Process: Post-it Note Jesus

Easter is a big day for the Church all across the globe. At River Valley we always try to do something great to tell the story of Jesus. This year, along with a few other elements, included this:

I want to talk through the process of concepting, designing, and creating this piece. The final, physical display measured in at 12’x11’, consisting of 9 separate boards that we combined together. There are a total of 2,112 “post-it” notes in 5 different colors forming the image of Jesus’ profile. 

This was a true collaborative effort by many members of the River Valley Creative team. I played a small part, and in no way am I taking credit for this entire element.



No one can really trace back to the original conception of this idea, but I think someone, somewhere along the line said “Post-it” or “8-bit” and the rest was history. We did some research and came across a few instances where something like this was done before really well.



Reference Image

Reference Image

The original design of Jesus’ profile was done on a 720p art board, for your typical screen. We didn’t know all the details of how it would play out physically at that point, so we started there, thats why you’ll see a lot of widescreen mock ups.

It all starts with the reference image. Took a quick search of the google machine and I found one that looked perfect, and it helped immensely that it was already a two-toned image.

Here's a very quick GIF on creating a grid in Illustrator and going through and filling the squares with colors. I'm sure there are easier, more automated ways to do this, but it worked for me.

From what I remember correctly, I emptied the entire grid of any fill, leaving a couple thousand transparent boxes, placed my reference image underneath it in a separate layer, locking that layer, and then proceeded to fill in boxes.

These were all the various mocks and color options that were eventually thrown out for the final image. You can see that I started with a two-toned version, with pretty much the same colors as the reference image. I experimented with colors and decided that it need more depth and interest, so I split it out to 4, and then out to 6 (if you include the white). I also randomized the squares a bit more, creating a more sporadic, random effect. There were quite a few more in-between, but I can't find them all.

Here is where I landed with the final image, with the final color palette. We went with the greens because of how natural it feels, and its easy on the eyes. Unlike the harshness of the fire-dragon red above.



Now that the design was finalized for the most part, we moved onto figuring out the physical display. We decided at this point that it was going to be a bit more square. At this time we also knew where the video/photo shoot was going to take place, and taking the physical space into consideration, we wanted the final piece to be 11 feet tall, and 12 feet wide. That resulted in this image used for the creation of the physical display, cropped to fit the requirements of the space, and trying to keep the squares at 3 inches (post-it notes sized). The colors are slightly different at this stage to match Pantone colors for printing.

Knowing the dimensions of final image, we proceeded with ordering the square "post-it note" papers in the various colors. They weren’t actually post it notes, just 3 inch square papers that we got printed by a local printer. 

We split the design up into four pieces, knowing that we needed them to be transported easily. The display was made from .25 think particle board that we bought from Home Depot.

Now for the construction. We gathered all the wood boards, the papers, and spray adhesive that we also got at home depot, and start to apply the squares using the design as a map. This took a few hours, but with the help of a few volunteers, it came together quickly.

Once all the separate boards were completed, we waited until our video/photoshoot came around and transported to the studio space we rented. There is where we connected all the boards using 2x4's and a bunch of wood screws. I wish I had more photos of this process but it slipped my mind.

We only connected the columns, leaving 3 tall pieces that we could move around easily for the shoots. We shot 4 stories of forgiveness in the studio that were spread across 4 weekends, starting Easter weekend. We also captured a quick photo shoot to use for the marketing campaign for Easter and the series proceeding it.

Thats really about it. There are probably a few details that I missed, but for the most part I hit the major pieces. You can watch all of the videos over on River Valley's Youtube page.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me or tweet me.