All right guys.  Let’s not waste any time here, okay? It’s V-day and wife is waiting for me upstairs. (Cue salacious music.)

So, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. I’ve looked over my sketches in this post, and well… while there’s a lot to be proud of there, I just don’t know if I’ve opened myself up to options enough. You know? Sometimes the thing that’s best for us is what we don’t expect. Sometimes the thing that’s best for us ends up being the thing that somebody else has made with Photoshop and experience. (If I remember correctly, that last sentence was a direct quote from Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac.)

At the same time… my stuff is really compelling and really symbolizes a lot for me, and I got a really really good response when I posted them the other day.

Truth is, I’m pretty conflicted.

So, I’ve decided to put it all up for a vote. I’ll post the several submissions that people have made, and then I’ll ask you all to vote for the one that you like the best. I’ll also provide some critical feedback on these ones. Try really hard not to think about this:

or this:

as you look at these and cast your vote. That might be hard to do, but it’s what I sincerely ask. Think of it as a V-day present to yours truly.

All right! Be fair, okay guys?! And be nice. These are real people, and sometimes not everybody can have as much visual arts talent as me their peers. No hatin’.

First, Shane Hopkins, who blogs over at meaty chunks contributed this as a possibility:

Great effort, Shane! Let’s all give him a round of applause! (circles hand around while clapping like a sixty-seven-year-old grandpa who doesn’t realize that obnoxious joke isn’t funny anymore)

Okay, I’ll start out with the good stuff. Shane, great spelling of my name. You didn’t mess that up at all! You did so great at that. And you also made all your graphics fit in the square, so great job there too! And… well, yeah. That’s pretty much it. So good job, man!

As far as some constructive criticism, I don’t have to much too say, other than: 1. I like green not blue 2. the name is “THE Weed” not just “Weed” 3. It’s too blocky and not rectangly enough 4. was the word “weed” drawn with actual chalk? 5. if I’m being honest, the seeds floating in the air remind me of banana seeds and I’m allergic to bananas and 6. I can’t tell if the background is sky or water 7. the brightness of the white hurts my eyes and 8. I forgot what I was going to say but I had already typed 8. and I don’t want to press the backspace because I’m lazy.

Also, I think you mentioned that the seeds blowing in the wind were supposed to be connected to my ADHD in some way. Honestly, I take offense to that a bit. The fact of the matter is that

Next, we have a submission by Jessica Shumway who blogs over at Shumway. Here was her generous offering:

Great try, Jessica!!

As always, first, the good: What a neat font you chose! And you spelled all the words correctly, just like Shane did. You also got the color green in there, which I love because of its multifaceted implications that are so directly tied to me as a person (weed the drug, weed the plant, my eye color, the color of the shirt I’m wearing right now, the color of my uncle Ted’s face when he turned into a monster in a recurrent nightmare I had as a little boy, etc.).

Constructive criticism: WOW, okay, just where do I start here guys? (chuckles condescendingly) So, first? The bubbles thing? Not really my bag. I’m a dude. Not a chick. Not a chick who likes round circular shapes. I’m a man. I need manly graphics. Like guns and remote controls and tools and maybe some squares or the silhouettes of naked ladies you seen on big trucks’ mudflaps or something like that (except that would be totally inappropriate). So, there’s that. Second, my blog is not a carbonated beverage. Third, I think maybe if you had taken a look at my previous work-ups (I know I said to forget about those as we look at these, but how can you when it’s right there near the top of this post?!) you’d see that there are a LOT more shades of green that are maybe a bit more compelling than this one.

Anyway, other than that, I think it was a solid effort! Better luck next time!

Next we have a contribution from Halie Looper who blogs at so awful. gimme more:

Same routine–first the good: Okay, I can tell you spent a lot of time on this, which is something I really don’t understand because I’m able to produce my ideas in mere seconds and have them look like someone spent SO much time on them, but not everyone is like that and I realize that, so I appreciate the time you took with this. Like everyone else, you absolutely nailed the spelling of my name! So, great job! What else? Hmmm (thinky face). Yeah. I got nothing.
Let’s go into the constructive criticism: UM, is that supposed to be a picture of someone I know? I mean, seriously who is this even a picture of? Were you drawing Lionel Richie, my wife’s celebrity crush?

For future reference, Halie, you’ll have to draw a shirt that’s almost falling off for Lionel.
I get the impression that Halie was trying to draw me, but I just… I don’t see it. Let me find a random picture of myself to compare, hold on. (Rustles around on computer for a moment.) Okay, here’s the juxtaposition.
I’m completely baffled. It’s like looking at apples and oranges.(Me and my brother Chad.)
Sorry Hales! That was sure a nice effort though. 
My brother, Chris, made a contribution, and this one was evocative for me:
Okay, the good (and there’s a lot of it–apparently visual arts talent might have a genetic component, because we are MAD TALENTED as brothers as you can see, but I don’t mean to brag.) So, did you see what he did here? In a really subtle way, Chris artfully included various items that are a part of me, like Ritalin and my family and the violin and poop.  And he did it so unobtrusively. It’s almost like you can’t even tell this was for a logo–it’s just so seamless. This one kind of gives me chills. And then, as you look closer, you get to the real gem of this piece: my eyes. He totally captured both the good eye, and the bad eye. One an emerald green and the other… well you just have to look closely. There kind of are no words.
Constructive Criticism. Okay, Chris, next time… wow. I have sat here trying to think of something, but I’m just… speechless. Thanks for contributing, man. Yours just made my night. (starts a slow, awkward clap that builds into a fast, awkward one-person clap)
Lastly, we have blogger Lindsay Moore who has a design blog called Found for You and Me.
Lindsay wanted me to mention that there were other possible tag lines for hers:
… get addicted
… to put it bluntly
… blunt and to the point (also featured on the news bar at the top of the graphic)
What a hard worker you are, Lindsay! What great enthusiasm, you including some other tag lines for… this. Thanks!
So, I’m tired and wife is still waiting. Let’s make this short, k?
Good: Great spelling!
C.Crit.: EVERYTHING IS WRONG AND WHY CAN’T YOU PEOPLE BE TALENTED LIKE ME WHEN IT COMES TO GRAPHIC ARTS AND DESIGN????????
All right everyone, the vote is in your hands. Now listen carefully. Do not, and I repeat do not include my graphics in your voting, even if that’s hard. I already know what you think about my work and how amazing it is! I want you to give these awesome people who submitted to this competition they didn’t realize was going to be a competition an opportunity to learn from their really obvious and somewhat embarrassing mistakes. I think it’s time for them to stretch and grow. So, whose do you like best? Shane’s, Jessica’s, Halie’s, Chris’s (Psst, no pressure, but AMAZING) or Lindsay’s

UPDATE: Jessica Shumway has offered something I think is pretty fancy. I’m thinking of calling it the smorgasbord. I, for one, am pretty awe-struck by it. She even tilted some of them which makes it look so professional and sleek. Feel free to throw it in the running…

 Who says you can’t have the best of five worlds???