Learning how to PAAAAAR-TAY!

 “Kids today.”  Those two words, when uttered, can make me feel firmly planted in middle age. There’s a lot of talk about “kids today” and what they do or don’t do, what they say, and what they like. In my job as Associate Art Director for Lerner Publishing Group I need to know about “kids today,” and one thing we can all agree on is that computers, social media, virtual friendships, and online gaming are here to stay. But where does that leave the fine art of how to throw a party? Enter the new series from Lerner Publications: Party Time! (September 2014)

Designing this series for tweens and early teens was so much fun for me because I got to break all the design rules and use lots of fun fonts, colorful dingbats and doodles and pictures to make an energetic backdrop for all the great information about hosting a party.

What is the most important element for having a party? The food? The games? The music? I think (and maybe it’s just the designer in me) it’s the invitation. It sets the tone of the party to come, creates a feeling of anticipation, and most importantly it also tells your friends when, where, and why (and what to bring!).
As I put it this series together I recalled the thrill of having my own holiday parties and the time and energy spent putting together fun invitations with my husband. We own a small printing press (called a Print Gocco) so we came up some elaborate schemes!
One year, inspired by nostalgic matchbook art we created our own “club” matches. These oversize matchbooks had a secret message inside for the recipient. No detail was spared: gritty paint was used to make the “match” heads and a strip of sandpaper for the striking pad.
Another year we decided to pay homage to Santa through a Bazooka Joe comic parody. My husband created the joke and I executed the art down to the ubiquitous rough and slightly off-register printing in primary colors. A waxy “gum wrapper” feel was created by rubbing a block of clear wax over the printed piece.

The parties themselves were raucous good time (albeit a blurred memory!) but the saved invitation is a tangible reminder of the love that we have for the friends and family that we hosted. And isn’t that what we should strive to teach “kids today” —that face-to-face connections are where memories are born and bonded?
I haven’t had a party in years, but designing these books to help future generations learn how to host an awesome party is making me seriously consider dusting off the printing press and getting the friends together for a holiday soiree. Check it out this fun series and let Party Time! inspire you to throw your own bash!