Putting Your Best Font Forward

Finding the perfect typeface for your next project takes skill and know-how. Here we put together three different takes on type and why they work so well.

Type says a lot about a brand. Letters are a language in themselves, communicating personality traits like sophistication, simplicity, and whimsy. They can shout or they can whisper. It’s also very subjective, so knowing your audience is critical. With so many typefaces to choose from, it can be overwhelming—and nearly impossible—to make the right choice for your client.

The following projects demonstrate vastly different type applications, with compelling results that speak to their intended audiences.

Herschel’s Coffee Co.

Design: Mustafa Akülker, co-founder, Monajans

Usually, the simpler a logo is, the better. Such is the case for the logo mark for Herschel’s Coffee Co., in Amsterdam, designed by Mustafa Akülker of Monajans. “I wanted the design to be very minimal, so I used a sans serif for the logotype, but then went with an italic serif Hs for the optional logo in contrast,” he says. “I like the softness of the brand with the italic font.”

The Hs can stand alone as an identifier or be used with the full name of the coffee shop. When used with the name, it’s like the crown jewel—that added touch of elegance. The soft curves of the uppercase H next to the lowercase s, create an almost theatrical overture.

A big part of the success of this identity is also the subtle, yet distinct, color palette. “You can see various tones of brown by imagining coffee beans and milk mixed together,” he notes. “I also wanted to emphasize the memorability of the brand by using blue because it’s a nice companion to brown. It adds sophistication and class, much like how I envision a discerning coffee drinker.”

Pro Tip: It can be tricky pairing a sans serif with a serif. Test many variations and ask others their opinions about what is and isn’t working and why.

Molbak’s Garden + Home

Design: Cindy Tyler

When you have a beautiful product, show it off with great photography. There’s nothing more luminous and captivating than the natural landscape, and Molbak’s Garden + Home store, in Woodinville, Wash., uses photography to great effect in their seasonal promotions featuring lush, living plants. Designer Cindy Tyler explains, “Appealing photography is essential, as is the styling. We aren’t just selling plants, we are also selling ideas and inspiration.”

For instance, Molbak’s Lookbook provides recipes, gardening tips, and useful information about plant varietals so consumers make the right choices when purchasing plants to harvest. The photos are often featured full page, with content creatively overlaid. The hand-lettered headers were part of an overall brand strategy incorporated a few years ago to create a more hands-on, friendly feel, similar to chalkboard lettering. However, due to the volume of materials she produces, Tyler says, “It’s not possible to have them actually done by hand, so I went with the next best thing – a computer-generated font that looks hand-drawn. We also use our standby sans serif face (Myriad Pro) for larger amounts of copy.” And it works. Coupons, mailers, and the website all incorporate this open, inviting style.

Pro Tip: When placing type over photos, find the greatest contrast and most visually interesting layout to draw the reader in and complement the imagery.

 

Maisons Paysannes de France

Design: Graphéine

Art direction and type design: Jérémie Fesson

Motion design: Philip de Canaga

The Maisons Paysannes de France was formed in 1965 to preserve buildings and rural landscapes that were abandoned during the rural exodus. However, more than 50 years later, its identity was outdated and overlooked so the association commissioned Graphéine to bring the brand to life. Art director, Jérémie Fesson, did just that by designing an entire alphabet, called MPF Display. The letters in this dedicated typeface can be dismantled and shifted to create patterns evoking construction and movement of architectural elements. Every visual form was considered from the accent marks and punctuation, to the dot on the i.

The stencil lettering, in essence, deconstructs to create unique, decorative elements that are in constant flux. The letter variables are played out in print and online. There’s even a video demonstrating the fluidity of the letter parts and the different ways they can be played out. Each element flutters and flows beautifully on its own and when firmly planted in place on its letterform. “Some letters, like the a and s, have several different writings: This small detail—which often goes unnoticed at first–gives a singularity to the graphics that represents the spirit of a peasant house,” says Fesson.

