I'm not even sure how to begin this one because I have so many feels about it!
I'm a native Washingtonian that grew up on Whidbey Island during a time where there really wasn't much but trees and the Navy. My mom is Asian and we'd often make trips into the city for "Asian" food supplies long before there was any ethnic markets close by. I distinctly remember my dad driving, my mom singing off key to the current tunes of the early 80's and me peering out of my backseat window and seeing the Space Needle rise up on the horizon as we got closer to the International District.
Every time I saw the Space Needle I'd imagine one of two things - that Seattle was the land of The Jetson's or that Wheedle was sitting atop the Needle. Seattle was a magical land to this small town island girl and the Space Needle was and still is THE landmark of the city.
When you think of city landmarks, you think tourists. When you think of tourists, you think of souvenirs. A lot of times they are cheap little magnets with a glossy photo enclosed in plastic, or something along those lines. When we were approached by the Space Needle people; A.) I don't think I've ever tried to act so cool and collected in my life. B.) They told me that they were interested in adding some new but different products for their gift shop. I think I actually looked around to see if I was the person who that question was being directed at. And C.) When they told me to "just see what I can come up with" and gave us permission to use their image and brand name, I went into full on panic.
Why would the great and awesome Space Needle people ask me and my extremely tiny company to do anything for them? They could ask anyone to do this sort of thing for them, but they asked us. A local mom and pop shop. Whoa.
While we can get down with some elaborate design work, I really felt that we should keep the products we pitched at them simple and functional.
I drew out a simple layout of a small chalkboard with the silhouette of the Space Needle cut out. Lots of usable space for love notes or reminders. I envisioned someone picking one up on New Year's Eve and someone writing a proposal on it. (Hey, I said I had the feels with this one!)
The second thing we pitched was a souvenir magnet. We really wanted it to be unique amongst the others. This was my opportunity to incorporate a small bit of my childhood imagination. The Jetson's shapes and sounds always made me think of the Space Needle. So I sketched out a mid century modern shape and John found an image of the Space Needle that included the architectural underground footings in their image archives that he liked. We selected a font similar to one on their website. Their website by the way, is AWESOME.
We did this as we do all of our original work, we both do crucial parts of the development. I depended on John to help me finalize the shapes I was hoping for. Sometimes I just can't draw the exact thing I had in mind. Also, I am far better at drawing freehand rather than in outlines. I initially spent a lot of time actually drawing the Space Needle in great detail. PAGES of drawings. The our final prototypes were approved on the first submission.
It's an honor to have been asked to do this for the Space Needle. We're continuing to develop more too! Next time you're at the Space Needle look for our work.
Lasers and love -Thea