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    Category Archives: conversations with creative women

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    Title page designer: Carla Hackett

    We talked to Carla Hackett a little while ago about her graphic design background and blossoming lettering and illustrative career. Today, we’re happy to welcome Carla back to the blog, chatting about putting chalk to board for her title page design for Alischa Herrmann in Conversations with Creative Women: Volume Two.

    Carla-drawing

    What is your art/design/career background?
    I grew up in Wagga Wagga NSW, a regional town that as it turns out has a thriving creative community! I went to a very creatively nurturing school and was heavily involved in performing and the arts. (Fun fact: I moonlighted as Crystal Chandelier in a 60’s girl band called The Fabulous Chandeliers for 7 years!). As a kid I would draw everything and had one of those Letraset typeface books and I would draw letters all over my notebooks and do bubble writing for my friends assignments.

    I studied Graphic Design at university and then moved to Sydney and worked at some great design agencies for 6 years as an Art Director and Designer. But after a while, I felt a little creatively unfulfilled, so in 2011 I quit my job and moved to Berlin. It was a great time to hit the reset button and to soak up the inspiration of Europe! I like to call them my ‘Bowie years’.

    To give myself that time to think really changed everything and it allowed me to start playing again! That’s when I discovered lettering. I went along to a hand lettering workshop with Ken Barber from House Industries and really enjoyed the simplicity of picking up a pencil again.

    It was the perfect mix of my design skills, typography and using my hands to illustrate letters. I love that each piece of lettering is unique. It was then a natural progression to start lettering in chalk. I love the ephemeral nature of chalk but also how tactile each piece is. You can see the human hand has been involved.

    I returned to Melbourne and found the lovely Little Gold Studios to set up shop and focus on hand lettering.

    What drew you to the work of your interviewee?
    I have a deep appreciation for letterpress, and recently had the chance to print one of my own designs on a press that belongs to Saint Gertrude Lettering in Little Gold Studios. The labour of love that goes into printing is all worth it when you see the first impression come off the press. There’s something about the feel of the cotton paper and the impression is really quite special. Being someone who painstakingly hand crafts lettering, I was drawn to illustrating Alischa’s name. There’s also something about the nostalgic quality of chalk that resonates with the tangible nature of the letterpress machines. There is no electronic function involved, it was all done with a human touch by these indestructable and timeless machines.

    Chalk-detail

    Tell us about the development of your title page design and how you arrived at your concept.
    I knew that I definately wanted to create the piece in chalk for that hand made touch. I wanted there to be some elegance in the lettering and also some beautiful detail just like Bespoke’s signature look. I looked closely at Bespoke’s website to get a feel for the kind of design they produce. I also looked at some of my vintage lettering books to get some inspiration for the lettering and floral detail. To include a letterpress element, I googled for images of the Chandler and Price machine and realised how beautiful this piece of machinery is. They certainly don’t make them like that anymore!

    The fly wheel is what keeps the momentum of the rollers spinning, you get it going with a foot treadle. The fly wheel is such a beautiful and recognisable part of the letterpress I wanted to include that element surrounded by beautiful flower details.

    What materials or computer programs did you use to create the title page, and how did you then prepare it to be submitted for the book?
    I started with paper and a pencil, sketching out my idea very roughly to get some ideas of composition. I knew I wanted to get a lot of detail into the piece, but knew a lot of that would happen as I drew it on the board.

    I drew the piece on my chalkboard at 200% in good ol’ dusty chalk and photographed it so that it would retain the detail when scaled down. I didn’t want to do too much in Photoshop, as I wanted it to look like it was done on the chalkboard. I upped the contrast slightly so that the blacks were black and the whites were white.

    Behind-the-scenes
    The final chalkboard design was photographed and then tweaked in Photoshop before submitting for the book.

    What other fun projects are your working on now?
    I’m currently working on my first range of hand lettered greeting cards. I’m currently learning how to use a letterpress that is in my studio, so that I can print them with my very own hands!

    I’m working on few custom hand lettering pieces for stationery and prints. And recently did some chalk lettering I did was the focus of the Westfield Christmas campaign.