Pro Tip: Be sure to consider every moving part, including letterspacing and punctuation when designing an entire alphabet. Each detail is critical to its success.

Designers Lead the Charge in the Retail Revolution

Although we’ve seen many huge retailers downsize (like the Gap) and some close altogether (Toys R Us), you’d be surprised to know that there was a 58% increase in store openings in 2017, according to a study by Fung Global Retail and Technology. Amazon even made the leap to brick and mortar through pop-up stores and by purchasing Whole Foods. Surprisingly, a lot of this has to do with Gen Z and millennials who prefer to shop in-store vs. online. Granted, they gather intel and find the items online, but then head to an actual store to make the purchase.

This is good news for brands and designers who are marketing to these segments. Direct mail, gift cards and packaging still play an indelible role in purchasing decisions at the store. According to Liz Burnett, principal at Matchbox Studio in Dallas, “As consumer behavior changes, brands are starting to design packaging and in-store experiences with social media in mind.” She cites a study by Contract Packaging Association that says, “Nearly 40% of consumers say they’ll regularly share product packaging that is ‘gifty’ or ‘interesting’ on social media.” With that in mind, she says, “Thoughtfully designed packaging and collateral pieces entice customers to share products with their followers on Instagram, which can boost brand awareness and word-of-mouth.”

Matchbox Studio was commissioned by Neenah Paper to design the Retail Revolution promotion which features several examples of printed materials that can help boost retail sales in the luxury market. “In the luxury retail environment, details matter. A great deal of care is taken to make luxury brands look and feel great. It’s the little things that mean the most to a customer – right down to the paper choices a brand makes to elevate its message. With personal health and wellness markets growing ever popular, we chose to focus on four brands that illustrate consumer aspirations to look and feel great as well,” Burnett notes.

“Today, shoppers are paralyzed by choice in almost every purchase category. Strong branding and premium paper can cut through the noise and help sell products. The product itself must be able to deliver on its promises, but the packaging and collateral alone can do a lot of the heavy lifting,” she says.

For the Neenah promo, the designers at Matchbox conceived four luxury brands that are influenced by major brands in the same category: The athleisure brand, Knetics, was inspired by Uniqlo, Lululemon, and Nike; the men’s apothecary brand, Pack, was inspired by Kiehl’s and C.O. Bigelow; Desert Mothers spa, was inspired by Four Seasons and The Springs Resort; Odyssey was inspired by Blue Apron and HelloFresh.

Below, she explains the significance of each piece they designed for the promo.

The first section of the promo is called “How to Get Customers in the Door,” which has become an increasingly harder task as consumers are relying more on online shopping, so we highlighted three pieces get them there and keep them coming back: a direct-mail postcard, a gift card, and a colorful hangtag. ColorCom has reported, “Colors can increase brand recognition by 80 percent.” Once customers are in the door, a branded color alone can drive them to purchase a product.”

The next section, “How to Engage and Excite Customers In-Store,” demonstrates how proper branding paired with premium papers can excite and encourage purchases. The featured pieces include an attention-grabbing business card that used foil and Neenah’s memorable CLASSIC COLUMNS finish; a product display card; and an interactive package piece to help illustrate that shoppers often select products based on the packaging.

Sending the right message at the right time is crucial. In “How to Spread the Word,” we wanted to show how premium papers can make memorable first impressions. We designed a large event invite and envelope and a prism-shaped brochure filled with fictional spa treatments like “Vision Quest Meditation” and “Sweet Nectar Body Wrap” that could draw in customers who are interested in unique or VIP experiences.

In “How to Build A Following,” we created a meal-kit subscription service brand, Odyssey, to illustrate how online subscription services are building brand loyalty by using curated, personalized print materials.

Let’s move the Retail Revolution forward, by designing jaw-dropping print materials that draw customers in and keep them coming back for more!

Enticing Menu Designs

Beyond offering a selection of food and beverage items, a good menu design is an extension of the restaurant’s identity, it’s well organized and easy to read, and hopefully it’s appetizing. Here, we offer up several menu designs with decidedly different ethnic and cultural offerings.

