Welcome to Alphabet Roadtrip, the blog of Iskra Design. Alphabet Roadtrip is a hybrid of design and fine art. Here you will find my newest work in design and lettering, process notes, and writing on the subjects of design and visual culture. To see my work please visit the portfolios in the navigation menu above. If you are already a fan of Alphabet Roadtrip you may have saved links from my old website. This is the NEW(!) site. Please do update your bookmarks so we don’t lose touch.
A recent illustration and calligraphy project for the Washington Post. I was given a general direction and a list of images to work with, some of which were more workable in my watercolor style than others. The gummy bear, rubber spoon, and trivet were a little bit tricky. Here is the evolution of the process.
To see more watercolor calligraphy and illustration take a look at my expressive watercolor calligraphy and lettering portfolios.
The beauty of calligraphy in logo design is that it is alive and created by hand. Unlike a font each letter can be customized in an organic way. Here are some samples from my portfolio recently posted on Workbook. Each one shows a different way of combining letterforms and symbols. Sometimes a design works best through contrast, as with the rough brush icon of the globe with the sans serif typography laid over it. In the case of the Publix Premium logo above, an illustrative element in the same style as the lettering creates a look of high end elegance and harmony that can be used across multiple products within the store.
See more of my work mixing symbols and letter forms in my Illustrations and Icons portfolios.
I am excited to see big changes at The Workbook, where I have been part of the illustration and design community for many years. They have just launched a dramatic redesign of their online portfolios, and I am very impressed. Take a peek at my portfolios at Workbook.com.
Here are a few pages of icon designs I put together for my new portfolios that show how calligraphic thinking can lead to unique ways of looking at archetypal symbols.
Above, a small part of one of my favorite projects, created for Neiman Marcus for their spring fashion catalog. Each butterfly represents a different personal style of fashion.
When I created a logo for the University of Washington School of Music I did probably 50+ variations on the treble clef. This is one of my favorites, in a set that mixes colorways and media to evoke the experience of music.
How many times have you seen a cute panda logo?? There are still new ways to visit this little guy. Some of the many approaches I did with sumi ink, showing how personality and a unique line quality can revive a familiar symbol.
This client had a last name starting with S, and a passion for seahorses. These are some of the different ways I looked at incorporating the two elements.
These days when virtually all design and illustration portfolios are shown online, having a beautiful platform to show work in-depth is essential. The platform itself can inspire new ways of thinking. I can’t wait to see how designers and creative directors respond to the new Workbook design.
Cancelling everything else on my calendar to watch the first debate tonight. Heavy medication will be called for. When all else fails don’t forget the Basset Hound Channel. I always love watching a dog dance on a bottle.
Ink illustration © Iskra Design
A Father-Daughter collaboration, calligraphy, photography, watercolor
There are certain phrases and titles of books that I have been going back to for years as a touchstone. Nabokov’s memoir, Speak Memory is one of those. I could design the cover of that book a thousand ways. This version is a personal elegy to my father. Before he became a newspaper reporter he took about eight “art photographs” and put them in a little album which was passed down to me. The flowers are from that album, a tiny little black and white snap from the time of film and sprockets, when dust and scratches made themselves without a filter.
I do adore photocollage, and the infinite ways we can now merge media. Here I have blended my father’s photography with a painting and calligraphy of my own, a script done with a ruling pen and walnut ink. To collaborate in this way is a lovely way to bring someone who is gone back into your life.