    I have a few wedding commissions for wedding season, creating chalk signage and hand lettered wedding stationery suites.

    I’m also working with a coffee brand on some lettering for their packaging. Coffee and lettering are my favourite things!

    You can find ‘Conversations… Volume Two’ in our online shop or at select stockists nationally. And be sure to check out Carla’s new website at www.carlahackett.com


    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: conversations with creative women, interview, the CWC book | Comments Off
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    Title page designer: Laura Blythman

    You may remember our interview with Laura Blythman recently. But did you know she also designed the title page for the interview with Ubabub founder and designer Natasha Dumais in our new book Conversations with Creative Women: Volume Two? Today we chat to Laura about her design.

    laura-blythman-work-space

    What is your art/design/career background?
    After completing a BA in Graphic Design, I cut my teeth working in-house at Hallmark Cards Australia, Cristina Re and Typo (Cotton On) before branching out into the freelance world.

    Over the years I feel like I’ve designed pretty much everything under the sun: greeting cards, gift packaging, stationery, home office, home decor, textiles, apparel, custom illustration, hand-lettering, wedding and event stationery, brand identity, blogs, advertising, print collateral and website interface.

    I’ve been lucky to work with many brands over my years as a freelance designer including: T2 teas, Clickon Furniture, Typo, Cotton Kids, A Skulk of Foxes, Lark, Peachy Gift, La De Dah Kids, Mr.Wolf Kids, Stuck On You, Zoo York, Kiitos – Living By Design and Swan Emporium. Not to mention some exciting new projects to be released in the coming months with some more dream clients!

    What drew you to the work of your interviewee, Natasha Dumais of Ubabub?
    I’ve loved the clean and modern aesthetic of Ubabub products for a while now. Ubabub and Natasha have popped up on my radar quite a bit with features on TDF, Pinterest, Instagram and the like. Natasha is a super clever and inspiring local creative.

    Tell us about the development of your title page design and how you arrived at your concept.
    My inspiration is drawn from the geometric shapes that form Ubabub’s branding elements as well as the delicious colour palette of Natasha’s now super famous jumbo ‘Sundae’ print. Concept development began with lots of scribbles, sketching layouts and a heap of ideas – some good and some bad!

    LAURA-BLYTHMAN-NATASHA-SKETCHES

    What materials or computer programs did you use to create the title page, and how did you then prepare it to be submitted for the book?
    I scanned my hand drawn shapes and then coloured and created the lettering and composition in illustrator. That’s it. Nice and simple.

    What other fun projects are your working on now?
    So many! To name just a few, I am:
    - dreaming up and planning Stage 2 of my A Skulk Of Foxes collaborative range (the team at ASOF are so much fun to work with!)
    - branding and illustrating a cool kids’ web store
    - illustrating for a linen range collaboration with an artisan bakery
    - rebranding a vintage market
    - designing and illustrating a candle box collaboration
    - branding a cute kids look-book and other printed goods
    - compiling a range of my illustrations for totes, tees, etc for a super cool new artist collective
    - doing the brand and web illustrations for an ace jewellery/homewares label
    - designing a charity T-shirt
    - trying my hand at a tattoo design
    - creating a few commissioned artworks, inc paper feather hangings
    - working on some yardage and print designs for my own dream projects.

     


    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: conversations with creative women, interview, the CWC book | Comments Off
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    Title page designer: Amy Constable

    Today we chat to Amy Constable, who designed the title page for the interview with stylist Megan Morton in Conversations with Creative Women: Volume Two.

    AC-Megan-Morton_1

    What is your art/design/career background?
    I began my career at 21 as an aspiring creative copywriter at an ad agency (I had heard that’s how Bryce Courtenay got his big break and in typical Gen Y fashion, I assumed copywriting was to an aspiring writer the equivalent of burger-flipping to an aspiring chef). The reality was I spent my days cutting ads out of newspapers, researching small town rags and writing the occasional classified ad. I met a designer there who said my handwriting would make a great font, so as a fun little side-project we began working on ‘Amy Sans’ together. He coaxed out of me some lettering and typography skills that I’d all but ignored in my pursuit to become a writer and encouraged me to side-step into the visual side of the industry. I created a portfolio, landed a job working as an Art Director’s assistant and over the next 6 years, I built up my design and typography skills on the job. I decided I wanted to get more hands-on with my work at about the same time I first discovered letterpress. I doesn’t get more hands-on than letterpress and for the last 4 years my little business, Saint Gertrude, has kept me busier (and my hands grubbier!) than I ever imagined possible.

