"I've had an idea!"

Posted by Susan Robertson on

"I've had an idea" - 4 short words that make my husband groan as he doesn't know what I'll come out with next!

If you've read some of the earlier posts you will already know that Roy is the creative powerhouse in this business. Despite trying to get my head around all the creative and graphic design programmes we have I just can't seem to get grips with them 

Years ago I did 2 terms at nightschool trying to master Photoshop and although I understand what it is capable of creating, making it do what it should be doing is a whole different ball game!

Saddlemount Card ideas

So when Roy hears me say "I've had an idea" his heart sinks because he knows he will have to find a way of making that idea become a design reality.

Sometimes he just says "please stop thinking!" but my mind is constantly whirring with endless possibilities - he maintains that's not normal but I just tell him it's my normal!!

So how do we create all our cards?

Once I've come up with an idea I usually explain what I'm envisaging to which Roy's initial reply is often "No, that's naff" or "no that won't work".  However together we usually take the idea and then Roy puts his own spin on it.

Now I think I should tell you at this point Roy does have an advantage over us mere mortals when starting to create a design - he is a Synesthete!

Saddlemount Cards numbers

"What the heck is that?" I hear you say - well before I met him I wasn't sure either. A "Synesthete" has a neurological condition called "Synesthesia".

This can manifest itself in many ways but in Roy's case he sees the world in numbers and colours, so although this can sometimes cause him confusion in every day life (ie he does not drive), in the world of design it's like he's won the Gold medal.

Sometimes when he's working on a design I'll look over his shoulder and comment how nice it's looking and he'll say he's not done yet as to his eyes it's not right, but to my eyes the design looks perfect. Of course when I see his final version it is always spot on!

Just as often as I say "I've had an idea" to him he shouts down to me ( our print room is down stairs and the design room is upstairs) "What do you think of this one?". Roy loves his Gothic designs and when I go to look he'll have created something, which in most cases I love, but just occasionally we agree to disgaree on a design.

Often the hardest part of creating a new card is deciding on whether the design needs some wording on it, or whether it should be left without, and if it is to have wording what should that be.

The majority of our cards do have a short message on the front, obviously "Happy Birthday" is straight forward but coming up with something more original can often take us awhile.

coffee break saddlemount cards

We often sit looking at a new design on the screen and then bounce the wording back and forward between us.

 If we're really stuck on something or we have differing ideas of what it should say, a nice cup of coffee ( or green tea in my case) always seems to help us reach a conclusion.

And just in case you're wondering whether Roy uses Photoshop to create his designs, the answer is "no". He uses Affinity Designer combined with a number of other paid and free apps when required.

So that in a nutshell is our design process and how we come with new ideas - it may not be suitable for everyone to work this way but it works for us!

Sue Robertson 

28th July 2021














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