NBP’s (not so) Funny Valentine

It’s not a stretch to say we have the best customers in the country. You wouldn’t believe how many people call just to say nice things. (Full disclosure: I have some saved voice-mail messages that date back six years.) Even when someone calls to complain, they generally preface it with…“Normally I like what NBP does, but…”

NBP Valentine card featuring an image of a hog and a quiche.

‘Hogs and Quiches’ Valentine card

Like the teacher who called several years ago to complain about that year’s Valentine design.* “What were you thinking,” she asked, “putting out a Valentine about pigs and pies? No one here even knows what it means!” She was talking about one of my all-time favorite designs, an idea I borrowed from a friend who signs her emails: “Hogs & Quiches.” This tagline, in my opinion, met all our criteria: witty, not too sugary, and, best of all, two playful images that are not hearts.

I began my defense: “You see, when we design a Valentine it has to serve two audiences – blind kids who give them to sighted classmates, and blind adults who give them to both sighted and blind friends. They have to be about ‘love,’ but suitable to give to someone you would not want to marry. Ever. And whatever tagline, image, print and braille message you come up with must fit in a tight space 4.25 x 5 inches.”

She seemed a little less frustrated…a little more forgiving. “I’ll order the previous year’s design, please.” The following year, in 2012, I designed the most boring-est Valentine card ever. It had a felt heart on the front with the tagline, “You’re fine, Valentine.” It wasn’t a bestseller, but not a soul complained.


*Each year, NBP designs original print/braille Valentines to give to classmates or friends. Critique this year’s valentine design.