Alphabet Road Trip | the blog of Iskra Design

Some Experimental Lettering from Coffee Town, Inspired by Balzac

A few years ago I worked on a project for Starbucks with a creative art director who wanted to try something different for a poster design: something with a bohemian flair. He handed me a scribble of a face and a cup on a napkin and said, “go wild.” Ahhhh the golden days of illustration before royalty free pre-fab dingbats had taken over every square inch of the graphic imagination! I drew about fifty faces for the poster, which went into deep focus group and never came back. Later I went back to revisit it as a personal project.

I came across this truly odd quote from Balzac, the original Parisian cool-guy. (How whould he know if somebody was “spiritual” or not? This is the writer who horrified the good ladies of River City in The Music Man with his scandalous prose. Who does he think he is? And how did they translate from the French and come up with the word “grocery store?”) This doesn’t seem right to me. But just because it is so odd, I decided to work with it, in one of my favorite brush styles, “Bohemian Conversational Medium.”*  The face could be Balzac as he imagines he is, or any self-reflective hipster of today, thinking under the influence, at one of our infinite coffee shops.





Coffee Thinker






Experimental writing and illustration using a variety of textures and techniques. Copy and artwork © 2014 Iskra Design.

* No, this is not a font. But it is available as a commissioned style of handwriting. See more examples of expressive handwriting and calligraphy in the portfolios above.