In the hands of a talented artist, an entire story can come to life through a single iconic image. Meet Levenger merchandising team member Lexi Fernandez, creator of the dramatic pen designs featured in both this year’s Ghost of Christmas Past and last year’s Ghost of Christmas Present pens.
The limited-edition Dickens pens, created as part of the exclusive partnership between Levenger and Retro 51, have become one of Levenger’s best-selling items of the holiday gift-giving season. The limited run of 750 pens sells out rapidly, seemingly at the blink of an eye.
When the idea of creating a three-pen series based upon Dickens’s beloved A Christmas Carol was conceived, Lexi reread the story and set upon doing some additional research, reviewing both the book’s original illustrations and more contemporary versions, as well as several movie adaptations, to come up with a motif that would work for all three pens in the series.
Creating a design for a pen is challenging in a technical sense, which is why Lexi decided upon a repeating pattern of a single image. “The design has to wrap around the pen and the seams have to match up, so the pattern has to be simple to work.”
To convey the story and characters within the slim confines of a pen barrel, Lexi relied on symbolism and her learned discipline of printmaking, which she studied while pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Florida Atlantic University. (Printmaking involves the creation of pictures or designs by printing them from specially prepared plates or blocks.)
She selected a single iconic image to capture the essence of the ‘spirit’ depicted on each pen. For Christmas Present, she chose the torch wielded by the jolly Father Christmas-like apparition. For Christmas Past, the flickering candle held by Scrooge represents his journey into past memories.
For the backgrounds, she created a filigree background as might appear in the wallpaper and decor of Scrooge’s Victorian mansion – the present in vivid red, the past in a deep shade of evergreen.
Lexi’s Christmas Carol designs also appear on Retro 51’s tubular storage box that can be used as a pen stand, and a set of 2 Christmas Carol Notebooks bearing both the Past and Present designs is now available as a seasonal offering.
What about next year’s pen, The Ghost of Christmas Future? What will that one look like? Lexi just smiles enigmatically and shakes her head. “That’s a trade secret. You’ll just have to wait and see...”
Her love of art and talent for design notwithstanding, Lexi is equally passionate about the day-to-day duties of her job in merchandising, chiefly product design and development. She describes her merchandising job at Levenger as “a perfect 50/50 balance,” utilizing her creative skills as well as her sharp analytical mind, satisfying both left-brain and right-brain affinities.
Though Lexi’s career path has taken her in the direction of the business of merchandising, she still says creativity is her driving force. In addition to printmaking, she also dabbles in watercolor painting, drawing and sketching (you may spy Lexi’s sketches in the product photographs of the Virtuoso Leather Artist’s Portfolio). She loves being called upon to use her artistic talents to create new Levenger products.
“Being part of a small team gives me opportunities I wouldn’t have in a larger company. As a product merchant, I wouldn’t be designing artwork for pens and notebooks. This is a creative release for me, and it’s nice that people get to see it...”