Do more of what makes you happy: my first postcard mailer

After a few years of trying to get some illustration experience (having none after coming from a graphic design background), finding my style, figuring out which areas of illustration I want to specialize in, and building up my portfolio, I finally feel like I’m ready to take the next step: sending out a promo postcard mailer to potential clients (companies I want to work with).

Before I even finished the illustration for what-would’ve-been-my-first-postcard-mailer, I already had a better idea.

This is my quick and lazy concept sketch. I’m almost embarrassed to show you this. I drew this slumped over on a couch, and it shows ๐Ÿ˜› My intent for this introductory postcard is to introduce these three things to new clients: 1) myself, 2) my illustration style, and 3) what I like drawing (to get similar work).

Do More of What Makes You Happy - my postcard mailer
I like drawing children, cats, cupcakes, objects, hand-drawn lettering.

My concept was “do more of what makes you happy.” It’s a phrase I first encountered on Pinterest about a year ago, and it’s made an impression on me since. It’s an idealistic and somewhat indulgent thought I believe in, having done exactly just that a few times by resigning from stable design jobs to do more of what makes me happy (which is illustration).

I didn’t intend to include the actual phrase in the design, just the idea behind it. I set up the illustration to have my cartoon self working in my studio, surrounded by little things that make me happy: drawing, my cats Sushi and Tiger, cake and candy, taking pictures, my work and my computer, arts and crafts, coffee and tea. I had to limit myself to include only things that would make sense in a work (from home) setting, otherwise I would’ve thrown in a giraffe in there or a suitcase and passport (travel makes me happy, too).

Do More of What Makes You Happy - my postcard mailer
Art imitates life: most of these objects are an illustrated version of their real-life counterparts.
I don’t have a red and white striped mug though, or a yellow polka dot teacup. I wish I did.

I compiled all my elements into a 5 x 7-inch portrait layout.

Do More of What Makes You Happy - my postcard mailer

I was pretty happy with the first output (left). But after some thought, I decided to stick to a cream, red, and turquoise color palette (right). I thought that while there was nothing wrong with the all-color version, the second version shows more thought and restraint, color-wise. It also reflected the color scheme of my real-life studio. Potential clients won’t know that, but I have every intention of having this design printed as a poster for my studio walls so it’s nice to have them match ๐Ÿ˜›

The red/turquoise color scheme also matches my business card, which I got printed a few years ago.


I was ready to take my design to print, but decided to play around with the layout a bit more. What if I actually added the words “do more of what makes you happy”?

Do More of What Makes You Happy - my postcard mailer

The Internet is on a quote kick. It’s all about empowerment, feel-good mantras, witty one-liners. These are what get pinned and re-pinned, hearted, favorited, reblogged, liked and shared, and printed and tacked on to bulletin boards and inspiration boards. With that in mind, I decided to include the phrase to give more meaning behind the design of my mailer. By doing so, it became the design’s new focal point, and me-the-illustrator was now secondary. Which is fine because with the new design, it then had a new purpose. I hope that when an art director receives it in the mail, he relates to the message and tacks it up on his bulletin board beside his computer as a daily reminder, instead of filing it away together with the other mailers he receives on a regular basis from other illustrators. That way, my name and URL is constantly in his line of sight. Haha, at least that’s what I hope happens ๐Ÿ˜›

The final design that went to print, with the red/teal/cream color palette:

Do More of What Makes You Happy - my postcard mailer

I also added that word balloon at the bottom. Now it kind of suggests that working with me makes one happy. Hahaha. That was totally intentional ;P

This is the back of the postcard.

Do More of What Makes You Happy - my postcard mailer
Keeping the tone light, casual, and conversational.

There’s space to write a short note on the left, if needed. The pun-ny tree stump stamp (*insert canned laughter here*) didn’t make it to my final print file as you’re supposed to leave that space blank so as not to violate USPS regulations, but it’s a fun element nonetheless.

I just sent my file off to the printer (Overnight Prints— same company that printed my business card above)– hoping to have my postcards out to potential clients by the middle of the year ๐Ÿ˜€ I’m excited ๐Ÿ˜€