Köksbordet is a family-style restaurant serving locally produced foods in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Designer Björn Berglund, who’s known for his hand-lettering, was tasked with creating the identity. Köksbordet literally means “kitchen table,” so he intentionally made the o’s look like a round table, and the wavy baseline for the word indicates the restaurant’s close proximity to the sea.

Once the logo was determined, Berglund focused on a color palette derived from the natural ingredients served at the restaurant, and he worked with illustrator Fanny Schultz, who drew the imagery. “I love to collaborate on larger projects, if you find the right partner. The overall quality is so much better,” he says. The illustrations are used on the menus, business cards, and on the website.

“The menu basically follows the rest of the identity – but it´s important for me that it´s easy to navigate and that it makes you hungry and ready to order,” Berglund explains. He designed a simple template so the owners could easily update the menu offerings each day, and could be printed on a basic printer.

Common Bowlery, San Pedro, Mexico

Design: La Tortilleria

Common Bowlery invites patrons to select ingredients and create their own bowl of goodness. The menu features an array of fruits, vegetables and legumes to let customers mix and match according to their tastes. La Tortilleria created a complete identity system for the restaurant, starting with a name that fit the offerings, and then devised a unique logo that incorporates a custom hand-written style for the word Common, and a robust sans serif typeface for Bowlery.

Zita Arcq, cofounder of La Tortilleria, says, “When we created the brand colors, we knew from the start that we didn’t want to use the typical broccoli-green hues so overused in health-centered restaurants. Instead, we developed a color scheme inspired by lemons and mint. This harmonious blend proved to be a winning combination and was used on every communication application, and on the interior decoration, including the menu.”

Counter Reformation, Palm Springs, California

Design: Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich

This wine bar/restaurant is located within the swanky Parker Hotel, which also houses two other two other restaurants. “When the owner was throwing out ideas for the name, he came up with Counter Reformation, and we started working with the idea of tongue and cheek religious themes,” explains designer Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich, who is well known for his restaurant identities around the world. “Palm Springs is a unique place with a very liberal demographic that appreciates the antics of the branding.”

And the branding plays heavy on humor. For instance, the coaster imitates a holy wafer, the check is presented in an old hollowed out hymnal, and there are murals by the entrance depicting praying hands holding a liquor bottle. De Cumptich went so far as to recreate actual characters from old medieval manuscripts for the menus to create a masterful arrangement, sure to elicit a chuckle or two from customers.

El Vez, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich

El Vez is a Mexican restaurant with locations in New York City and Philadelphia. With the opening of its third establishment in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., the owners worked with de Cumptich to establish the identity. “The owners like to mix the spirit of the city with Mexican culture and folklore, which is why each restaurant has a different theme. Ft Lauderdale is a tourist beach destination, with a big spring break contingency, so we wanted to convey the hedonism of sun-filled beaches that is part of the locale,” he explains.

“When you design a series of menus, they have to be identifiable at a glance and have a general common theme to unify them. ‘Day of the Dead’ themes are a bit cliché, and often expected in a Mexican restaurant, but on closer inspection you see what the skeletons are doing with each other, and it makes you smile and laugh,” de Cumptich notes. “We want customers to be part of the joke and laugh with us.”

Each menu features a different position—and he admits he had to tone down some of the depictions. The illustrations are paired with a geometric mosaic and printed in a warm or cool gradient to resemble popular printing techniques found in Mexico.

 

Trendspotting 2018: Editorial Design

Whether you’re designing for a print or online publication, many rules are the same with the goal being legibility. If users can’t read it or don’t understand the hierarchy, you’re going to lose them. Trends in editorial design have run the gamut from over-the-top imagery and graphics, to sparsely inhabited pages of floating type in a sea of white space. And what works for one publication doesn’t work for another, so it’s completely subjective.

