How it all began

Posted by in making it

The Big Picture Calendar project started in the middle of 2012 when I got very frustrated with calendars. I read an article about Jerry Seinfeld where he recommended getting better at comedy by writing every single day. He recommended getting one of those all-in-one calendars and mark off each successful day with a big X. The secret of success was to not “break the chain.”

I figured this type of calendar would be super easy to find, but a few hours later I’d looked at hundreds of designs and none of them had the continuous style I thought would be perfect for this task. So I gave up on my search and started putting something together in Illustrator. A couple more hours later and I had my first version of the calendar ready.

The next problem was printing the calendar. The design needed a large color print on paper that’s easy to write on. This is much harder than you’d think as large-format printers tend to print on glossy paper. It holds the ink well, but is terrible for using with a pencil or a pen. Even worse, it cost $90 to print one 24″ x 36″ calendar at FedEx Office. I was hoping to print a few for friends and myself, but just getting one was looking to be out of the question.

The only available option was to do an offset print run. This opened up the possibilities for hundreds of different kinds of paper. The only problem is that you need to print at least 500 copies (1,000 is even better) for it to be affordable. I now needed to find at least 100 more people who’d be willing to buy one and the only way to do that was to crowdfund it.

I was already well aware of Kickstarter and had seen a couple friends fund their projects that way so I put together a small presentation and recorded a video of myself talking about the calendars. I thought  there might be a couple dozen people who cared, but there ended up being 223 people who pledged over $5,000.

Suddenly, I was in the calendar business.

Over the next couple years I ran a couple more crowdfunding efforts on Kickstarter. In 2013 I used the same design, but I started to get an itch to redo the design. It still wasn’t quite right so in 2014 I started again from scratch to create the 2015 version that’s for sale on this site. The months now have background colors and the month names are on the months. After a couple years, the calendar is exactly where I want it to be and I’m looking forward to getting more of them out there.