Tell us a little about yourself ~
I'm from Michigan originally, and I'm Midwestern through and through. I'm out on the west coast, though, after a brief stint in Denver. I feel like everywhere I've lived has informed my aesthetic and my perspective quite a bit. I've been fascinated with letterforms since I was quite young—my brother dabbled in calligraphy for a while and I would draw the letters with a pencil since I didn't have calligraphy pens. Little did I know that this was called "lettering" and I'd someday make a living doing exactly that! Fast forward a couple decades, and I've created lettering and typography for companies including Disney, Coca-Cola, Target, Airbnb and Google; and I'm currently the Designer in Residence at Facebook's Analog Research Lab.
What do you like about your medium ~
Language is incredible; it's a system of meaning that we use to communicate on an incredibly nuanced level. Lettering and typography can visualize that system of meaning, and include every bit of nuance and possibility as language itself. I love using interesting letterforms or tactile media to make language into image, and vice versa—it's a way to multiply the meaning and add layers of interest beyond what the language would normally hold.
What is the most challenging part about your medium ~
Probably the medium! Working with tiny details takes a lot of patience, and especially when it's a tactile piece, it can be physically demanding as well. That, and screen time—any design discipline these days requires so many hours in front of a screen, and it's super unhealthy. We have to be intentional about getting outside and away from the digital ball and chain!
What is your process like ~
Process varies wildly from project to project, but generally it begins with a brief, moving to sketches, and then sourcing materials (which is my least favorite part—nobody likes running errands!). The fun part is when I can set up the studio, lay everything out and get my hands dirty creating the actual piece. A lot of post-production goes into every tactile piece as well, especially when it's stop-motion and there may be hundreds of frames to edit and animate.
Sources of Inspiration ~
Music is a big inspiration for me; I have really eclectic tastes in music especially and get excited about hearing new auditory textures or weird melody lines and progressions. I love other creative pursuits like film, architecture, and photography as well. In terms of design, there are some artists doing great things with texture and color recently like Braulio Amado, Felipe Pantone; art directors like Eric Hu or Hassan Rahim; lettering-wise, I love the weird type that David Rudnick has been doing, the always-brilliant Jordan Metcalf; I've been really enjoying the 3D work of Blake Kathryn Thomas as well.