The Work
My Lettering Design for the song "Oh, What a Life" by American Authors
My Lettering Design for the song "Oh, What a Life" by American Authors

The Inspiration

"Oh, What a Life" by American Authors is hands down one of my favorite songs ever. In fact, the whole album, also named "Oh, What a Life", is my favorite of all time. It's the type of album where every track flows so nicely, that you never even think about skipping a song.

This song, in particular, closes the album with a lot of emotion and holds a special place in my heart. Every time I hear it, I can't help but get a little teary-eyed with a huge grin on my face. The message is incredibly powerful–life is a mixture of all the good and bad. It's a reminder to embrace the ups and downs, reminisce the regrets, and celebrate the glories, all while recognizing that every moment has led us to where we are today. And through it all, I get to say, "Hey, this is my life, And, what a life it's been."

The unwavering optimism of this song, and the whole album, has helped me during difficult times, bringing not just happiness but also gratitude and pride for the life I've led. I would love to have this song played at my funeral as a final anthem.

"I'm filled with regrets, yet I sing, Oh, what a life!"

The Process

Alright, so let me walk you through my lettering practice for the song Oh What A Life.

First off, I experimented with different lettering styles that would complement the phrase "What A Life". I settled on a script typeface because it felt like life's natural flow. Adding some calligraphy flair to bounce the letters around gave it that extra liveliness, making it more dynamic, mirroring life itself.

Then I tried out some compositions. I toyed with a comic-style layout before deciding it wasn't the vibe I was going for and chose to go with the idea of creating a symbolic logo, making the words pop.

Next, I got playful with the words. I even tried incorporating 'regret' into the letter I, inspired by the lyrics 'I'm filled with regrets.' The idea of "I" got filled with the word "regrets" was intriguing, but readability became a concern once I started designing it.

Moving on to the overall design process, I digitized the initial sketch and used letter and grid builders to get more precision.

I fine-tuned each letter, working to achieve that perfect balance and flow so it didn't look wonky in terms of letter spacing and angles.

Then came to the word "I Sing". Initially, I considered something like Lobster font, but it ended up feeling too similar to the script style of What A Life. So instead, I went for bold, all caps, to give it a visual contrast and a distinct punch.

I tried to add some perspective to the word "I see", but it looked weird, so I tilted it into a circle instead of a curve. Then, I worked on making it all cohesive, filling out every letter around the circle, and testing various versions to strike a balance between readability and aesthetics.

I initially thought I'd go for a line work with the vector version. But fixing all those little details took way longer than expected. So, I had to color the sketch and call it a day. I doubt I'll make any vector versions for this challenge going forward. LOL.

I wanted a color palette that was vibrant but not too in your face. I'm still not in love with it, but I ran out of time for the day, so it is what it is.

Despite some flaws, I'm happy with the outcome. Not overly proud, but good enough for a half-day of work.

That wraps up day one of my May Music Lettering challenge, a little project I set for myself this month.

P.S. It was funny that, only after writing down the process, I realized I wrote the lyrics wrong, so I had to do a quick fix before posting, lol.

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