Birthday List

“For this exercise you are going to make up a poster list for yourself…Start by collecting all the birthdays of your friends and family. You’ll need their name and
birth date, to decide whether or not you buy them presents or just send a card, text
message or email. When you have all this design a chart to include all this information”

I am already a bit stumped for ideas with this one, as the example we were given is already a great solution, so I’m really not sure how to put my own stamp on this.

I think with the infographic exercise and this one, its more a case of learning what not to do, as by the end I wanted to re-do everything I had worked on! hopefully i’ve learnt from my mistakes…

Here’s some very pared down charts from one of my silver smithing books, which shows you can be very clear and minimalist..but its also not at all decorative!

image image image

Obviously , I’m aiming for something both clear and pretty!

First step, was some paper roughs. I felt the best solution is to have two rows of six, with a simple key for text, card and present. I’m afraid I had fun making up fictional family and friends who mysteriously all have first names that correspond with the first letter of the month they were “born” under. (With apologies to my real family and friends!!!)


On roughing this out, I decided I would make the key both letters and colours, as remembering colours alone seems a bit tricky. I’m fairly happy with this layout, but I went a bit left field for a moment and considered venn diagrams. There would be a diagram for each month, with the same colour each each time, and the names written in the the relevant portion.  Its different, but not all that practical, probably more decorative than useful I think.


Next I got going in Illustrator and began working up some charts, based on my first idea. I think the horizontal boxes are confusing here, as your eye doesn’t  have enough to hold onto.

chart 9


Here I’ve broken up the boxes to help distinguish between months. I feel these work a bit better, as the months are really standing out more clearly.

chart 4

Its hard to make everything look neat, because of the little boxes . They have letters inside them, wether I line up the box, or the letter inside it doesn’t quite work with the other text? Also, I think my dates look untidy because I was trying to align the gap between the date and the name, which means I’ve mixed left and right alignment.

Despite Illustrator having very good align tools, I still found this pretty fiddily!

chart 4

I can’t decide if the pink blocks behind look a little busy, I was experimenting here with creating a bit of depth. I’m also aware these are very girly colours and the green and purple of the key blocks are so small they don’t show up much.

chart 4

This has made me think about hierarchy a lot… I can see that this is a work in progress and I have plenty more to learn. I planned this on an A3 sized art board, so the text is a reasonable  point size, but on screen the names and dates look rather small and cramped.

I’m not that happy with what I’ve done here its harder than it looks! It still looks a bit untidy to me, but I will update the post if I have any further ideas!



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