It’s Not Just a Card – It’s a Toy!

| March 1, 2011 at 11:30 am
Interactive Valentine's Day Card

This year I created my first handmade Valentine’s Day card. I wanted it to be as not boring as possible, so I made it as toy-like as I could.

All the illustrations were done in Illustrator. It really simplified designing the wheel. The background was done with red watercolor paint. Everything is on card stock.

The card opens and has a “Happy Valentine’s Day” message inside.

I uploaded a video to YouTube so people can see the card at its best: in action. The card is meant to be played with; a stationary photograph doesn’t convey the interactivity.

The wheel is easy to spin but is firm enough to stay in position. It’s not wobbly or loose; it doesn’t move on its own.

I used an eyelet for the wheel. I prefer eyelets to brads for a couple reasons. First off, brads are huge. Second, while their heads are round, the prongs that fasten everything together are flat. Eyelets seem more spin-friendly. Eyelets are also easier to hide and look more professional when they’re visible.

The Emotes for my Valentine's Day Card

There are nine illustrations on the wheel. The heart is the default reciprocal image, followed by hungry, happy, dead, love, quiet/sad, horror/shock, annoyed (aka the dirty look), and Boo.

I tried to make the illustrations silly while still being representational. Well, Boo isn’t really representational; he was just meant to be random.

Because this is a personal project and not for profit or promotional purposes, I traced Boo from an image so that it looks exactly like the one in Super Mario World. I did not draw it, it is not mine, Boo and Super Mario World are copyright © Nintendo.

In order to prevent any of the emotes from being dull or filler-ish, I doodled a bunch of illustrations and whittled them down based on how humorous they are and whether the images could have multiple meanings. Some of the ideas that didn’t make it are spacey/dazed, sleeping, crying, and zombified.

For example, the quiet/sad kitten emote makes a crying emote redundant while also representing pleading and “be quiet”/gagged. The dead kitten emote looks similar to a Voodoo doll. It could also represent sleeping, tired, and zombified.

The Puppy and Kitty on my Valentine's Day Card

Aren’t the puppy and kitty adorable? The puppy was inspired by a similar dog in a recent series of commercials. Do you recognize him?

I like having the cat’s back to the viewer, that way it makes sense when little kitten emotes appear in the speech bubble. It’d be poor presentation to show a static expression on the kitty’s face while showing a changing expression in the speech bubble.

I’m very happy with how the card turned out. I was able to do everything I wanted without having to compromise. It’s cute and fun while still being personal.

The most important thing about the card, though, is that the recipient loves it.

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