February 13, 2011 at 10:49 pm · Filed under Copy / Writing, Industrial / Product, Type / Fonts

heart CD jewel case cover; type printed on red paper, removable double-stick-taped to album jewel case / 2004

Because it’s always on, and only on, February 14th, no matter what, Valentines Day can be particularly stressful for young relationships. Bleary-eyed cherubs come out of their 364-day slumber, all jacked up on chocolate truffles and sweethearts, and just shotgun cloud-loads of heart darts into the crowd, their mercenary instincts leaving accuracy second to volume when considering targets. If you are as neurotic about these sorts of things as am I, it’s crucial to position yourself properly so you don’t fall prey to misfires.

The problem is, there are only a few kinds of arrows in the cherub’s standard arsenal, and they’re pretty blunt: “I think you’re hot,” “I love you,” or, “(Believe it or not) I still love you.” If you don’t happen to be feeling—and comfortable expressing—one of those three sentiments, you better be ready to scramble come 2/14. Valentines Day can be rugged terrain for “We’ve only been out twice and I don’t know your last name,” “You’re kind of crazy but maybe I’ll get used to it,” or “We’re doing OK, right?”

Come 2/14/2004, I was actually about three months into a relationship that was going much more than just OK. Indeed, it was going better than I had imagined it could and better than any relationship before had gone by that point. But I tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to communicating feelings and the fact that I did feel deeply for her made me even more nervous about getting too vocal about it…

We were past “I think you’re hot” and not quite to “I love you.” Beyond my irrational insecurities around personal feelings, it just seems so trite to make those sorts of declarations because of wold’s most contrived holiday. But I couldn’t deny that it was that day and I knew I had to do something. I wanted to do something. I just didn’t want one of those stupid arrows to to smack her in the face. I was hoping to just sort of graze her.

When it came to how I would express my feelings, I wanted it to be stirring, sensual, eloquent and cool. So, I did the mature thing and had someone else do it for me. Someone who knew just what to say and exactly how to say it: John Coltrane. One of my favorite albums of any genre, A Love Supreme makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up on end every time I listen to it, and I figured I couldn’t go wrong if I could wrap my sentiments in that.

A Love Supreme CD: remastered from original John Coltrane recordings; cover designed by George Gray/Viceroy / 1964

My card was just a piece of warm red paper mounted it to the cover with removable tape, typeset with the word heart, so she would know where it came from.


  1. Anna Noazki said,

    December 24, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    It was perfect.

  2. Daniel P. Johnston said,

    December 24, 2011 at 11:23 pm


    :– ]

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