Wednesday, July 24, 2013


You know when you have an idea for a project and it seems like the best idea you've ever had, and you're grinning from ear to ear thinking about how great it's going to be? You just can't stop thinking about it, and the more you think about it, the better it gets? That's how it was when I started this week's design challenge!

Similar to my previous design challenge, I randomly chose something to design and a theme to base it on. This time the item was a business card and the theme was Mary Poppins. Mary Poppins is my favorite Disney movie, and with "Saving Mr. Banks" (a movie about how Walt Disney acquired the rights to Mary Poppins) coming out in December, it seems this challenge has practically perfect timing!

I started out by deciding that, since Mary Poppins is a magical character and pops up to those who need her most whether they know they need her or not, she doesn't need contact information on her card. The only purpose her business card really serves is to make her look official and to be a memento for the families she helps. The card needed to reflect her grace and charm, but be a bit mysterious. I sketched out multiple ideas, including the card being shaped like her handbag, the design including her measuring tape, and even incorporating her very recognizable hat. I think the flowing curved design I went with most accurately portrays her character.

Of course, there are more characters in Mary Poppins than Mary herself, so I made cards for a few of them, too. The famous nanny wouldn't have needed to come to the Banks household if it weren't for Mr. Banks. He's the workaholic banker who finds his life pleasant. He loves his children, but doesn't quite know what's best for them. He's also a muggle, so-to-speak: he lacks the magic that Mary Poppins possesses. His card has all the contact information, and looks very serious. The inward-curved corners and rounded inner area are reminiscent of a bank note (Although I'm not quite sure what the currency would have looked like back then - at the very least it looks like money to modern American eyes). The image of a businessman, down to the bowler hat.

The last card is the simplest, and I'm not quite sure I like it. This one is for Bert the chimney sweep/screever/one man band/kite salesman. In the movie, he simply goes by "Bert", with no surname mentioned. Upon researching the original books, I found out that the Bert in the movie is an amalgamation of multiple characters from the Mary Poppins books, one of whom is named Herbert Alfred, which is possibly where the name Bert came from. I chose only one of his many occupations - since he's a magical character like Mary Poppins, maybe his business card inexplicably changes depending on what he's currently doing! Anyway, the concept was to depict his broom, one of those with a long handle and bristles pointing outward in a circle. It ended up being a really difficult thing to depict. The lines I can make in Adobe Illustrator are very precise and perfect, but I really wanted something that looked hand-drawn. If I had a pen-tablet I could probably have come up with something like what I was picturing, but since I don't own one I had to make do. I also couldn't find a font that evoked what I wanted to. Oh well, this is just practice anyway. Take a look:

There you have it - business cards for fictional characters. Fun stuff. Until next time, remember "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down"!


  1. Good challenge you set for yourself! Practice makes perfect. Keep exercising those design muscles! :)

  2. Hi Zach - when I opened my Zentangle file to begin my tax preparation I found your sweet Thank You card right on top. In case you didn't know, every time I taught a class I showed your youTube as an example of the process. I don't teach any more but I keep in touch. Looks like all is well in your world.

    1. That's so great! All is well - and if you'd like to see what's been going on lately, check out my latest post!

  3. Love them! The idea is so great too.