I had the opportunity to work on a wonderful project for the Seattle Study Club this summer. The brochure for their annual symposium was composed primarily of words; it featured one person talking, with no photographs or color. The designer came to me for handwriting to call out highlights in the text. I developed a style of quirky calligraphy done with a ruling pen. My goal: to enliven the copy and bring the subject matter, of inquiry, study and conversation, to life. In this era of font proliferation my invisible goal behind the scenes was to "not look like a font." I love it when a client wants custom work to actually look like custom work and not like something that already exists!
The symposium gala takes place at Ngala, a wild-life preserve that features a much-beloved giraffe named Coulter, and he appears towards the end of the brochure. It was his spirit that animated the handwriting. You can see the complete brochure here. I have pulled out representative pages, some in layout and some cropped, so you can see how the custom lettering design works with and without type in the actual layout. Click on the individual pages to see them larger.
Custom handwriting and calligraphic illustration ©Iskra Design
© Iskra Design
To download the UnFacebook personalized “Like” stickers as a pdf go here.
I've been working on a wonderful handwriting project this month, which I'll be able to post part of in a few weeks when it has gone to print. In the meantime, because I get so many requests for handwriting I am posting part of my portfolio today as an easy online reference.
All of these projects were for clients who wanted a look and voice that they could not find in existing fonts. Handwriting is a particular part of lettering design that has unique challenges. Fonts always look like fonts, no matter how many alternate letters are added. And they have to go through the sifting machine of endless compromise: each letter has to play well with every other letter no matter the circumstance. This takes away a lot of their spirit. I have designed proprietary handwriting fonts for several clients including Betty Crocker and PBS. The fonts turned out well, but I always felt the pain of sacrificing my children: those wonderful leaping upstrokes and sweeping descenders and playful flirty serifs all had to be called in from recess and made to sit still in class. In this portfolio page of handwriting the letters get to express their personality.
You can see my complete handwriting portfolio at www.iskradesign.com
When the art director for this project sent me the photos of the model I knew exactly what her handwriting should look like. I love this kind of expressive work, where true handwriting shines. In this kind of work I am an actress, channeling the spirit and character of the subject.
This recent series uses expressive handwriting in a print and television campaign for Chase Ink. This is the first time I've ever been asked to write illegibly on purpose and being Dr. Joe Black was great fun. So much for prescriptions as abstract art…