Alphabet Road Trip | the blog of Iskra Design

Category: Brush Calligraphy

New Inspirational Quotes from Iskra: Be Happy Why Don’tcha?

If like me you have been reading and watching news obsessively for far too many months, you may want to go rogue for a minute and just think about pleasure. Cake, for instance. Maybe you are planning your wedding, or someone else’s. Maybe all you want to think about is frosting, and satin kitten heels, and how many bubbles you can fit in a champagne flute before it just becomes air. Maybe you want to feel giddy and strew ribbons around the room and you don’t want anybody telling you otherwise.

I stumbled upon this wonderful quote by Nigella Lawson and it made me unreasonably happy. Experimenting here with new styles of calligraphy and hand lettering and lots of color. Yum.

 

Iskra quotation calligraphy Guilt and pleasure

Pleasure the British way, dapper and a bit buttoned down.

Nigella Lawson calligraphy quote by Iskra

Or maybe better in French? Luxurious. Plush. Of course if you are going to obsess about cake, that leads inevitably to champagne, and going a little bit crazy with pink.

Iskra-Calligraphy-Poster

 

Drink champagne and dance all night calligraphy by Iskra

 

Champagne and dancing quote by iskra

There are so many ways to work with color in custom lettering design. Each color twist gives a different feeling to the words, elegant, playful, a cheap date or something luxe. It’s all in the subtle detail.

More new work in the pipeline, coming soon! To see the latest you can always follow me on Instagram, or Facebook. Drop me a note if you have a project in mind.

 

“The Things We Love” Watercolor Calligraphy and Illustration

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.

iskra design watercolor calligraphy valentine

Iskra Design Watercolor calligraphy

Iskra Calligraphy and icon illustration

Iskra Calligraphy and watercolor

 

 

 

Iskra WAPO calligraphy Illustration

To see more watercolor calligraphy and illustration take a look at my expressive watercolor calligraphy and lettering portfolios.

 

The Orange Project: Graffiti Refined for Branding

inspiration board for graffiti logo

A Logo Project Inspired by the Street

 

This month I had the opportunity to use my obsession with street art in a logo design for a client. Seven large ad agencies had recently merged to form a new agency called Sandbox. One of the original seven, GA Communications, wanted to create a specific look for its community outreach division that would express the attributes of its internal culture. Among the ideas given as reference: “Collaborative, Creative, Fun, Social and Confident.” A logo for the name, “Orange” had already begun in-house, based on a standard script font. It was close to what they were looking for, but it didn’t feel distinct or proprietary and the design team wanted to see a new approach reflecting the energy and creativity of graffiti. I was also asked to make a little movie or otherwise document my process.

Photographing the street is one of my favorite ways to spend my time, and in my archives I have thousands of pictures of graffiti, abandoned buildings and the shredded poetry of telephone poles. I knew there was a good chance that the final logo would end up being quite conservative, but this project seemed like the ideal opportunity to open things up and go wild. I did a photo shoot looking for everything orange on the street. I experimented with many media, ranging back and forth between the different languages and moods of graffiti. This was heaven.

 

Arrow-sign-iskra

 

I started out with black ink, working quickly to find new twists on the fonts that had been sent as reference.

 

brush and pen calligraphy by iskra

expressive watercolor calligraphy by iskra

bold brush lettering

Switching things up I started working with actual orange, what a concept! With colored ink and paints the weight of pigment in the water makes for a different feeling in the brush and leads to subtle differences in how the letters emerge.

brush lettering by iskra

Brush calligraphy by iskra expressive watercolor caligraphy by iskra graffiti lettering by iskra graffiti-painting-by-iskra expressive calligraphy by iskra watercolor lettering by iskra

To start this project I went out to study walls for a day. I think I have fallen in love with balloon letters. They are insanely creative and all kinds of design problems get solved in an instant on the fly with a spray can. Even if you are trying to be a bad#ss you can’t really convince anybody if you use this style. Balloon letters are fundamentally friendly and silly. The world could use a lot more of that.

graffiti painting by iskra graffiti-wall-iskra

The final choice of style came down to these two. On the top, dry brush on watercolor paper, and the lower one, pen and ink on offset paper. After many iterations to finesse legibility the lower one was chosen. The influence of graffiti is very faint, but I hope some of the spirit of adventure can be read between the lines.

brush lettering for a logotype

Take a look at my portfolios to see more expressive lettering for advertising design.