A Bearded Lady & A Hoarsefly Walk Into a Bar

Whoa, Nelly!
Zombies, Cannibals, and Blood Lust Bambie?
Abi Daniel  is Out There. Waaaay Out There.

Whether mixing inks at Bearded Lady print shop or crafting logos at Hoarsefly Design & Illustration, Abi Daniel is constantly refining and reimagining her creative output. You’d never know that illustrator/designer Abi Daniel started her career drawing zombies, wookies, and spaceships, as a concept artist at Sony Online Entertainment, as much of her work now has a broader, more ephemeral appeal.

After leaving Sony to find her own creative voice, she discovered that she really loved printmaking and etching. She eventually met and married designer Josh Chalmers in Austin, Texas, who runs Bearded Lady, a screen printing shop. She now helps him run the print shop and does client work under her moniker, Hoarsefly. Read the rest here.

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Roxy Prima On Going Out On Her Own

Roxy Prima will be one of three instructors teaching “The Business of HandLettering,” for Modern Thrive next month. Here she tells us how she got started as a one-woman design/lettering/illustration shop, and how she keeps busy and promotes her work.

I started my business after a long time of being unsatisfied working full-time as a graphic designer in the media industry. I had always craved the freedom of working for myself, but it took me a long time before I felt like I could really take that leap. Once I decided that my goal would be to work for myself, I started taking on as many freelance projects as possible, while still working a full-time job. I would get up early to work before I went to my job, and after my eight hours, I would work well into the night and on weekends. Essentially I was working two full time jobs! It wasn’t easy, but the idea of eventually working for myself was a great motivator. Read the rest of her story, here.

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When Past Meets Present the Future is Brighter

Dream the Impossible Dream: Craig Welsh Restores a Masterpiece

A Nearly Forgotten Font, Euclid, Is Resurrected Through a
Nearly Lost Art Form: Wood Type.

Though Alvin Lustig left this earth more than 60 years ago, his modern design influence has left an indelible mark in design history. It’s hard to believe that he died so young, at age 40—when most of us are hitting our career stride—considering his output and influence in mid-century modern design. Thankfully, his widow, Elaine Lustig Cohen, carried on his legacy and has ensured his works would never be forgotten.

In 2010, the book Born Modern, written by Steven Heller and Lustig-Cohen, was published. It encompasses Lustig’s design accomplishments and details his theories on design. It also talked about his influences in typography, which sparked an idea for designer Craig Welsh of Go Welsh, based in Lancaster, Pa. He wanted to revive a font originally designed by Lustig in 1930, called Euclid, and turn it into a woodtype font family. Welsh, who holds degrees in architecture and graphic design, is an avid student of design history, typography, and poster design. His work has been published on both sides of the Atlantic and he has won recognition at every major design show and publication. Read the rest here.

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Windy Chien on Pricing and Selling Handmade Goods

Artist and maker Windy Chien has never been one to follow a typical life path. She happily admits that she’s probably had three or four lives before going out on her own to start her handmade business, where she’s best known for her eclectic, hand-carved wooden spoons.

She spent 14 years running and owning San Francisco’s oldest record shop, Aquarius Records, where she only sold music she loved — from Norwegian black metal to Brazilian Tropicalia, Ethiopian jazz to Jamaican rock steady, and noise, indie, punk, krautrock and more.

Then, she spent eight years with iTunes and Apple’s App Store, picking the best songs for iTunes’ mixtape series and the best apps to be featured on the front page of the App Store. “The thread that ties those careers together is that I was evangelizing and presenting the artists I love to the world. And that was great for my 20s and 30s, but when I hit my late 40s, it wasn’t satisfying anymore. I realized I was spending my days sitting at a desk and looking at great work roll across my computer screen,” Chien explains. “I decided it was time to nurture my own creativity. I spent so many years promoting other artists, musicians, and creatives, I like to think I’ve earned my ‘me’ time.” Read the rest here.

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Wink & Wonder: Hand-Lettering Goodness

An art director by day, and crafting letters by night, Joanna Munoz is burning the candle at both ends, and loving it.

Wink & Wonder was originally created just for fun, as a way to get back into my love of illustration by making cute greeting cards. I got engaged not long after starting out and my work suddenly shifted towards calligraphy/lettering as I documented the process of creating stationery and signage for our wedding. Everything else just kind of fell into place from there,” Munoz says.”I stumbled across the Goodtype Instagram feed and was hooked. I felt like I struck gold finding a really great community to be a part of. Once my work was featured a few times, I started to receive freelance inquiries from clients who saw my stuff through various places online. Between that and word-of-mouth referrals, my business grew organically.”

She’s always loved lettering but it wasn’t until she bought the book Hand Job: A Catalog of Type by Michael Perry that she realized artists were mashing up drawing and type, and it hit a chord. “It’s as if someone opened a door to a whole new world for me,” she explains, adding, “Despite that ah-ha moment, I really had no idea what to do with hand-lettering or where to take it, but if you look at my very first Instagram posts, I still managed to (subconsciously) incorporate it into my work.”

Although Munoz still works full-time, she consistently shares and promotes her lettering work on Instagram. “A lot of where I am today I owe to GoodType, for not only promoting my work but also for keeping me inspired, especially when I’m in a creative rut. I’m especially drawn to artists who not only have insane raw talent, but who have really great conceptual ideas, pay attention to detail, and use their platform to share inspiring messages,” she says. Read the rest here.

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Five Brand Personalities

Bombarded with thousands of messages daily, successful brands must constantly evolve to reach discerning subsets of the marketplace. All hispanics are not equal. All Catholics are not family friendly. All women do not love Hillary. Brands have “personalities” that appeal to specific people for specific reasons. Like people, companies put out vibes. Disney is family cheerful; FedEx is precise; Tiffany is luxurious. Duluth Trading Company is frank about “breaking wind.” You get the point.

Bill Gardner of LogoLounge explains that demographics today are not enough. You have to dig deeper to understand the personality of your buyer so you can create rhetorical and visual messages that will connect with them. ”For years experts told us the best way to measure the perception of products and companies was to analyze the demographics,” notes Gardner, “but demographics may only speak broadly—age range, male or female, ethnicity, religion, etc. When you define groups only by their demographics, you make generalizations. Demographics are not enough.”

Let’s face it: Many brand personalities are “aspirational.” People want to own/use them, because they believe it will make them look younger, smarter, richer, stronger, more handsome/beautiful, etc. Companies bank on this when building their brand. For instance: Most people who wear Nike athletic shoes, are doing it to make a fashion statement, not because they are athletes themselves.

Demographics Generalize, Psychographics Personalize

“Demographics may tell you who your potential buyers are, but they do little good when trying to define specific reasons for brand appeal. It’s a bad way to measure. You have to take the demographic blindfold off.” —Bill Gardner, LogoLounge

Instead, Gardener suggests examining buyer personalities—psychographics—to gain more insight into brand appeal and human motivation. There are five common traits that businesses possess, Gardner says, but no company possesses only one or another. Not all designers have the budget to do wide demographic/psychographic testing and market research, but getting to know the client and the product is certainly the starting point to any logo project—and, researching the competition. “If you’re dealing with companies in the same niche, you’re not going to stray terribly far from them, but at the same time, we’re all trying to find that special sauce that is unique to the client,” he says. “It really comes down to experience an intuition. Experience will tell you, not to use a whimsical mark for bank.” Here are some examples of these common traits and the markets they appeal to:

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Ruggedness

Caterpillar, Dodge Ram Trucks, and Timberland are brands that suggestion ruggedness, strength, love of outdoors, durability, and muscle. “This class used to belong solely to men, but more and more women are buying these products, so the appeal is a little more broadly defined than it was in the past. It’s still rugged and strong, but women are just as likely to be attracted to these product characteristics as men—or perhaps in lieu of them.” Let’s face it: Sometimes a woman’s pick-up is more reliable than her man. You can read about the other four brand personalities, here.

Design Links: Three Hand-Lettering Artists

Editor’s Note: This is part 19 in Emily Potts’ inspirational series, Design Links. Every other week she features three artists whose work offers fresh, fun, and stimulating creative inspiration. Each artist picks the next link—someone who personally inspires him/her. Check out the last part in the series, featuring Raw Color, The Bouroullecs, and Sabine Marcelis.

I’m enamored with hand-lettering lately, especially when it’s done at a large scale on walls and murals, so I want to feature the work of …

Alex Fowkes

Alex does these amazingly cool mural projects for clients like Sony and Urban Outfitters. He can fill walls with letters and art, and make it look so easy. I had the pleasure to work as his editor for Drawing Type, a book that features not only his work, but the work of 73 other lettering artists from around the world. He’s generous and kind on top of being incredibly talented.

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Alex’s work for Urban Outfitters blows my mind, not only for its sheer scale, but the details he imbues with each letter and illustration. To date, he’s done murals in several outlets in the UK and Europe, but each is distinctly different. The Munich store, in particular, reminds me of walking into a scene in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, with painted lightboxes extruding from the walls providing a dimensional, surreal experience. Watch this time-lapse video that shows Alex creating this amazing atmosphere.

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On a much smaller scale, Alex set the type style and created some hand-drawn slogans for Addlestones Free Range Cider campaign. Each element of the campaign has a different hand-lettered style that perfectly coincides with the statement being made.

To see who inspires Alex, continue reading here.