Life without Comic Sans

We’ve all been there, when it comes to writing up an essay, creating a poster, organising some party invitations or adding labels to food it’s easy to open up Microsoft word and choose one of the pre-Installed fonts. It always seems like Times New Roman is too formal and Ariel is too boring so it’s easy to opt for comic sans as it’s the most “fun” but in reality comic sans makes me and many others cringe. Back when I was at school I even conducted lots of experiments with word art – thank goodness that hard drive was corrupted! Eventually I studied graphic design at university and I’m a self confessed typography geek.

Comic sans is just too simple and lacks any style. Back in the nineties when there was no other option there was a place for it but now almost thirty years later when it comes to crafting new designs there are hundreds and thousands of options available and you can add flair to your work which will make out stand out from the crowd in the right way. Once you have downloaded and installed a new font it’s just as effortless to use in most desktop software programmes.

Heres some inspiration for projects using fonts from Font Bundles which is a digital design market place. Check out a selection of awesome summer fonts here.

Personalised tee shirts

Using a decorative font such as “let’s go camping” and then adding some colour and texture to the letters you can create a unique style of your own which brightens up any day. This whimsical font featuring caravans and shapes cut in to the letters is ideal for the summer of Staycations. I used a sublimation technique to apply the design to the t shirt.

Nursery decor

When you’re looking for the ideal finishing touches to a nursery or child’s bedroom then adding a print is a great option. I used to trawl through Etsy looking for the perfect prints but now instead I create my own. Here I used “squishy” which gives me mermaid vibes. Again filling the letters with a lilac and pink swirled texture and printing out on to high quality paper before popping it in to a frame for display.

Food and drink labels

When you’re back planning a summer soirée its always a great idea to label the table. I find this saves me time as a host having to repeat myself, you can find editable templates online which can be printed out on to sheets of cardboard and then get creative with your own text. I label drinks which contain alcohol as I often make up cocktail pitchers and mock tails for the kids and then I highlight dishes which are vegetarian or vegan. I’ve used animatic which features in several summer font bundle packages to create this lemonade label design.

Party invitations

Organising a party, planning a theme, an outfit, the food, decorations and the entertainment can be fun and stressful too. It’s important to let your guests know all the details. An RSVP is great to have guests confirm their attendance and this is your one opportunity to let guests know the time/place/dress code and any other important details. It’s too easy these days to send everyone a group chat message or Facebook invite but there’s nothing quite like having an invitation, especially for children and you can incorporate the theme in to your design and use fonts to highlight the most important details. In this example it’s the time and date. I often like to play with using two fonts in design and when you choose a bundle deal there’s always complimenting options to choose from. You can send these digitally or get them printed out – I like to design a 6×4 image and then order print outs from a photo printing app. I like to think that the design would look nice stuck on a fridge or notice board in the kitchens of my guests.

Thank you notes

Continuing with the party theme I love sitting down with Arlo and “writing” thank you notes. Experimenting with colour and curved texts creates a fun and whimsical effect and it’s so much nicer than comic sans. Arlo’s still getting to grips with a pencil even though he likes to get involved his mark making so creating a little template for him with space to add his creative flair is perfect, the art of letter writing is something which I do not want to see disappear even though I am an advocate for digital design. Sometimes doing things the old fashioned way is just as fun. I enjoy stamping and posting out letters just as much as I enjoy using digital fonts.

Bonus Idea – kids resources

I like to craft learning resources and printables for Arlo and this little egg box is his treasure box for scavenger hunts. With a laminated label featuring a simple rainbow graphic and words in one of my favourite fonts, this has lasted us well over a year (even when the original egg box disintegrated).

Create your own sunshine – craft projects with sunflower SVG’s.

Our favourite local sunflower field is due to open very soon at Becketts Farm. I’m so excited to revisit that I wanted to share some creative projects using sunflowers as inspiration with you. Of course the first thing I always get to work on for any special up occasion is a custom tee shirt for Arlo so that he is always dressed for the occasion – this funky “hello little sunshine” tee was designed using Sunflower SVG’s.

