New Work | Magic Memories Project Life® Cards

I've been keeping a secret of over a month now and I'm so excited that I can finally share what I spent most of April working on: a Disney vacation inspired card set for Becky Higgins Project Life®!!

Magic Memories Project Life Cards | Designed by Shannon McNab

When Becky's team got in touch with me in March with the idea, I could not say "YES" fast enough! I've been a Disney fan all my life, so it was a privilege to be able to design for something I love. 

I was also acutely and almost painfully aware of how passionate Disney fans (myself included) are about details. So although I put a lot of extra pressure on myself to deliver something that both Disney fans and the scrapbooking community could love, I can't deny that this was one of the most enjoyable projects I've ever had the pleasure to work on!

That's why I thought it would be fun to share a behind the scenes look at how the Magic Memories Project Life® cards came to life.
 

Hunting for Disney Inspiration

Becky's team let me decide what direction we should take for the Disney inspired cards, and so I knew I wanted the collection to be modern, bright and cheerful, while giving a slight nod to the vintage nostalgia that is so familiar and welcoming at the Disney parks.

Disney Inspiration Pinterest board for Magic Memories Project Life cards | shannonmcnab.com

I was particularly drawn to vintage Disneyland packaging, retro looking icons, hand-drawn patterns, marquee style typography, and high contrast color palettes. And if I felt stuck at any point in my sketching process (see below), I either went to my own public Disney Pinterest board or simply searched Pinterest for some more vintage inspiration.
 

Sketching My Heart Out . . . and then Sketching Some More

I usually sketch anywhere from 2-10 pages in my sketchbook for any given collection. So when I started sketching out my list of ideas for Magic Memories, I thought I would only be filling about 10-15 pages and that would give me plenty to work with. In reality, it took almost 25 pages for me to work out enough of my ideas for the initial development stage (see a small sampling of them below). The funny part is even now that it's complete, I still have ideas that I never got to!

Sketchbook for Magic Memories Project Life cards | shannonmcnab.com

I'm very thankful that my schedule was wide open and I could devote three entire days to sketching. It was easily the most time consuming part of the process, but it allowed me the time to really work out all the little design details that I feel make the Magic Memories Project Life® cards so special.
 

Digitizing My Sketches in Illustrator

Sometimes I have an exact idea of how a finished illustration will look, like my popcorn cart below, and so going from the original sketch to digitizing the final illustration takes very little time.

Illustration for Magic Memories Project Life cards | shannonmcnab.com

Other times, the way I envision the end result of a sketch takes a lot more work to come to fruition. Take the castle I drew for one of the vertical 4x6 cards, for example. You can see my drawing on the left and while the final design on the right shares a lot of similarities to the original sketch, it took me a couple dozen tries to get there.

Illustration for Magic Memories Project Life cards | shannonmcnab.com

It was especially challenging in terms of color. There's almost no gray anywhere else in the collection, so I needed to find the right balance of grays with the core color palette. So while it may have taken me a while to get to the finished illustration, I really do feel the final result was worth all the trial and error.
 

Finalizing my Designs

One thing I really loved about this particular project was getting feedback from Becky's team after I finished my first pass of designing. Usually, I'm a one woman show making all the final design decisions, so it was nice getting thoughtful critiques on things I may not have noticed myself.

Magic Memories Project Life cards | Designed by Shannon McNab

And after I made a few quick adjustments based on the feedback I received, all that was left was to package them up using the design guidelines I was given and then pass them off to Becky's team to upload to their site. Then it was time for a celebratory dance in my office and wait on pins and needles until it launched on May 9th!