Windjammer Landing - "Yes/No" Decision Coins - St Lucia, 2010


The Background

It all started out as a bit of light-hearted fun at the Manager's Cocktail Party at the St Lucia resort, "Windjammer Landing". For several years, the staff at Windjammer had been made to wear bright yellow "smiley" buttons, bearing the legend, "Yes, I Will!". Brian thought it would be fun to make a badge with a "cross" looking face, with the text, "No, I Won't", and in Summer 2007, proceeded to acquire one of the buttons ...

Windjammer Button

Back home in the UK, the button was carefully photographed, and Photoshop was used to reduce it to a clean monochrome bitmap; this bitmap was then converted into a vector format using CorelTRACE!, to allow subsequent modifications to be carried out with ease and without any drop in image quality.

Photo, Bitmap and Vectors

Once in vector format, the image was imported into CorelDraw, where a number of variations were made: the mouth was inverted and the eyes slanted, in order to create angry or confused expressions, and a variety of text legends were added, some of them in Kweyol, the St Lucian Creole language. Brian used the Bitstream font, "Impress", which was a close match to the original.

Theme and Variations

Travelling with a portable Canon photo printer, a Bonzer spirits measure and a trimming knife, Brian printed and cut out a large number of cardboard buttons one wet afternoon during his Winter 2008 visit: the spirit measure was exactly 38mm in diameter, the same size as the buttons, and so provided a perfect template around which to cut to produce accurate circular badges.

Wearing a badge labelled "No, I Won't!", and with dozens more in his pocket to give out to anyone who asked, Brian went to the Manager's Cocktail Party. Several of the staff wondered why I was wearing one of their badges, but a few minutes later, someone noticed the new wording and frowning face: moments later, everyone was asking where I got it, and how could they have one, and so on. The pocketful of assorted badges disappeared in minutes, becoming "hot property". And that's when an idea began to form ...

Somewhat taken aback by the effusively enthusiastic reception of his cardboard badges, Brian wondered how much better it would be, if he could somehow produce a coin or medal, with "Yes, I Will!" on the obverse, and "No, I Won't" on the reverse: he was sure such coins would be popular among the resort's staff and guests alike, and would result in much fun as they were tossed or spun to help make decisions! The only question was, how to set about doing it?

Creating the Coin

After trawling the web, and emailing dozens of potential suppliers, from legitimate mints and model railway brass plate foundries, to laser-etching services and CNC-equipped engineering companies, Brian finally found a potential source for his coins: now it was time to start the design process.

Brian wanted to get a consistent appearance between the original words on the obverse, and those he had substituted for them on the reverse: this meant starting over with the lettering, replacing all text elements from the scanned/imported badge, and retaining just the mouth and eyes from the original. Using CorelDRAW!, and the Bitstream "Impress" font, Brian replaced the wording, removing an annoying "." was removed from "St Lucia", and putting his web address onto the reverse.

New Lettering in BT Impress

Before going into production, Brian created a simulation of the coin's appearance in Photoshop: he didn't want to receive 100 lumps of solid brass without knowing whether or not they would look any good!

Simulated Coins

Happy with the simulated appearance of his coins, Brian submitted his vector design to the suppliers as an EPS file, and quoted a credit card number, before waiting to see what would happen next. About a week and a half later, a courier arrived with a heavy packet from China: the first batch of 100 coins had arrived, and they looked even better in real life than anyone could have expected!

The Real Coins

Brian took his coins out to St Lucia in January 2010, some 2 years after he'd first produced the cardboard badges, and they were a great success: in fact, on return home, Brian had to order a second batch of 100 coins, because everyone seemed to want one, and he'd simply run out of supplies!

Coins in the Sunshine

Click on the links below to find out about some other coin designs: