If Brooke Bucherie, the force behind the uber-popular @Goodtype Instagram feed, has learned anything from her sizable social media presence (150,000 followers and counting), it’s this: stick to what you know and do it really well. However, the Austin, Texas-based designer didn’t start out trying to take over #typography; she was just trying to organize the growing photo album of hand-lettered pics on her phone. Now, what began as a personal obsession has grown into a design destination for lettering junkies to see inspiring work, interact with one another, and post their own projects. So how did it all happen? Turns out it was actually kind of an accident. Read the rest of the article here.
Operating out of studios more than 6,200 miles apart, partners Philipp Hubert (New York) and Sebastian Fischer (Stuttgart, Germany, but soon to be Berlin), of Hubert & Fischer (pictured above), have managed to create an enviable portfolio of exquisitely executed book designs, primarily featuring the work of artists, while subtly (or not so subtly) emphasizing the artists’ eccentricities on the page. They’ve garnered a bevy of awards for their editorial and type design from the Type Directors Club, Design Observer, from us at AIGA, and internationally from the Czech Republic, Japan, Germany, and Moscow. Read the rest here.
In 2011, Modern Dog cofounders Robynne Raye and Michael Strassburger, were facing a legal copyright battle with Disney Consumer Products and Target Corporation, and they had to make some difficult choices. If they pursued the copyright lawsuit against the mammoth companies, they would need as many resources as possible, which meant possibly going bankrupt and losing their business. Or they could give up, which is what a lot of small companies do when faced with this reality. Raye says she learned a valuable lesson from this case: “Copyright laws are pretty much set up to protect corporations, not people or small businesses, because they are the only ones who can afford to fight it.” If you’re not familiar with the case, you can read the back story here and here.
Fortunately for the design community, Modern Dog did fight back. After more than two and a half years of building a case and hiring attorneys and expert witnesses—which created a financial hardship for Raye and Strassburger—the defendants eventually settled with Modern Dog rather than going to trial. But, the damage was already done. In the process, they downsized and restructured Modern Dog, letting go of their employees, and selling the building that was home to their studio. Strassburger got a full-time job, and Raye teaches full time. Modern Dog is now a part-time endeavor.
However, instead of being bitter about this, they are relieved. After running a business for 28 years, they were burnt out. Raye says, “Every month we knew we had to pull in $25,000 just to keep the business going—paying employee salaries and health benefits, taxes, and everything else.” She also admits that many times her business judgment was clouded by emotions. “I’ve taken care of a lot people. Before I would pay myself, I did things like pay attorney’s to help sponsor H1B visa employees . Extra costs are really hard for most small businesses to absorb. I don’t regret any of it but I do realize that it did not necessarily make me a good manager. I just don’t want to take care of anyone any more.”
She adds, “It’s actually quite liberating not having a staff that’s dependent on you. I’m a lot happier and I’m making the same amount of money doing less projects because I don’t have all that overhead.” She brought Modern Dog home, literally, building a new office in the lower level of her home using some of the money from the sale of the studio. She and Strassburger now take on limited projects as Modern Dog, which allows them to pick and choose what’s right for them. “I have to be really careful not to overbook myself. If someone needs something fast, I can’t do it. After working this long in the field, I feel I’m entitled to working under different, and more realistic, conditions. My work is much better when I have time to think before I hit the paper or computer,” she says.
In the end, Raye has created a nice life/career balance. She teaches design full-time at Cornish College of the Arts, which still enables her to nurture people, without being emotionally and financially invested in their lives. She also loves the creative work she is now doing. She recently finished a big project for Nordstrom, in which she created cityscape illustrations for gift cards. When she showed the project to a friend—someone she’s known for 15 years—he said he had no idea she could do illustrations. It hit her, that as a business owner, she turned over this kind of work to her staff, rather than taking it on herself. “It’s so nice being able to do more of the creative. Working with Nordstrom was fun and I’m really proud of the work that I did for them.”
Arianna Orland’s innate curiosity has gotten her far in her career. Never satisfied with the status quo, she continually uses both inquiry and hustle to propel herself to grow and acquire the necessary skills to be successful. She refers to this process as “reinvention.”
Arianna has worked for several companies as a designer in many different capacities over in the past 15+ years—either as a full-time employee or consultant, and what she learned in the process is that she likes the independence and freedom associated with working for herself, because it keeps her perspective sharp and allows her to create across the breadth of her expertise. All of this freedom is not without its challenges. Arianna acknowledges “As a freelancer, you’re your only advocate. You have to understand what your time is worth and how to negotiate the best fees to maintain your business, no one else will do this for you but you.”
