On my desk is a pile of postcards at least three inches tall, sent to me and my wife from people all over the world. They are inscribed with sentiments evoking a specific sense of place.
For example: I’ve got one of “The Bean” in Chicago’s Millennium Park, a pink-and-purple sunrise over the wetlands of Hillman Marsh in Ontario, and a bald cypress tree at sunset in Louisiana. There are also many colorful landscapes of the mind: Andy Warhol’s silk screened “Four Monkeys,” classic paintings by Matisse and Chagall and Van Gogh, and a lovely gouache happy face by the late designer Alan Fletcher. Others are postcards purchased from art museums and bookstores or discovered in attics or at flea markets—often telling tales of places that no longer exist, whose history is preserved through these yellowing squares of thick paperboard.
In the following challenge, you’re going to design your very own postcard, but for someone else’s travel observations. Will they recognize the spirit of the place they’d visited from what you create?
Ask a friend to write a paragraph for you from a vacation destination they returned from recently. Take that paragraph and in 60 minutes design a postcard for it that evokes a sense of place from that destination. Then, when the postcard is complete, send it to your friend with the paragraph written on it.
If you want a further challenge, ask for multiple paragraphs from people that you know, then create an accordion-folded postcard book that links the locations through the overall design.
Want more challenges? The first 24 pages of Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills are available free on Scribd.