Archive for the ‘typography’ Category
Self-described “designy illustrator” Mikey Burton is a Philadelphia-based creative with a serious bear preoccupation. His professional work centers around editorial illustration, infographics, and identity design. He’s also been bestowed with awards from ADC Young Guns, Communication Arts, & Graphis, some of the most prestigious organizations in the industry, and has worked with clients like The Atlantic, Converse, Facebook, Fast Company, and Wilco. Mikey values simplicity in principles of color and design, using minimalism and traditionally-inspired typography to an effective advantage. The understated elegance of his work is what secured his spot in the Art Crush Friday Hall of Fame.
Mikey’s aesthetic is identified in the intersection between sharp, geometric vector designs and substantial, meaningful textures. I use the word meaningful not to be an art school asshole, but to say that the textures have strong purpose and intent in his work.
As I’ve learned more and more about graphic design, I’ve started to see the fork in the road that exists between flat and realistic design (this gorgeous Webby-winning site explains this very conundrum in further detail). As I mentioned earlier, Mikey’s process allows real textures to shine through flat shapes, seemingly creating atmospheres within the simplest of flattened shapes. Interestingly enough, he’s referenced his really old HP LaserJet printer as being the very tool that creates these fascinating textures. [More about his process here.]
Mikey swears by two things in particular before starting his design process: coffee and preliminary sketching. He’s a refreshingly real person who needs to participate in real humany things before dragging along on the computer for hours on end. He will routinely post final work to his Dribbble account, modestly seeking feedback from the peers he so deeply respects. I admire his humility, honesty and continual hustle for meaningful work, even amidst his great successes thus far. For budding designers, here’s some of Mikey’s advice: create work that you want to be hired to do, and don’t be a lame person to deal with.
Follow along with Mikey and his adventures to come:
Ok, I’ll save you the spiel about how deeply I’ve fallen in love with typography and lettering, as that should be fairly obvious by now. Drew Melton‘s work essentially speaks for itself. His deeply expressive fonts and lettering demonstrate the importance of hand-drawing into the design process. Even in the sharpest, finalized versions of his work, you’ll a spontaneity that’s unmistakably fun and energetic.
Drew is an L.A.-based graphic designer and typographer who’s worked with clients like McCann, Nike, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Penguin Books. He’s had quite the interesting journey to success in the lettering realm, some of which is marked by serious self-reflection and the ability to remain humble.
One of the things that hurled him into the design spotlight was his Phraseology project, started with a few other designers and developers in 2011. Very similar to Erik Marinovich’sFriends of Type blog, Phraseology offers the public a chance to submit any word or phrase to be designed by members of the team. Soon enough, Drew was being commissioned for some big-time typography work by notable clients.
Unfortunately, with that exciting attention also came some consequences. As much as I admire Drew’s hand at lettering, I might be even more enamored with his grace and honesty about his past mistakes.
In January 2013, Drew bravely posted a public apology on his blog to several typographic designers, including Jessica Hische, Jon Contino, Dana Tanamachi, and Darren Booth, for drawing inspiration from their styles in ways that were not entirely “okay.” He spoke openly about his guilt and sadness at realizing that his creative process had been built too closely upon the examples of his heroes, and that his heroes were now upset with him.
The topic of creative originality is probably one of the most sensitive. It’s something that is constantly under debate and argued by strong opinions. I’m a strong believer that nothing is purely unique, especially in this day and age. It’s the nature of craft and evolution to build upon an existing idea. But in an age when visual information is so widely accessible, when an illustrator or designer can essentially educate themselves by opening their web browser–it’s up to the creative to draw the line between inspiration and imitation.
It’s a testament to Drew’s work ethic and passion for the art of typography that he was still able to gain success after this admission. Even while he struggled to define his style in the beginnings of his career, it’s clear that he’s succeeded.
I highly recommend Drew’s interview with the Australian Graphic Supply Company (a previous Art Crush feature), as well as his feature (along with this wife, stylist and co-creative Kelsey Zahn) on Rverie. Follow along with Drew here:
In my journey towards becoming somewhat of a graphic designer, I’ve gone through many bouts of chocolate-fueled rage, cursing when I can’t figure out how to line up my beziers correctly, or how exactly to create a seamless repeat pattern. Although there are loads of tutorials online, the Australia Graphic Supply Company is set to become the “square one” learning source for budding designers and typographers of all types (pun not intended).
Self-described “pixel-wranglers,” Dave and Laura Coleman are a husband-and-wife team working out of Sydney, Australia, focusing on a wide range of visual services from photography and branding to illustration and tattoo design. While Laura mostly manages operations & finances, Dave handles the creative side of their shared business–and both of them share a serious passion for design, photography and lettering.
