North Dakota prints are hot off the letterpress, and you know what that means — the entire state print collection is finally done!
The states print project started more than 5 years ago. Before I moved back home to Missouri, when I worked as a news graphics designer at the CBS affiliate in Nashville, TN. Every morning, I went to the morning news meeting to hear the day’s headlines and to get an idea of what maps, mugshots, or info graphics might need to be made to illustrate that day’s news. I was mostly a casual observer of these meetings, so I often started doodling in my work’s sketchbook. I drew this shape of the state of Tennessee without any agenda. I often made maps of individual Tennessee counties for the evening’s news. (As a useless knowledge by-product, I can now name all 95 Tennessee counties.) Only a year or so later, when scouring the sketchbooks for ideas for my new letterpress, did the idea to marry the words to the beloved “Rocky Top” and this little shape come to mind.
I remember showing the Tennessee print to Carrie, who said jokingly “Are you going to do all 50?” I responded flippantly: of COURSE not. That is crazy. Four years later, I have drawn all 50 states. Sometimes more than once, as I usually change the lettering or colors or drawing just a bit when we sell out of an edition.
For me the most fun part of the project is coming up with the sayings. Specifically, all the memories I have of sitting in coffee shops, in airports, and in the car on road-trips with some of my favorite people and laughing and brainstorming the wordings. I have heartily laughed about Wisconsin’s phrase, agonized over California being too “Northern California,” and thoroughly enjoyed getting feedback from all of you on the more obscure states and sayings. It has been a truly shared effort, and that has been the real reward. Well, seeing it printed in Southern Living magazine was pretty great, too.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed insider info on specific states, purchased the prints for their homes or their loved ones, and for sharing the love all around. The state series has been with us from the very beginning…since before our first calendar, before we worked in our “dream barn,” before we could even quit our jobs to pursue our dreams full time. It feels great to have completed this huge project, but it feels even better to know that we did it together! Now, I guess I need to work on the District of Columbia. Guam, anyone?
P.S. Care to see the VERY old blog post with the very first Tennessee sketch?