After leaving her last full-time job a year ago as Senior Director Creative of Global Brand at Zynga, she now runs her own consulting business, working with startups and Fortune 500 companies on creative direction, brand strategy, and user experience. Of course, never satisfied with just doing one thing, she also is the founder and proprietress behind Paper Jam Press, a letterpress poster and apparel business she founded in 2009.
“You know that expression if you really love something, it doesn’t feel like work? Paper Jam Press never feels like work to me. It feels like a source of inspiration, teaches me things all the time, and consistently reminds me why making things with our hands for other people to enjoy is the most magical thing we as designers can do.” she says.
Reinvention isn’t easy, especially when it comes to freelancing. Here, Arianna shares some advice for those adventurous souls looking to make the move from full-time employment to being self-employed. Read her tips here.
One designer with a penchant for the past took on a monumental design project that involved 50 designers, 50 days, and all 50 states. After he got fed up with poorly designed license plates, Jonathan Lawrence, lead designer at Matchstic in Atlanta, Georgia, started the State Plates Project and actually did something about it. Read rest of story here.
Montreal-based designers and art directors Julien Vallée and Eve Duhamel continually surprise and delight their clients (and their clients’ customers), by creating complex narratives that marry lo-fi, hand-rigged objects with high-end production techniques. The results are often mind-boggling and leave the viewer to wondering, “How’d they do that?” Their video and animation work for clients like Reebok, Hermès, MTV, Coca-Cola, and The New York Times Magazine, as well as a smattering of niche design publications and events, has garnered awards from Adweek, Communication Arts, and Applied Arts, among others. And Vallée, who’s also a Young Guns winner, has already had his monograph Rock, Paper, Scissors, the Work of Julien Vallée published by Gestalten. Read rest of story here.
In the February issue of Print, we reached out to highly respected type-design aficionados and asked them which type designers we should all be watching. Each person featured has a unique take on their craft, and has had success with at least one typeface.
Here are two more type designers to follow in 2015.
Sunnyside, NY; www.bertonhasebe.com
“Berton brings a freshness to typeface design that is rarely seen. His inventive fonts are reshaping the ways in which typographers, and their audience, are accustomed to thinking about type.” —Ken Barber
“While studying graphic design, I liked the idea of using the typefaces I drew in my own work. I appreciated the time and effort that went into making a typeface, and realizing how much experience is necessary motivated me to continue practicing,” Berton Hasebe says. Taking that initiative, he attended the Type and Media master’s program at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague. While there, he designed Alda, which started as an exploration of different weight characteristics of letterforms, comparing them to physical objects. He liked seeing how far he could push type design standards and create something that would still be relevant and useful. Although Hasebe still likes to push boundaries, he is a bit more practical in his approach. Read rest here.
Grand Rapids, MI; www.monotype.com
“Terrance is a terrific young designer whose work ranges from delightfully fanciful calligraphic lettering to industrial-strength sans serif typefaces—and pretty much everything in-between.” —Allan Haley
“When I found out that not all type designers are dead, and that it was a contemporary practice, I wanted to learn more,” Terrance Weinzierl recalls. “I remember exploring Adobe Caslon Pro in depth, and learning about OpenType features. Then, in an advanced typography class, I was assigned to design a typeface. I was hooked.” Read rest here.
Some people think that to be a successful creative business leader you need a killer instinct or take-all mentality. But Stanley Hainsworth, founder and chief creative officer of Tether, says true leadership requires generosity, compassion and a willingness to let others lead.
Stanley Hainsworth may be the most eccentric person I know, but he is also humble and kind, which may be the key to his success. I’ve witnessed the hoopla at industry conferences after he presents to the crowd. Creative professionals flock to him to ask questions, get advice, or just be near him (and his hair). Hainsworth exudes a certain je ne sais quoi and he takes time with everyone who approaches him, intently listening to their questions and offering guidance, all with a smile on his face.
Hainsworth single-handedly started Tether in 2008 after spending three and a half years as the chief creative officer of Starbucks. Since then, the creative firm has moved three times in its Pioneer Square neighborhood of Seattle to accommodate a growing staff of interactive, industrial and graphic designers, writers, and videographers. Tether now has 75 employees and a second studio in Portland, Ore.
I asked Hainsworth about his path to success and how he inspires his staff to continually churn out amazing work for clients such as BMW, Red Bull, Gatorade and more. Read the rest of the article here.