Regarding the design of the Autumn Auror Box.

Design is a funny thing. Do you remember that scene from The Office where Pam transfers a call to Michael, but not before he says hello first, letting him get a horrible pun or joke out of his system? She calls it a practice run? That's how most of the logo designs go for me.

When we first brainstormed the idea for the box, I think Juli said "It should be spoopy," and I replied, "Snoopy? That doesn't make sense," and she said, "No, spoopy," to which I replied, "Ew, poopy?" at which point she rolled her eyes and I relented, and we both agreed to use old movies like The Worst Witch and Hocus Pocus as inspiration. For a few days, that picture of Tim Curry with the bat bowtie was my muse. I fired up Illustrator and got to work.

And I came up with the hat design, which has since become an in-joke between us. "Let's just add a witch hat." Sometimes you just put so much work into something that you forget to step back and see if it's any good or not. And this wasn't. But here it is. The witch hat.

Sometimes i'll recognize on my own that I'm putting digital lipstick on a pig, but other times I'll eagerly show off my progress to Juli, whose impeccable vision I rely on for the final direction of the boxes. Sometimes she'll reply with a squint and an "Ummmm," and in less than a word she's able to convey to me that I've taken a horrible wrong turn, and unless I course-correct immediately, the future of the box, and by extension the store, and by extension her very reputation as a human being are all in jeopardy.

And so like the handful of starships that were affected by the destruction of the Amargosa star in Star Trek Generations, I made a course correction.

Autumn colors always make me think of the 70s - harvest gold refrigerators and burnt orange curtains. So my new vision for the Autumn box was Queenie, in a 1970s-era kitchen, baking a pumpkin strudel and listening to the radio. My next step was to make a playlist. I'm a music nerd and I make playlists for every occasion. I made one playlist full of current bands who revel in that 1970s rock sound. Of interest is Church of the Cosmic Skull, a favorite of both Juli's and mine. The music, and the album artwork, that made up the playlist definitely defined the direction of the box. I also made another playlist, of music actually from that era, for the late nights when we needed to listen to something a little softer.



Once I had the logo finished, the rest clicked into place. If you're wondering, I based Broomstick Wax off of surfboard wax (and specifically Sex Wax). I figured that's a thing that probably exists in that world. Otherwise those brooms could be pretty slippery, which is not a good thing at high speeds. Plus, candles are also made of wax. Get it?

That's all the design insight I have for this box. As always, it was inspiring and gratifying working with Juli as we brainstormed, debated, dreamed, and violently threw pillows at each other, but this box felt special to both of us because Autumn has always been our favorite time of the year. Also, pumpkins.

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