Here’s a sweet project I get to be a part of. The talented footsie-mate I work with at Tether, Evan MacDonald has a design miscellany site called varymuch.com. He recently started a project called The Every Letter Project, where he invites 27 designers to each design a letter in the alphabet. Each design then gets carved into a 6 in. x 6 in. linoleum block (2 colors per letter) and gets letterpressed onto a single poster size sheet. 100 editions will be printed and sold. The proceeds will go directly towards 826 Seattle, a nonprofit that supports child literacy. Here’s some work in progress by me and fellow designers on the project.
Jon Contino is a recent favorite and inspiration to me in my work and creative endeavors. He is a Brooklyn based designer and letterer who has a well-established style of his own. His hand-drawn type is as unique as it is diverse and has a clear voice that resounds with themes of unity, patriotism, and a strong work ethic. In addition to the relentless grind of competing for work in New York, Jon has found the time and energy to startup a really nice clothing brand for men. Also, I was browsing around on his online portfolio, and found that he has a blog where he features a lot of newer work, his processes, and questions to answers that various people email him. I think this is great — that he has the humility to answer questions in support of the bigger design community. I always admire people who take the time to do this and find ways to make themselves accessible in the midst of a successful career. Check out the full collection of his work here.
There’s always a sense of pride with doing something with your own bare hands.
Now that I’m able to actually produce the stuff that I like, I find more inspiration in the people around me who do other things.
Dana Tanamachi is the next Letterer/Design that I would like to spotlight. Many people (especially in the design world) are starting to become more familiar with her work because of how unique her medium is. Dana carefully creates large type-based chalk murals that are elegant and beautiful. Her process is actually pretty simple, and has less forethought than I would have imagined. She starts with a really basic sketch and then works out the details as she is creating the final piece, adding chalk and erasing with a wet rag. Either way, her control of the medium and ability and balance ornate scripts with bold serifed type is impressive and worthy of accolades. It is no wonder that she interned at Louise Fili Ltd. I think there is also something really fascinating about the fragile and temporary nature of each piece. Check out her work below or her entire portfolio here. There is also a really interesting interview with her at The Great Discontent.
All of my pieces are temporary — I haven’t sealed one of them. I like it the way they are, that they could be destroyed any minute. I love making them, and then they serve a purpose, and then they’re gone.
Sometimes your limitations can be a launching pad into an unexpected story.
— Dana Tanamachi via “The Great Discontent”
So I’ve decided to do a short series of blog entries based off of hand-lettering geniuses who have inspired me in a lot of my more recent work. If “Typography is what language looks like,” then these designers/illustrators are giving her the amazing personality to go along with the looks. It is the unique voice that hand-lettering gives to typography that I find so attractive. It seems to me to be the perfect balance between design and illustration and the fine art craftsmanship that is not going anywhere. And so, (begin drumroll) I’d like to start this thing off with a bang by introducing…Erik Marinovich! (Loud applause now).
Erik works alongside illustration/lettering superstar Jessica Hische at TitleCase in San Francisco. I first became aware of his work a few years ago via the Friends of Type blog, which he cofounded with a few other type enthusiasts and is updated regularly with some really amazing custom lettering samples and several guest appearances. Erik’s work is really beautiful, clean, and loaded with type experimentation, a commendable sense of craft, and diversity. His control of any given medium to create type just blows my mind. I have selected a few images to showcase below, but his online portfolio is definitely worth more attention if you are into that kind of thing.