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The Next Greatest Story Ever Told?

The Divine Poster Story

My journey has been somewhat unusual, but I will have to start from the beginning so you understand how I got to where I am right now.

My background and knowledge of art and design have been with me for many years. I have worked in graphic design studios and corporate art departments producing brochures, flyers, annual reports, branding materials and other items related to advertising.

This started at a time before computers were being used and everything was done by hand except typefaces (lettering) that were done on a typewriter type of machine or hand drawn with a special ink pen.
Some years ago I decided to start a blog about what I know best…the design business. It was actually much more work then you see in the commercials for website design to do it in a day. It has to be designed (art and layout); the words were written (copy) and then maintained on almost a daily basis especially if you have a blog or podcasts.

In general my life was OK but with a lot of ups and downs with the downs more often then the ups. I am not saying my life was bad but many times in termoil from making some not-good decisions and at time walking away from my responsibilities. That is the one thing that still stays in my head and seems to make me see how bad I was actually doing back then. 

This is not about addiction or trouble with the law but not doing the right things and that at times even affected my design work and family relationships which happliy are on a much stronger footing today thanks to The lord.

Now to The Point of This Story.

I know graphic design and understand it takes time to design logos, websites, brochures and posters.

First, you have to come up with the idea. Next, you have to write the words and then build the project’s design parts. In my experience, this can take several days, weeks or longer for a single project.
What do they say “Ideas don’t grow on trees”? That’s more truth then fiction. It takes a lot of people and concepts to design any type of creative materials. Some do the design, some the copy and some put it all together.

Now to What I Feel is My Incredible Journey.

It is December 13th and I am sitting at my computer working on a design project and I get an idea to design a poster. A religious poster. I know the date because it is in my sketchbook for that design and others.

Some more background information about me is that I am not a religious person. I believe in God (and Jesus) but wasn't praying on a regular or partial basis. That is why doing a religious poster made no real sense to me. Why and where did the idea come from and why do it at all? I felt compelled. Sort of like someone speaking to me and explaining what to do as with normal projects.

In other words you get a plan and do the design while others give help and assistance with color, typefaces and design ideas. Was it my internal voice telling me the ideas? No not in my thinking. I would not have even thought of that type of design – religious I mean. Ask me to do business or corporate design and that is what I do.
So for me this came elsewhere. My thought? The Holy Spirit. But why would it come to me? As I mentioned I only just started to get my head into praying on a regular basis.

The first religious design process for a poster can very complicated and time-consuming but I worked through it in Photoshop. I never thought to record the time it took but I am sure it took several days knowing what was involved. The idea was not complicated at least in my thinking but it did involve using some aspects of Photoshop I was not familiar with.

The Ideas Stop

I designed several posters that year and then nothing. No ideas or designs. No poster designs. What happened? I am not sure but life goes on anyway.

Time went by and for some reason, I started to pray. No particular reason I can think of I just started. Slowly at first because I wasn’t sure what to say. My understanding of prayer came from Jean who is a woman of faith and helped me to understand my spiritual beliefs and gave me guidance. It was a significant turning point in my life and I believe made me a much better person both mentally and physically.

But nothing with the posters. Then without any warning, notice or pre-thought the poster designs came through extremely slow. One here and there and nothing earth or heaven shattering. Rather strange.

What Is My Purpose?

As time went on I started wondering about my purpose in life. Why am I really here? What should I be doing? I am sure there is a plan but I didn’t know what mine was or how it would unfold.

So I decided to ask God. “Please reveal my purpose and give me the wisdom to pursue it.” Now the answer if you can call it that actually came pretty quickly I think. I am not sure because I didn’t record the prayer date or the flow of posters date.

Unfortunately I never thought about that at the time and then slowly the poster ideas started coming to me and I roughly sketched them in my book.

The ideas would start to surface while I was watching TV, reading some magazine, getting ready for bed and even waking up with some. I always keep a pad and pen on the nightstand in case I would get ideas for projects and was able to write the ideas down so I wouldn’t forget by the morning.

I was even using an app called Notebook on my phone when I would think of another idea so I wouldn’t forget it the next day. Of course I had to remember the ideas were in the app.

Then a half-year of my life was interrupted by a car accident that could have been much worse if we were not being watched over by God. The recovery time was long but with His help and guidance made it through but not completely unscathed. I was not able to do Photoshop work very easily for a while because I use a tablet and the mouse together. That’s hard using only one hand but I managed.

A Change in The Speed of Ideas

I have asked God to reveal my purpose again and believe that was the time when the ideas started coming in much faster. Actually faster than I could have come up with the ideas myself. With the number of ideas, I figure it would take me many months to complete the design while now it is taking me days.

Over this year I have been getting poster ideas on a much more frequent basis. I draw them out (and even write them) in my sketchbook so I don’t forget. Then I would set them up in Photoshop as a simple typeface as a jpeg and a folder for each design to go back to later. Most times I would have 5-10 folders with images and design concepts ready to be designed at a time.

Keep in mind that the posters need words as well as layout and colors to complete one design. Think of it this way. You want to make a poster. You will need to figure out the words. Next, come up with a design. Now you need to figure out the colors for the design. Next is deciding on what typeface to use. Then you need to decide how to place each item within the poster size. Once you get to that point you start adding the items one at a time to the poster design (called a layout).

The Designs Continue to Come

As of this writing (September 2018), I have completed well over 100 designs with 60 being in the last 2 months. One a day which is extraordinary to me but not because of my design skills but because of His hand helping me. There are so many ideas coming I have to write them down in my sketchbook. I still have 5-10 folders ready for design.

I really enjoy design projects but I know my mind is not capable of coming up with so many designs and that is not a put down of me but a reality of what I am capable of doing from past experience. So that leads me to believe the Holy Spirit is leading me with the ideas, words and designs.

The other amazing part is that each design is different from the other. Sure I could have the same design for all the posters but that is not my obvious purpose.

I am not sure where this journey is continuing to take me at this time. The only thing I can add is that if you are a believer - God will help you on your journey if you just ask.

Just ask and keep your faith and if you are not a believer you may want to reconsider.

H John Johnsen - 2018