Designers Xavier Schoebel and Amélie Lecocq have plenty of experience working in publication design in France for cultural institutions like the Louvre and Pompidou Center. Both teach graphic design—Xavier at LISAA, Institute of Applied Arts in Strasbourg, and Amelie at the Fine Arts of the University of Strasbourg. “Much of our work in editorial design revolves around cultural subjects, where we use illustrated charts and graphs to depict the information. For instance, what works for a children’s book, will not work in a fashion magazine,” Xavier explains.

Here, the duo, who also run their studio Collectif Ça va 2 Paire, share their predictions for five editorial design trends to watch for in 2018—many of which are tried and true.

  1. Typography: Mix it Up

The old type rules about using only two or three type styles in editorial design are no longer relevant. In fact, it’s fun to mix and fuse different fonts to create a particular mood. “We like the mix between old historic fonts and modern fonts, that are more flexible,” Amelie notes. “Creating contemporary typographic design sometimes means combining old and new to create a timeless vibe.”

  1. Color: Bright is Right

Bright, high contrasting colors can make the difference between a hum-drum layout and something that speaks to the masses. Xavier says, “Pairing a bright color with a pastel or gray tone, is a simple way to create depth and intrigue, similar to how vintage album covers were portrayed in the ’70s. There was a tendency to have bright illustrations or letters over less chromatic or black and white photos.” Oftentimes, the contrast contributed to the album’s narrative and intrigue.

  1. Images: Original vs. Stock

Stock photos are fine if you’re in a hurry or on a very tight budget, but original art is always best, and that’s a trend that’s never going to change—which is great for artists and photographers. Illustrators can take a story to a whole new level with their interpretation of the narrative. “It’s also fun to add headlines or drawings on top of photos—just be sure to get the photographer’s permission to do this if you’re not buying exclusive rights,” Amelie notes. “These graphic additions, can really add drama and perspective.” Of course, if you buy stock images, you don’t need permission to do that.

  1. Composition: Balancing text and images

Grids are always a starting point for any publication designer. Setting up the page, determining the width of columns, and how headlines will look on the page. “Oftentimes, designers will deconstruct a gird to create dynamism in a composition,” Xavier says. “For example, there is a tendency to use more space in the margins to put different types of information like a small photo that serves as a reference to the larger image found later in a publication.”

  1. Print vs. Online publications

We’ve been hearing it for years: “Print is dead.” Well, it’s not. Granted, the number of print publications has drastically dwindled in the last decade, but people—especially artists and designers—crave the tactile experience when it comes to flipping through a magazine or newspaper. “For us, digital editions can not replace print, but it’s a great complement,” Amelie notes. For instance, if you’re doing a limited print run, try using heavier sheets or different printing techniques, and then explain the process in the digital edition. Make them co-exist and work together.

Many of these trends aren’t new, but editorial design can be very experimental depending on your audience. As Xavier says, “It’s about finding a balance between different levels of text, photographs, and illustrations to create new visual conversations.”

You had to be there: Steve Frykholm

Herman Miller is the master modern furniture maker with eclectic, ergonometric products for home and office. For more than 100 years, the company has enjoyed economic highs and weathered economic lows. No one better captured these highs and lows than Steve Frykholm, former vice president of creative design, who for three decades told the tale of Herman Miller through stunning annual reports.

Among the finest ever made, Steve Frykholm’s annual reports for Herman Miller are far more than summaries of financial data; they are stories of people and the products they make. Frykholm demonstrated his love for the men and women of Herman Miller with annual reports that swept awards and became collectible. Today, these books stand as text book examples of design at its best: human connection through creative courage, audacity, ingenuity, and flawless execution. “It was never just about me,” he reminds, “I was surrounded by talented men and women who brought these books to life.” Humility is perhaps the least acknowledged secret to success—and longevity.

Now (sort of) retired, bearded, and bespectacled, Frykholm contracts with Herman Miller as spokesman for the company’s design and culture. Speaking at the the 2017 Hopscotch Design Festival in Raleigh, NC, he did what he has done his entire career: he left the audience wanting more. Afterwards, we contacted him to ask him if he’d share more detail that time in Raleigh did not permit.  Below, more of Steve Frykholm’s fantastic stories about his favorite annual reports.

