Personalized ZGALLERIE-Style City Art

After finding a post by Jen at The House of Wood about her recreated zgallerie city artwork, I really wanted to try the project myself. Let’s just say it excited the graphic designer in me. We have also never lived in any of the 0h-so-chic cities zgallerie featured, and I really like the idea of personalizing the artwork for us. However, there were two problems with this. First, I didn’t have any more wall real estate to put up something so large. Second, shortly after finding the post, I couldn’t remember where I found it! Ack! Fortunately, I had left a comment and asked to be notified by email with follow up comments. Save!

Before I go into how I made my own City artwork, let me show you the zgallerie originals. At a whopping 26″ x 14″ for each framed (yes, framed) print, they are probably worth their $40 price tags (although there is still shipping and handling too).  Still, I wanted to make my own. ‘Cause that’s just how we roll at Chez Acheson!

Personalized ZGALLERIE-Style City Art

So the first thing I had to do was get my mind around creating a different size than the originals. Jen had lamented that she should have chosen the frames before she created her art. Point taken. I just happened to have two Ikea Ribba frames from our lovely House and Home gift bags (given to us when we toured the Oakville Showhome a few weeks ago).

They are on the small side, at 3.5″ x 5.5″ matted, but I thought they would work perfectly for a little pop of typographic art. And being that they’re black and white, they can be moved around the house as the redecorating mood strikes. (You know it strikes often!).

Next I made a list of the streets we have lived on. We have lived in eight different homes (apartments, condos, houses) but we have basically lived in two areas since we’ve been married: Barrie and Toronto. Perfect. One area for each frame. Since I was personalizing these I also thought of colleges, vehicles, landmarks and other words that reminded us of the experiences we’ve had.

With my list made and the frames and size chosen, it was time to get work on the actual art creation. Now, being that I used to be a graphic designer, you would think I would have all the stuff that goes with that career. Not so much. I never did pay the huge price tag for Photoshop, Illustrator or Quark. I did use a student version for awhile, but that is long gone (not being a student anymore and all). So a few months ago I looked online for a freeware version of a couple of my favourites. I have downloaded Inkscape to replace Illustrator, but have yet to spend the time to get the hang of it. I also downloaded Gimp, which is the equivalent of Photoshop. At least for what I need it for.

The next job was finding just the right font. It turns out that Waukegan definitely does the trick (as recommended by Jen). I downloaded a really great version by Luke Owens that had regular, extended, bold and black options.

After installing the font on my computer, I created a new 4″ x 6″ document in Gimp. This would leave enough room to have a little extra black background in case the art shifted in the frame. Be sure that you size the document for printing. 72 dpi or px just won’t come out nice. I used 180, but you could go even bigger.

The rest is just fitting in the words to your liking.

Since we no longer have a printer at home and Staples is literally around the corner, I always send my prints there. I printed using their digital upload, in Rich Black, on 80 Lb cover stock. The beauty of this is that I finished the project about 11:30 at night and just picked it up the next day.

Because it’s Staples, the print comes on 8.5″ x 11″ paper, so cutting it down is necessary. I just used the matte included with the Ribba frame to draw a pencil line to cut along.

The bonus of this project is that it was very inexspensive!! The frames were free, but even if you had to buy them they are only $6.99 each (for the size I used).  And the Rich Black prints from staples totalled $1.11. So for about $15 (and a couple of hours playing on the computer) you get two pieces of trendy personalized art!

What do you think? Have you made any trendy art of your own?

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  1. 2

    aka design says

    Thank you, Katrina. For now they are on the bookshelves in our family/living room. Who knows where they’ll end up!