Process: Love Poem Poster (Part 1)

Love Poem Poster Rough Draft

Some weeks back I teased a bit about a love poem poster I was working on. Since then a few things have changed as you can see above. The original plan was to work on an 18 x 24 inch letterpress design. I’ve never designed anything for letterpress and I thought it would be good. I’m not opposed to to doing a letterpress version, but I got to thinking how expensive it would be to do and thought a text only 2-color screen printed poster would be a more affordable alternative. But today’s discussion is not about design side of the rough draft you see above, and rest assured, it is a very rough draft. Hopefully all the things that bug you (and me) about this visually will be corrected in future drafts. Today I’m doing a breakdown of the words behind this work in progress.

One night as I was on the way to work I was deep in thought with the stereo going and I started to have this revelation about love. I started to write down some of these abstract thoughts and spinning off things in different directions and eventually wrote this poem. Here is the meaning and justification behind each line:

  • Love…will not yield, will not cease: Not much to this one, simply the idea that love won’t quit.
  • Says, “Citizens of Earth…WE COME IN PEACE!”: This one is meant to be fun. The idea is that maybe there are advanced aliens out there waiting to make our acquaintance, but are waiting for us to find peace and love on our own before introducing themselves.
  • Opens doors, Fights No Wars: Perhaps out of love you would defend your family, but no war starts from love for one another.
  • Takes creepy crawly spiders from the bedroom floor and places them gently unharmed outdoors: This might be the most controversial verse because I know how much some people absolutely hate spiders, and if it’s dangerous by all means get rid of it, but many are relatively harmless to people and help to eat more bothersome insects.
  • Gets together to study, does not grouse. Says, “Hey buddy, this one’s on the house.”: Maybe you can study all on your own, but it’s nice to give others a hand if they need it. Love doesn’t complain and love might inspire a bartender to give you a free drink.
  • Donates blood despite the needle’s stick, because someone elsewhere is injured or sick: Donating blood is one of the most selfless things a person can do. I’m a bit ashamed to say that it’s something that I have yet to do, largely because I have trouble walking out of the doctor’s office when they take a small vial, but if someone wants to drive me to the donation place and back home, I’ll give it a go.
  • Says, “I’m going to quit smoking, eat right, and exercise more, so I can stick around longer and help love flourish like never before.”: Not smoking, eating healthy, and exercising are things many of us have struggled with. Sometimes we feel pressured by society to improve on these things, but I feel like we’re most successful when we decide to love ourselves (yeah, I know, that sounds lame to me too) and be healthy for our own sake and then take advantage of our newfound health to accomplish further goals.
  • Wastes not and fixes broken components: Too often we just throw away broken things instead of taking the time to fix them. Reusing and repurposing things instead keeps those things out of landfills. Waste not can mean anything: Food, electricity, water, fuel.
  • Puts the toilet seat down (it just takes a moment): I don’t know if this battle is still be waged in households, but it’s another one just for fun.
  • Says, “Forget quarterly earnings and dollar amounts, it’s our customers, employees, and long-term prosperity that counts!”: This one takes a little bit of explaining, and maybe more than I care to do at this time. This isn’t a cry for socialism or increased taxes on corporations. Instead, I’m suggesting that companies can and will succeed if they focus on doing right by their customers, employees, and providing the best product or service they can instead of looking to cut costs at every corner. And while it should certainly be the goal of any company to be profitable, the scope should be set on the big picture and not how much revenue has increased every three months. Think about all the companies from which you buy something. Which would you recommend to a friend and which would you not? Why?
  • Is patient and is kind, can not, will not, be left behind: This just speaks again to unyielding nature of love.
  • Does not envy, does not boast. Helps dig ditches and mend fence posts: The first part just hearkens back to familiar proverbs about love. The latter are things you might do out of love. Have you ever dug ditches or fence post holes by hand? It’s not fun, but if you love your neighbor you might be willing to take on some blisters and callouses.
  • May not be all that we need, but it’s the first ingredient to go in and what we need most indeed: I was thinking about all those songs like “All You Need Is Love” regarding the first part, because hey, love doesn’t pay the bills, but it is necessary and when you think about it love is the first thing we need. From the moment we’re born we require love and care from our parents and as infants we can give nothing in return…except more love.

So that’s the story behind the words. Tomorrow I’ll delve into the design aspect and why some of it is working and some of it is not.

Do you have a favorite stanza or do you feel that some of them don’t work? I’d love to hear your comments below.

2 thoughts on “Process: Love Poem Poster (Part 1)

  1. Heather

    My initial reaction was that the spider section was my favorite. But after reading the explanation I really like the part about “wastes not…” I also like the part about aliens, blood, toilet seats and fence posts.

    1. John Post author

      It’s funny that you like the “Wastes not” part because I worried about that being one of the weaker lines. One of the things I enjoy most about art though is the different takes people have on it. The last line of your response is great out of context: “I also like the part about aliens, blood, toilet seats and fence posts.”


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