1979 – Spinning the red wheels

This shows the inside of the report, but all the “action” was on the wheels inside the diecut. Even though it was a good year, for fun I printed a lot of it in red ink! The CEO, Hugh De Pree, sent me to our legal counsel for approval of the whole idea. I’ll never forget what he told me to ask the attorney. “Don’t ask him if he likes it. Ask him if we can do it.” Hugh liked the report, and he wanted something special and original because he was appointing his brother, Max, to become CEO. It was Hugh’s last report. Jim, the attorney, gave us the green light. I never did ask him if he liked it or remembered it. In the last few years before his death, I would run into him and his wife at the Ballet. He was always a gentleman. Creative director: Frykholm; Design: Gary Cronkhite; Words: Melissa Brown

1992 – Getting to the know the new CEO

We were inspired by literary philosopher Michel de Montaigne and the way he went about storytelling. The CEO, Kermit Campbell, was brand new to the company, and we wanted to get to know him, so he and another writer, did the short essays within the report. The essays were on different topics and roles at Herman Miller, so there was something for everyone at the company. We also changed the format. It’s more like a paperback. Design: Frykholm and Yang Kim; Illustration: Guy Billout

1993 – Testimonials from happy customers

This one was designed while the report was at the printer. The CEO showed us a little note that he got from a shareholder, and he said, “What can we do with this?” It was a relatively decent year, so we asked the employees if they had any “atta boys” that they were really proud of, and we got a slew of them. So we categorized them and reproduced them. If they came on company stationery, we reproduced it and made it look real. It was fun, but it was challenging at the printer, trying to collate the pages and keep track of what went where. I also learned about these sensitive scales at the end of the line, and if one page was missing, it wouldn’t weigh the same. It was production gymnastics. Design: Frykholm and Yang Kim

2002 – Weathering the Storm

Nobody was happy with the year’s performance. I wanted to print the report on a garbage bag. I prototyped it to fit, I knew we could do it, but I didn’t know who could do it. We did find a supplier to put it on a garbage bag, but they wouldn’t meet our deadline. So I had to go in a different direction. Deborah Sussman was in the office one day and it was raining, and she had one of these cheap ponchos that she bought at an event, so that’s where this idea came from. We printed the report and attached a cheap poncho on the front in a bag that said, “Thanks for weathering the economic storms of 2001-2002 with us. We’re grateful for your loyalty. When you need this poncho, remember that stormy weather never lasts forever.” Creative direction: Frykholm; Design: Brian Edlefson

 

1985 – The Grand Slam

This was the year that all employees became shareholders in the company, so we photographed every single employee. Remember, this was pre-computer. My original thought was to put everyone in an arena and take a group shot – around 4,000 people. These people were from all over the world, so we had to have a procedure to do this. I was talking to Sara Giovanitti, she was my design shrink—full of positive affirmation. She worked with us for several years on different projects, and she was the one who figured out how to get all these people photographed. It took a few weeks to get all the photos taken. It was kind of like the photographer at the mall shooting babies. We needed some squeaky toys or something to get these people to be more animated. We had one guy doing cartwheels and running around to loosen people up.

All the photos were outlined by some photo stripper in the stripping room. He probably had carpal tunnel by the time he was finished. And then we integrated people, so someone who worked in the plant, was standing by the CEO. But, I forgot a very important concept. You couldn’t tell the tallest from the shortest person in the group. Everyone is the same height!

This report won every design competition it was entered in and it was reported on quite a bit. It really irritated me how often it was imitated. Why can’t people be original or at least make it better? Design: Frykholm and Sara Giovanitti; Words: Nancy Green

Clear Winner: Jonathan Selikoff, Letterpress Artist

Designer, typographer, and letterpress artist Jonathan Selikoff started his studio Vote for Letterpress in 2010 because he had to.

