Moons of the Year – An Eternal Calendar

In this post, I tell you more about the making of my calendar with all the joys, struggles and learnings. In case your not interested in all this bla, skip to the final product in my shop:

Ko-fi-Shop: Moons of the Year Calendar

🌑 The Background

The moon has fascinated people around the world since ancient times. Its beauty and ever changing appearance inspired myths and stories about mighty deities and spirits. Besides this religious meaning the moon has also been a useful tool to measure time. With the help of lunar calendars it was an easy way to keep track of the changing seasons as well as important dates and tasks like farming and hunting. Wherever the moon was used to track time, the moon cycles received different names according to the changes in nature that could be observed. In this project I deep dived into the origin and meaning of those old central European names to bring them back into our modern fast paced world.

🌒 How it all started

The first version of the Wolf Moon in January

I started the project back in 2021. During this time, I did a lot of research into folklore and customs associated with the moon and the seasons. Especially, the old names of the months like Wolf Moon or Thunder Moon stood out to me and quickly formed images in my mind. Composition and style wise, I didn’t have a concrete plan, so I experimented a bit. The first draft was a very simple, light ink illustration of the Wolf Moon on kraft paper.

Although I liked the composition itself, the layout choice didn’t feel right. After trying several ideas, I landed on a tall gothic window style. Instead of a light feeling I went for heavy blacks to emphasize the moon shine in the night.

12 illustrations based on the old Moon Names

🌓 Creating a Calendar

Month after month I illustrated the Moons according to the observations in nature. During the last days of 2021 the idea of creating a calendar was born. But it took me several months to get on with the project and to settle on final concept. After drafting some layouts for the calendar, I asked my followers on deviantArt and Ko-fi, which style they would prefer and how they would like to use the calendar.

Different Layout Drafts for the Calendar
Different Layout Drafts for the Calendar

The results were mixed, torn between a slim minimalist design, a place to write down important dates and information on the month. So I remixed my designs to get the best of all three worlds! To emphasize the slim gothic window I settled on a tall calendar: The image on one side, text and space for notes on the other.

I drafted the final layout with penpot (it’s actually a free UX-Design Tool, comparable to Figma, and very intuitive in usage). Then I dragged the design over to Scribus, a free open-source program for typesetting. I played around with different shapes for the note section and with colors, but in the end I went for a white text on a faded black background.

🌔 Of Frustration and Perseverance

By the end of 2022 everything was ready to get printed, but I had to delay the project yet again due to personal reasons. It was very frustrating, but it was just not possible to print and ship the calendar before 2022 would end. However, I figured that the calendar would work well as an eternal calendar. So I went back into Scribus, kicked out all the dates and sent the design into the pre-print. The print came out okay, but it definitely wasn’t something I wanted to sent out to other people. I fixed some issues and added small illustrations to fill some awkward spaces between the paragraphs.

I sent it to pre-print again and this time, it was perfect. I then ordered the first batch. I felt very happy, when I got my hands on the package. But I soon realized, there wasn’t a good way to hang the calendar on the wall. That’s why I searched for elegant and minimalist fold-back clips, which would not interfere with the calendar’s design.

🌕 A Happy Ending: Go-Live

After reading up on shipping requirements and ordering envelops, I settled on a special date for the shop opening: May 1st. I love this time of the year, when you can feel summer approaching and nature bursts into blossoms and lush greens. This day really energizes me. Also, the folk beliefs associated with Mayday really fitted the theme of the calendar.

It was exciting to see the first orders coming in. On that note: Thanks to all of you, who ordered a calendar! You’re amazing 🔥

Despite of the research I did, the shipping was still a challenge, since there had been some changes in the terms of service (really annoying and therefore far more expensive than I first anticipated!). It felt a bit hectic and it pushed my insecurity to the limit, but I managed to ship out everything one or two days after ordering. The packing process was really relaxing: Wrapping everything in tissue paper, writing little notes and hiding a little extra 🌿 And after a few days I got notice from my customers, that everything arrived safely. It truly felt my heart with joy 🙂

If you also want to find this calendar on your doorstep, you can check it out in my Ko-fi-Shop ✨

TL;DR: What I learned from this Project

  • Sometimes life gets in the way of doing things
  • Don’t work with fancy overlay effects in the layout document.
  • Printing (and shipping) takes longer than expected.