They host a selection of their own client work on their website, but the primary focus is on their community and growing tutorial section. What’s neat to see is that their tutorial aesthetic matches up perfectly with that of their professional projects–the aim is clearly to give the viewer proper insight into the process of creating high-quality design and typography while simplifying the process down to layman’s terms.
One of my favorite tutorials was Creating a Hand-Lettered Logotype from Beginning to End–I’ve included some screenshots and a video below.
Dave and Laura were briefly living and working abroad in Oviedo, Spain, but are now in the process of returning to their home base in Sydney. To follow along with their adventures, check out their travel blog.
I’ve also included a couple links to my other favorite tutorials below:
I can’t wait for more exciting tutorials and developments from the AGSC. Thanks so much to Dave and Laura for sharing their knowledge with us! Follow along with them on theirwebsite, Twitter, and Pinterest.
In writing these Art Crush posts, I’ve found that I’m usually late to the party. Meaning, of course, that literally everyone else has known about these illustrators already before I stumbled across their work, since I’m probably an unhip grandma. But in this case, I’m kind of excited–Kelly Thorn is an up-and-coming junior designer at Louise Fili Ltd. and generally amazing typographer and illustrator, and she’s already blossoming on the scene.
I stumbled upon Kelly Thorn’s work by way of Friends of Type, a “typography sketchbook” of sorts started by Erik Marinovich and a few of his illo-designer buddies. Kelly’s command of linework and her gorgeous color choices immediately drew me in. Her pieces demonstrate a solid understanding of design and composition, but still leave room for illustrative experimentation and expression. Lovely.
A 2012 graduate of Tyler School of Art’s Graphic & Interactive Design program, Kelly now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
[collaboration with Dana Tanamachi for Nibblr]
Paul Thurby is a British designer and illustrator who takes inspiration from mid-century design and charity shop finds. He has worked with an impressive list of clients including The New Yorker, The Guardian, and Tate Enterprises. His clever, fun, and whimsical Alphabet and Number series can be found in many art and design shops around the UK. Paul Thurby’s Alphabet book has been published in the UK, US, and Australia. See more of his work on his website.
Post by Sarah
In my career I’ve been focusing on illustration for the last years, but coming from a much broader background in graphic & communication design I am fascinated with the whole book cover designing process and the challenges it comes with.
Creating visuals that somehow represent a whole story without going the most obvious route or being too bold and simple is a skill that results in beautiful work when it’s mastered. Jonathan Gray aka Gray 318 clearly is one of the masters in this field. His mainly typographical works are always smart, thought-through and often show a dry wit. If you are a fan of Jonathan Safran Foer you might already be very aware of Jon’s fantastic cover work.
You can see a video on youtube about the extraordinary cover design of Nineteen Eighty-Four (3rd cover shown above) here.
Posted by Jeanine
Illustrator and designer Jen Skelley is from New Jersey and currently lives in Western Massachusetts. She earned a BFA in design from Syracuse University and began her career working as an in-house artist creating wrapping paper, cards and many other kinds of social stationery. A few years later she branched out and opened her own studio, specializing in cute whimsical illustrations of animals, flowers and birds.
Her impressive list of clients includes Galison/Mudpuppy, American Girl, Mattel, Land of Nod, and Graphique de France. She recently illustrated a nationwide campaign for Sweet’N Low and also sells screenprints of her work in her successful Etsy shop.
Post by Jeanine Henderson
I fell in love with Lucie Rice’s work as soon as I saw it! A beautiful combination of both illustration and design, Lucie’s whimsical imagery is appealing to both children and adults alike. She has a special love for animals and an amazing sense of color and typography, all of which are apparent in her work. Her clients include Purina, the Grand Ole Opry, Penguin Group, and Simon & Schuster, and many more. She currently resides in Nashville, TN, with her husband and their beloved dog Lola.
Post by Tamsin
Oh wow! LOVE Carson Ellis illustration. I didn’t know of her work before I saw The Wildwood Chronicles (written by her husband Colin Meloy) last year. Gorgeous book! Her use of typography and pattern within her work is superb. Her illustration style has a folklore/fairytale feel about it – imaginiative, clever and delightfully inspiring. Carson Lives in Oregon with her family and also illustrates album art for her husbands band The Decemberists. See more of Carson’s work here and the Wildwood Chronicles has its very own page here.
Post by Jeanine Henderson
Steve Simpson’s lush and vibrant imagery is a delightful blend of illustration, design, color, and typography. Based in Ireland, he’s an award-winning illustrator of packaging and children’s books, and considers vintage illustration & packaging to be a huge influence on his work—particularly the work of Jim Flora, Mary Blair and Ed Emberly.