realized Lucas would NEVER license the rights to Billy's creators. He then promptly propped him on top of the tv - with pants down - for all to, uh, admire. ('Twas given at a party.)

He did definitely appreciate that it was a personal one-of-a-kind gift. And that it was a group effort (I did packaging, a friend designed the clothes patterns, my wife stitched - from concept to delivery in less than a day).

On Jun.23.2003 at 03:30 PM
Lea’s comment is:

Resources? Do these count?



On Jun.23.2003 at 08:42 PM
priya’s comment is:

oh i love making cards. my most recent was new year cards for 20 friends. simple, printed on laser printer vellum and affixed to decorative paper with vellum tape after sprinkling a bit of star shaped confetti on the paper. then spray mounted the entire thing on petal envelopes.

a set of four cards.

paper souce is my number one source for papers ... i took this great bookmaking class last semester and bought all my decorative paper there. absolutely even more beautiful in person.

(i'm glad i can talk about the beauty of paper here and not sound weird.)

On Jun.26.2003 at 04:34 PM