Selikoff wanted to buy a Vandercook press to add to his weekender print set-up in his garage. “I found one in Ithaca, but there was a catch. It came with a Heidelberg Windmill, a manual paper cutter (old-school guillotine), and a lot of wood and metal type. After checking with the boss (my wife, Lauren), we decided that I’d just buy it all and open up a shop.”

That is the moment when Selikoff’s avocation became his vocation. Today, his letterpress shop includes a Vandercook, a flatbed cylinder press, and a Heidelberg Windmill automated platen press.

Selikoff’s letterpress habit began when he was a 12-year-old boy attending summer camp. “At camp we made stationery using a tabletop press,” he recalls. “I loved it. The seed was planted.” His formal education began at Emory University in Atlanta, where he majored in history. Between his junior and senior years there, he won an internship in the art department of Atlanta Magazine. The experience attracted him to graphic design. After graduating from Emory, he enrolled at Portfolio Center/Atlanta (Miami Ad School and Portfolio Center recently merged). His years there, he says, “were transformative.”

While studying at PC, Selikoff’s fascination with “old school technology” grew. “In art school, a bunch of us loved to visit vintage goods shops around Atlanta. I’d poke through whatever type or printing stuff they had, and ended up buying things I found interesting.” These treasure hunts were the beginning of a fantastic library of objects and letterforms he’d later put to use on the letterpress.

IMG_1705-e1463504167783
Design by Graham Clifford; Hand lettering by Wells Collins; Letterpress by Vote for the Letterpress.

Featured Maker: Sarah Lovell

Sarah Lovell Art

Wimborne Minster, Dorset, UK

Business founded in 2012

Sarah Lovell started her art print business after having her second baby. She drew and painted in her spare time, so she figured she’d take a go at making greeting cards, art prints, and coloring books. She says, “I am inspired by wildlife, my three small children and the magic all around us. I try to capture some of that magic in my illustrations.”

I hand illustrate/paint the original pictures with watercolor, gouache or acrylic and black ink. Then I send the originals to my printer (also in Dorset) who scans them in and digitally prints the cards and art prints or assembles the coloring books. The paper used is all ‘Carbon Captured’ and the inks used are biodegradable, so they are all very eco friendly products which is important to me.

How did you go about turning your passion into a business?

I started with a small collection of nine card designs that I showed to our local bookshop, and they ordered four of each. This was the beginning, and a big confidence boost. I now have over 50 cards, some of which are available as prints, and a range of coloring books which are all stocked nationwide! And I just got a new stockist in Spain too. I started with local shops, getting in touch via email, sending samples, phoning shops, and slowly increased my number of stockists.

Do you sell your work primarily online, or do you have a storefront? Is Instagram a good selling source for you? 

I sell my work via my website, and I also have an Etsy shop. I get regular orders from both avenues, and my products are also stocked in a number of independent stores across the UK.

I love Instagram, and I find it a great place to connect with other artists/ illustrators. I try to update my account regularly with new work, and make sure my feed is interesting and fresh, so I can use it as a kind of portfolio.

Do you travel to trade shows? 

I took part in my first big trade show in January. I was selected by journalist Charlotte Abrahams, to take part in the “Spotted” section of a big trade show in London called Top Drawer. This was an amazing experience, and put my work in front of a big audience, so since then I have started stocking a lot more shops across the UK.

What works best for you when it comes to marketing and promotion for your business? 

Social media is a great tool, and I keep my Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram feeds updated daily as well as interacting with other via social media as much as possible. I also love the community feel on Etsy. I am part of the Dorset team, where the members really support their fellow Etsy sellers. I also think you can’t beat sending some one a beautifully wrapped parcel with some samples of your work via snail mail to really stand out from the crowd.

What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone starting out—something you wish you would have known? 

Let your spirit shine through in your work, make things that really make you happy and they will make other people happy too.

Expressing and Pressing in Lubbock

Husband and wife duo, Dirk and Carol Fowler have been running f2design since 2000, but each takes on their own clients in their specialties. Carol focuses mainly on print collateral and event graphics, while Dirk is busy designing letterpress posters, music packaging, corporate identities, and editorial illustration. The beauty of this set-up is that they collaborate when needed and and bounce ideas off each other, so they’re not working in a vacuum from their remote studio in Lubbock, Texas.

