Staring At The Sun: Designing Eclipse Glasses

When I first heard about the eclipse coming to the US, I didn’t see it for the potential money-maker that it was.

I was just a year into running my own business and was already feeling like I’d bitten off more than I could chew. I’d spent over a decade working as a graphic designer for an electronics firm, during which time I’d felt that I’d reached my potential. Back then my day to day activities were made up of fairly menial tasks. My day would start with answering emails and then I’d crack on with my task list which was an endless ream of jobs that involved plastering the same company branding across a huge range of materials. The company was big, employing over 2,000 people at its peak. So, as is the case with any firm of this stature, they had a need for design work to be carried out over a huge variety products.

In any given week I could be putting together a 500-page catalogue, designing glass manifestations for the offices, polo shirts for the summer BBQ and new menus for the canteen. I certainly didn’t want for variety, over the course of 10 years I was presented with every imaginable challenge that a graphic designer could think of and I am pleased to say that I met them head on. But after 10 years, I’d grown tired of the same jobs popping up their heads again and again. The top brass were happy with the work I was doing, but they didn’t see any reason in paying me any more money than they already did. The time had come to leave!

Setting up my own business was a huge step for me and, despite the experience, one that I was surprisingly unprepared for. I’d never had to deal with my own accounts before, beyond paying taxes and I’d never had to market myself either. Suddenly, my little study at home was crammed full of papers and I was starting to wonder if I’d maybe made the wrong decision by leaving the security of my old job. The squeeze really came 2 months in. I’d started out solidly enough, picking up a couple of jobs here and there from contacts in the industry, but after these were done I had nothing left on my schedule and before I knew it, I was yearning for the endless task list at my last job.

My salvation came in the shape of an astrological event that I’d never thought would have any real bearing on my life. The upcoming total eclipse seemed to be a silly thing to get worked up about, but with this new spare time on my hand I decided to find a way to turn this hype into a money-making opportunity. I knew that eclipse glasses were a must-have for any viewing party, but I’d always noted how bland they often were. These flimsy spectacles were always so lifeless and dispensable. I took it upon myself give these utilitarian glasses a funky, novelty overhaul whilst retaining the practical benefits. With six months to go before the eclipse, I shopped my design around and found an interested buyer who invested in the idea and produced them en-masse.

This was the breakthrough I needed and why I’ll always keep a watchful eye on the stars from now on.