    AC-Megan-Morton_4

    AC-Megan-Morton_6

    What drew you to the work of your interviewee?
    Megan Morton is a total design industry celebrity, but what I love most about her is her approachable and slightly eccentric attitude! Her styling projects go beyond the aesthetics of ‘what’s hot right now’ and have a sense of intelligence and individuality to them. I aspire to the same kind of attitude in my own work.

    Tell us about the development of your title page design and how you arrived at your concept.
    One of the things that Megan has played a very valuable role in, is the rise of The School. She isn’t precious about her creative process, rather she wants to share it. Styling is a very tactile medium, with shadows and textures playing a lead role in conveying atmosphere, so my concept was a letterpress print, in her signature whimsical handwriting style, and a flat lay photo with retro school props around her letterpressed name. It was a long (but fun!) process trying to maximise the print, props, light and shade for optimum effect.

    What materials or computer programs did you use to create the title page, and how did you then prepare it to be submitted for the book?
    I created the type-based design using Illustrator. Then I had a photopolymer printing plate made and loaded it into my 110-year-old manual printing press. I made about 20 letterpress prints on cotton paper stock, picked the best one, then added the school props in flat lay. I spent almost an entire day with my friend/stylist/collaborator/fellow-eccentric Caroline Buckle who helped me to style and photograph it. And lastly, I took the final photo to Photoshop to get it print ready.

    What other fun projects are your working on now?
    In the footsteps of Megan Morton, I am now working on my proudest project to-date: Letterpress Academy. I’ll be running monthly letterpress workshops with designers and illustrators, helping them turn their love projects into prints and sharing with like-minded folk the inky-handed joy of letterpress.

    AC-Megan-Morton_8


    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: conversations with creative women, interview, the CWC book | Comments Off
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    Title page designer: Jasmine Mansbridge

    Today I’m pleased to introduce Jasmine Mansbridge, who designed the title page for the interview with Nancybird founder and designer Emily Wright in Conversations with Creative Women: Volume Two.

    0470-DTP-JASMAN-NYC-PROFILE

    What is your art/design/career background?
    I started painting when I was seventeen and it is something I truly love doing. In March this year I had a solo exhibition in New York, which was a real highlight for me. I often spend time drawing and playing around with a pencil and paper and this is how my ideas develop.

    What drew you to the work of your interviewee, Emily Wright of Nancybird?
    I moved to Victoria three years ago, and one of the first things I did was visit the NGV, where I first saw Emily’s Nancy Bird products. I loved them for their quality and original aesthetic. I purchased my first Nancy Bird bag not long after that and I still use it most days. It is practical and still looks as good as new. So, It was a wonderful feeling, and a privilege to be given the opportunity to illustrate for Emily. Probably about time for a new one though??!

    Tell us about the development of your title page design and how you arrived at your concept.
    I drew up four rough designs before visiting Emily in her Northcote studio, I wanted to get a visual of her and her space and (most importantly) get her opinion on what she thought suited best with her brand. We chatted about the elements she liked best and this gave me direction for the final illustration. I loved the collaborative aspect of the design process and the input she gave me was very helpful.

    What materials or computer programs did you use to create the title page, and how did you then prepare it to be submitted for the book?
    I simply used pencil, pen and acrylic paint to create my design. I like the good old fashioned approach to art making, and truthfully, I never learnt to do anything clever on a computer and so it’s all I have to work with anyhow.

    What other fun projects are your working on now?
    Right now and am busy creating work for a solo exhibition at the Rtist Gallery in Prahran in March 2014! I like being busy and always have a painting on the go. I feel blessed to be able to be doing something I love.

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    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: conversations with creative women, interview | Comments Off