“We are comfortable with each other and the way we work, and we have intentionally kept our shop to just the two of us. We have had the opportunity to work for high profile clients, but we are just as happy designing something for our kids’ schools,” Dirk says. “One of our kids is usually hanging out right beside us while we are working, and we are OK with that.”

Although the shop is small, f2 has churned out a startling number of posters over the years, many of which are for sale on their website. Dirk has had the good fortune of working with some great bands, including The Killers, the Avett Brothers, Modest Mouse, singer Lyle Lovett, and Wilco, with whom he’s had a ten-year run. As he notes, Wilco works with a lot of artists, but they appreciate poster design and commission one for almost every show, and they’re easy to work with. “They don’t present me with ideas, or specify certain subjects, but they know what they like and don’t like. They really allow the artist to be creative, but the work definitely has to fit the image of the band in order to be approved by them,” Dirk says.

In the grand scheme of things, the Fowlers are right where they need to be. A long tradition of great musicians from Buddy Holly to Waylon Jennings and many more, hail from Lubbock. So, when the local PBS channel did a documentary film about the town’s music history, they hired Dirk to create posters for the premiere event. “My visual is a fairly straightforward interpretation of the film title Flat Land Open Sky. I like the idea that no matter the genre of music, or time period, all the musicians from this area had one thing in common: our expansive blue sky. Some might not see anything, while others might see it as limitless possibilities,” he explains.

The 75 posters were letterpress printed on Astrobrights Lunar Blue. To achieve the fuzzy effect for the con trails, Dirk used a spray-paint stencil. “I really enjoy printing simple one or two color images on colored stock and using the paper color as an intricate part of the design. I also enjoy very small runs that include this type of hand work. You can easily see that a human made the poster.”

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.

Daniel says that one of the many perks of running a print shop, includes collaborating with other local artists. “It’s a fantastic avenue to form relationships with creative peers, and it’s a busy, productive working environment. I’m continually surrounded by very talented people who are working hard on their projects, and are stoked about the process. It’s a very positive, energetic vibe, and I think that’s possibly one of the nicest things about my life these days,” she admits. In addition to hosting workshops, Bearded Lady also has a gallery space to display the works of local artists.

At Hoarsefly, clients primarily Daniel to design logos, t-shirts, posters, and packaging because of her unique, hand-crafted sensibilities. A recent project for Pint House Pizza in Austin, required her to create large, linework illustrations on wood paneling. She drew at full-scale, taping sheets of cover stock together and tacking them to the wall. “I got really big and gestural. It was refreshing to work that way … and oddly, fast,” Daniel says. She then photographed the different elements, and finalized the placement and overall layout in the computer, projecting the images on the wall. She then painted the two murals directly on the walls, each measuring 7 x 10 feet. Getting the lines and details just right, took her hours to complete.

Ugly Art Possesses Charm & Character

The crude, messy nature of screenprinting is exactly what attracted designer Ryan Duggan to his craft of making what he calls, “Ugly Art.”

In Chicago, where the temps are currently freeze-your-ass-off frigid, the print scene is hot. “We have more pro-level screen printers in this city than anywhere else in the world, and yet it’s not an ugly competition. Everyone helps each other out. I love it here,” says Ryan Duggan, a one-man screenprinting machine, churning out posters, invitations, and art prints in the Windy City.

He’s printed hundreds of gig posters since 2006, when he came to his senses after studying advertising copywriting at Columbia College in Chicago. “I realized I had zero interest in working in an ad agency,” he says. I’m sure his parents were thrilled. Fortunately, in high school he learned how to screenprint from a temperamental guy named Zim. Duggan recalls, “He would absolutely lose his shit if you called ink ‘paint.’ To this day, I cringe when people use the wrong term, expecting Zim to jump on a table and scream.” Read rest of article here.

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