I Can’t Draw
I’m ashamed to admit it, but I can’t draw—at least not in the typical pencil-on-paper fashion. As a fella who never had the raw, natural talent to draw freehand, utilizing pure geometric shapes to build an illustration for the first time was empowering. Finally, I could make images of my own construction, even if I had to do it in my own roundabout way. Tangram States got its start by taking the geographic outlines of of each state’s border, and distilling them into their basic geometric components.
It’s one thing to see a design on screen, but there’s something eminently visceral about seeing ink on paper—especially at poster scale. I wanted to bring Tangram States to life, but lacked the scratch to make it happen.
After some cursory research I simultaneously threw my hands up—as well as caution to the wind—and built, then launched, a Kickstarter project.
265 kind souls rolled the dice on the project and helped reach our goal just over halfway through the campaign. Super grateful they made Tangram States a real thing—couldn’t have happened without their generous support.
Once the campaign got funded, it was time to get pre-production rolling. Adjustments were made, colors were tweaked, and errors were corrected. During the Kickstarter campaign, my dear friend Jeff Swanson helped spread the word on some online forums, which led to folks chiming in, so let's take a moment to clear up two things:
Yes, tangrams traditionally feature seven geometric shapes of set sizes. And, yes, this map takes liberty with both the quantity and scale of the shapes used. I’ll level with you: Neat Geometric State Formation Map didn't have quite the same cozy ring to it—so simmer down pedants of Reddit. We’re all doing our best here.
Secondly, in the first iteration of the design I heinously omitted Michigan’s Upper Peninsula by accident. Many apologies to folks from that great state.
Off to the Presses!
Final alterations committed, it was time to break out in a cold sweat and send the final files off to the presses. The 24x36 inch Tangram States posters were printed on high quality silk-finish stock by the fine folks at Meridian Printing, in my beloved home state of Rhode Island. They do incredible work, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the care they afforded the project.
To add some extra variety to the crowdfunding campaign, a limited edition run (150) of 18x24 inch posters was also cooked up as an additional backer reward. Featuring five spot colors, and lovingly printed by the screen printing scholars at Mama’s Sauce in Orlando, Florida, the prints were a nice companion to the larger offset
Also learned an important lesson, that my signature is the writing equivalent of a dad bod. I’ll work on classing it up next time I have an editioned run.
So. Many. Tubes.
With posters in hand, shipping out Kickstarter rewards could commence. I can neither confirm nor deny that a mishap of ordering hundreds of incorrectly-sized shipping tubes occurred. If it did, it would be chalked up as rookie mistake, I suppose.
A quick note: next time you receive a perfectly packaged poster from some artist or vendor, remember to thank all the shipping and fulfillment professionals out there. It’s a laborious task for sure, and I learned that the hard way. Thankfully, while my taping skills were endearingly ham-handed, posters successfully shipped out to folks all across the globe. For those who supported the campaign, I’m super grateful.