This was actually really simple to create, by layering an SVG over a paint swatch texture. This is my signature style as I love the textured effect of the paint behind the black outline of the flower, which creates a great contrast and a unique design. I use editing software to adjust the colours, using a dropper tool to sample colours from photographs of real flowers, then taking another paint swatch shape for the centre flower. I went lighter with this to make sure the flower outline wasn’t lost. Wrapping a quote around the lower edge of image in a script font completed the design. I then used a sublimation printing technique to apply this design to the t shirt.

There’s just something about sunflowers which makes everyone happy, and inspire lots of creative ideas which you can try out at home this summer when crafting or maybe even consider adding to your own small business repertoire as Design Bundles downloads are also licensed for commercial use.

I love getting Arlo involved in creative projects and so this little messy play activity was great fun – we had our sunflowers for observational drawing and decided to use toilet roll tubes squished to form petal shapes and stamped them in paint to create sunflower mandalas together. These sunflowers were grown by us from seed over lockdown in the garden and we’re hoping that we have even more success this year with our plants. I’ve been using SVG’s as printables and using them as colouring in sheets for Arlo, and myself too – colouring in mandalas is so relaxing.

It’s easy to add a little touch of sunshine to craft projects – this layered gift tag is a great way to add a splash of colour, using a simple SVG to cut textured paper, yellow for the petals and then a brown for the circle representing the seeds and simply glue them in to place on a swing tag. I often cut my own swing tags out too using another SVG. Adding a ribbon bow or using raffia can create a rustic look. This is a great first project for the Cricut or Silhouette to try out at home and once you get started you’ll be looking for items you can customise all over.

If you fancy being a little extra (and you know we are all about that in this house) then you can use an SVG to cut out a 3D sunflower with all of its petals. If you have the patience you can resize a sunflower SVG – make them tiny to add as card or tag embellishments or you can go big. Try sizing up the SVG’s to as big as your machine can handle and make a huge flower, adding a splash of colour to your home, maybe a in a nursery, or create your own eye catching decorations. Putting lots of these together can create an eye catching backdrop for a birthday party.

Moon and stars water colour salt painting activity

This week at nursery Arlo has been following the topic of “moon stars and sun” which works with the terms overall themes of “light and dark, hot and cold” – so to support this learning I’ve incorporated some ideas in to activities we can do together at home.

This does require a little bit of planning ahead but not too much,

You will need:

  • Card stock (paper is too flimsy)
  • PVA glue
  • Salt
  • Water colour paints
  • Brushes
  • A jar of water

First things first create your shapes on card in PVA glue – I went free hand but you can find stencils or patterns online to print off or trace just as easily – simple ones are most effective for this kind of activity and you can involve the little ones if you wish.

Then sprinkle salt all over the glue and leave it to dry for a while. I have a separate container of salt to save the excess and use it in messy play trays and Science projects to melt ice etc. I like to create two sheets of paper (at least) and for activities like this I sit beside Arlo and work alongside him demonstrating and encouraging.

Once your glue has dried the image should Take on a 3D shape like this and it’s ready to paint.

Our simple set up included a palette of water colour paints and a jar of water. Arlo loves to mix colours and wanted to jump straight in – but he had to remember the process of dipping the brush in to water and then the colour and then the salt. He quickly learn that the more water he had on his brush the more colour he could mix and the better this spread on the salt.

We really enjoyed making our stars and moons rainbow coloured – and even though we had two projects Arlo took over both…. and we had a little happy accident where Arlo knocked a brush mix air and made splashes across his page – but fear not. I described these as twinkle stars and this became a new painting technique and he added some extra colours to finish his masterpiece.

These will be left to dry overnight and then we’ll put these up on display. I’m not quite sure what else we’ll try with this theme but I’m sure we’ll have a busy weekend and come up with some ideas to share.