Post Mail Party

The first time I designed a postcard I was finishing up my final graphic design project in college. Our professor had asked us to design a promotional postcard for a place we loved in Michigan. A lot of my classmates chose the cities they had grown up in, or beautiful tourist attractions up north that featured stunning lakes or adorable deer. Not me though, I was all about the food. I chose Clara’s Lansing Station, a train station turned restaurant that to this day features a train car you can eat in. Their menu is about 200 pages long, and has everything from steak to lasagna. Trains and a delicious meal? All aboard!

I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for saying “all aboard” in the previous paragraph. I’m not sure what came over me… Now Clara’s had a lot of personal meaning to me. It had been a go-to for family baptisms and get-togethers growing up. They made you custom omelets at brunch, had unlimited bacon, and gave kids a balloon. What’s better than that? 

"Which one of you a**holes took my balloon?" - young Sam

"Which one of you a**holes took my balloon?" - young Sam

A lot of the final postcards involved photography, which is expected really. You’re trying to set the scene, and show off the beautiful landscape you’re visiting. I went a less traditional route. My illustration skills had a long way to go, but I was crazy about the concept. I knew that I wanted it to be very minimal. So, why not make the train car itself the dining table? At a glance, you knew what made Clara’s different, what made it special.

So flash forward three years…this one is hot of the presses folks. Fortunately, I still love designing postcards. It’s sort of better than a greeting card, because you aren’t concealing the surprise in an envelope. In a way, you’re sending out miniature posters. You have the opportunity to stand out in a pile of bills, credit card offerings, and Arby’s coupons. A discounted beef and cheddar melt is tough competition, so when my college at Michigan State asked me to design a postcard series for them, I was geeked. 

This particular event was inviting parents of students to come tour the campus. The dorms that our college is housed in are stunning, so I chose to illustrate the building. And you can’t leave out the fact that it is still winter in Michigan. I enclosed the building in a dome to hint at a snow globe, and added some snow and texture to give it a bit more depth. I was pretty jolly when Katie sent me a photo she had snapped right after they’d been printed, and I’m excited to continue the rest of the series! 

Samantha NovakComment