Behind the Scenes of the Good News Calendar
Hey guys! Some of you have been SO excited and enthusiastic (THANK YOU!) about the Good News Calendar, so I wanted to drop in a little more information and behind-the-scenes detail. SO excited to share with you!
The idea actually came to me right as Christmas insanity was getting started in 2017 - I think in October or November. I was driving in Memphis, thinking about all of the terrible things that happened in the world, and the idea just sort of came to me, all at once. I remember praying about it pretty immediately and just feeling instantly sort of confident about it - like it just absolutely had to happen. I started texting my team, who loved the idea and were super super supportive.
And the life hit. I tried to get to work on the calendar but honestly, the thing is a total beast to design and I just couldn’t finish the work in time for a smooth, strategic pre-holiday launch. In the process, though, we found some really incredible stories from 2017, and I actually got a few designs done that I’m pretty proud of.
At some point, the stress of the calendar came to a breaking point and I decided that I would wait until 2018 - when I could work through it slowly and carefully and make it as perfect as it was in my head. It was definitely tough to stick the calendar on the shelf, but I knew it would be the worst feeling in the world to launch a calendar I wasn’t happy with, or launch it before it was ready.
Cut to: 2018!
and then, WHALA! Unsurprisingly, 2018 FLEW by - but I had my sight sets on the calendar from January 1. I started to really work in earnest on the project this summer. I created a google doc of almost 30 potential stories to illustrate for the monthly good news, and then started working with my employee, Lucy, on gathering the dates. After the list of potential stories were finished, I texted out the Google Doc link to all of my friends and had them vote on their favorite stories. The votes surprised me - some were totally what I expected, but there were others that I thought would for SURE make the cut and didn’t.
As far as the dates, Lucy and i must have gone back and forth via email and text (she’s based in Memphis) 80 zillion times. Having her input was invaluable. First of all, she constantly reminded me that we needed to include the actual federal holidays (when i got too excited about national margarita day and skipped over things like Thanksgiving) and also brought in SO many fun and meaningful ideas and suggestions. After our work was mostly finished, I printed out the calendar progress and started working through it in-person with my right hand gal in Nashville, Helen. Helen and I double checked, edited, added, removed, and wiggled things around in that calendar…i’m surprised we didn’t run out red ink. By the time both of them had gotten done with it, It was honestly something to behold.
There were quite a few hiccups in getting this thing actually printed and out into the world. I knew a couple of things - I definitely wanted the calendar to be big (11x11in when folded! woo!), printed on nice paper, spiral-bound, and produced locally. I’ve done this with all of my products that I can, but it really is super important to me to keep as many things produced as locally as possible. I did an initial (smaller) run of calendars with a local printing company I’ve used quite a bit. Two things then happened somewhat simultaneously which made me switch to a different (also local) printer - after some major hiccups in their machinery which caused substantial delays in production (about 3 weeks instead of the promised 6 days), combined with the crazy sellout first day, we were able to move to an offset printer (Midtown Printing here in Nashville) who produced the next run of 1000 calendars. We were able to keep the paper quality while hugely reducing the cost per unit, making it available to shops and giving us a wayyy better margin - so we can include more freebies and fun stuff! Win for everybody!
Got a question about how I chose the paper quality and binding - I went with the #100lb cougar matte white cardstock for the calendar pages and the black plastic coil for the binding. The paper is pretty standard yummy stationery paper that works well for this type of thing (no bleeding through when hanging up on a wall) and the spiral coil works well for a calendar of this type that’ll be flipped over. In the future I would definitely look into the wire binding (wouldn’t a rose gold spiral just be so yummy??) but for this initial year, the plastic coil made the most sense.
Looking ahead: 2019!
This is a question I’ve gotten quite a bit, and the answer is YES! There absolutely will be a 2020 Good News Calendar. I’m very much hoping that 2019 will be less of a disaster than 2018, and that hopefully we won’t need the calendar quite as badly? BUT I love the idea that this can be an ongoing project and shed light on the positive every single year. Please, send in your good news stories and the ones you find during 2019!!