I recently designed a card for my cousin Nina’s 50th birthday. When I make such cards I often try to work the age into the design. But this one was difﬁcult given her short name and the lack of an overlap with the roman numeral L. (I frequently resort to roman numerals to ﬁnd a solution.)
It wasn’t until I desperately began sketching ideas using blackletter instead of roman or italic that I came up with a successful design. Although textura and rotunda were disasters, bâtarde yielded an answer. The decorative strokes of N (uncial-based) allowed me to insert a 5 and then it was easy to make the zero follow as the dot on the i.
I wrote it out twice, once with a Brause nib and once with a Pilot Parallel pen to see if if it would work. I then did the ﬁnal with an Automatic poster pen on Arches watercolor paper without any preliminary drawing. The two colors, a spontaneous decision, made the message more festive as well as clearer. This was on the outside of the card and “Happy birthday” (also in bâtarde) was written on the inside.