Halloween, New Products, Tips and Resources

Evolution of a Design

It’s still crazy-hot here (and probably where you are too) which disinclined me to go outside and saw, sand and paint.

But that has given me time to focus on new designs for Halloween and Midsummer Scream.

My funny (ok, I think they’re funny – your mileage may vary) Halloween coasters have, apparently, acquired a following.

I was, pleasantly, thrown last year when several people came by the booth looking “this year’s” coaster to add to their collection.

I didn’t know that was a thing.

I’m a collectible!!!!!  Step aside Beanie Babies!

OK, so these designs have always been a fun collaboration between Geralyn and I (me? myself?).  We brainstorm, kick around ideas and then I work out the designs and there is more kibitzing.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  You get the idea.

And I thought maybe you might find seeing the evolution of an idea interesting.

(Or not.  I could see “not” too so if your first thought was “no I won’t” this probably isn’t the post for you.)

Also, I feel compelled to say, up front, that I am not a graphic designer.  I have zero training and this is not a tutorial.  If any of you ARE graphic designers and I’m giving you hives with my font and layout choices I apologize.



I’ve never been fully satisfied with any of the previous Frankenstein designs.  This year I started off trying to do a new one until we veered off into ideas that seemed a bit more Bride of Frankenstein and that kinda clicked!

I wanted it to look like an old add and I needed a “bride” image.

The hunt for Public Domain images lead me down some internet rabbit holes but I ended up narrowing in on Antique Brassiere Advertisements.

(which must have really messed with those Google tracking bots that are supposed to match you up with advertisements you might respond to).

Google Bot 1: OK, he’s into women’s antique underwear……

Google Bot 2: Got it!  I’ll alert the police  and you send him ads for Queen Victoria’s Secret to keep him distracted.

Anyway, I found these:

I liked how the woman’s hair in the Debevoise and Reduso ads kind of looked like the Bride of Frankenstein and I liked the layout of the “pretty girls” ad.

So I isolated the figure and matched the background color.

and laid in some of the phrases Geralyn and I had played with

Please do not copy or distribute


A little boring.

….More brainstorming with Geralyn.

Needed a bit more space and some balance at the bottom.  Move the “try” to gain some space and add a black bar.

Please do not copy or distribute


But still not right.  It needed more bells and whistles.

I went on over to The Graphics Fairy -an AMAZING resource if you don’t know about it – and grabbed a few banners to try out and changed the text a bit.

Oh, and maybe it would be better if she looked a different way?  So I flipped the bride (sounds like a euphemism) – seemed like it made her more involved or something.

Please do not copy or distribute

Cool.  Better.  The “friends” text wasn’t really doing it for me and it was all a bit squished.

Also, she needed a little more hair (I can sympathize)

And it needed something more dynamic up top.

Please do not copy or distribute


Pretty good!  The blacks give some dimension and moving the text at the bottom around allowed me to make it a bit larger.

Almost there……juuuuust need to correct the spelling of “Elixir” (thanks Julie!)

A border, some antiquing texture and “dirt” (hard to see – sorry) it’s looking pretty good!

Please do not copy or distribute

It needs a few more tweaks but what do you think?  Do I have “this year’s” coaster or should I work up something else?

We’d toyed around with Frankenstein’s Salvage Yard or Igor’s Yoga and Pilates Studio (the latter mostly because I wanted to use the phrase “NamaSlay”)

Tomorrow I really do have to go outside.  Wish me luck!



20 thoughts on “Evolution of a Design”

  1. Wow! This is fantastic! I’m almost jealous of your process–the fun of playing around with it. Plus I LOVE the final product! Good on you!

  2. Hmmm….ever seen those antique humpback trunks? Igor has a humpback (is that PC? Or should I say he is vertebrae challenged?) Don’t suppose he sells those trunks to the general public in his emporium or just for the specialized clothing of the vertebrae challenged? Easy to move from the catacombs to the surgical suite of Dr. Frankenstein. Custom made to match your vertebrae.

    1. Oh, I just thought, the humpback trunk a great place for Igor to hide when the villagers storm the castle! Proper postage affixed to the exterior and easily mistaken for a UPS (Unknown Person Secreted) parcel waiting for pick up.

    1. GERALYN!!!!! (she’s in charge of spelling). Actually, that’s the Transylvanian spelling – they do things differently there…..OK, I can see you’re not buying that…….Thank you Julie!

  3. Dad’s right… I do need a coaster with the use of NamaSlay on it – FOR SURE!!! I love this piece, and I thought of something that might look cool and would (presumably… I’m also not a graphics designer) be a simple addition. Remember in Young Frankenstein that Madeline Kahn had that fabulous streak of white in her mile-high hairdo (which your graphic perfectly mirrors!) running back from her temple? Thought that could be cool to add to the brides coiffure. What do you think?

  4. Great writing is rewriting. This post is fantastic. It should be taught in ad schools and graphics classes. The evolution is so good from start to finish. Should be a great seller. Now, to be truly collectible, you may want to add a “year” to the back, and threaten to retire the old ones. It could be a real thing.

    1. I’m an old one. Been retired for a while and still no demand for my return or an unreasonable price for my limited edition.

  5. You need the white streaks in her hair, if possible.

    You need to put a watermark across your pics to prevent those copyright abusers.

    You have created the perfect coaster for 2018, my friend!!!

    I have always loved the Bride of Frankenstein because of my crazy hair! The movie is good, too.


    ps. Beanie Babies, not sure what Bennie Babies are.

    pps. I have a Victorian camel back trunk. I lined it in fabric–you would be impressed with my stapling skills–I can provide pics.

    I wish I had your graphics skills. You rock.

    1. Yeah, I try (sorta) with the copyright thing. But there is no winning. Some woman copied all the text and the general layout of my “Raven’s Cure” design several years ago and offered it up as “free download” of her “original work” and it’s spread all over the place (the killer was, when I contacted her, she argued with me that it was her idea).
      Perfect with the white in her hair – I’m on it!
      Bennie Babies are a line of plush dolls made exclusively for amphetamine addicts. They sold out fast!!!

      1. That’s how I missed those Bennie Babies… 😉

        I don’t have a nice word for the “Raven’s Cure” thief. In fact, I have some very unkind words for her. Or anyone like her.

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