From the time I learned cursive in second grade, I’ve been fascinated with lettering. I love everything about it – the curves, the loops, the flourishes. I think I covered every square inch of my folders in middle school trying to perfect the lettering of my favorite band (The Doors) – I was 13 and had a thing for Jim Morrison. I drove myself nuts trying to get the proportions of the “o” correct. Now, anytime I see a sample featuring hand lettering it goes in my keeper file. So you can imagine my delight when I heard of Jessica Hische’s Daily Drop Stationery for the Luxe Project.
A letterer and graphic designer, Jessica Hische began the Daily Drop Cap project in 2009 illustrating a decorative letter every day until she completed twelve sets of alphabets. Now she’s turned the gorgeous project into a full line of stationery for the The Luxe Project by Moo. The collection includes a full suite of luxe products including letterhead, business cards, notecards and mini-cards (so cute) all printed on one of our favorite papers – Mohawk Superfine. The self professed crazy cat lady is donating 100% of the proceeds from sales of her collection to the ASPCA.
We were lucky enough to have Jessica answer a few questions for us. Check out Jessica’s insights on the Daily Drop Cap project, her take on ‘procrastiworking,’ and the importance of paper specification among other things.
PP: We understand the Daily Drop Cap came about as a personal project, what advice would give to designers who find themselves ‘procrastiworking’ and longing to do more creative client work?
JH: Clients, in order to hire you to do really fun and creative things, need to see that you can perform over and over again—that you’re not just a one hit wonder. This isn’t because they have no imagination, it’s because usually you’re not working for the client themselves when doing illustration or lettering. Most of the time you’re working with other creatives—art directors and designers—but they have to pitch you to their less creative clients. Without a body of work to reference, it’s difficult for art directors to pitch you. Procrastiworking is a great way to build up a portfolio full of the work you actually want to be doing instead of the work that you’re currently being paid to do.
PP: You’ve done some amazing work for clients like Leo Burnett, Wes Anderson and Penguin Books – we love the recent poster illustration you did for Mohawk “The Details – That’s What the World’s Made of.” How important is paper selection to you in the design process?
JH: For my own personal posters it’s hugely important, but for most of the work that I’m doing I don’t have much of a say. When I do work for Starbucks or other big clients, I’m making assets for advertisements. Those ads might exist online or in print, and if in print may be used in magazines, on billboards, on subway ads, etc. The only time I really get to control paper selection is when I’m working on small-run posters or invitations, and it’s always a delight to page through paper sample books and choose the one that’s just right for the project.
PP: Obviously we’re HUGE fans of print (and paper), do you have a print process you’re particularly fond of?
JH: I love letterpress (and love doing it myself!) but lately I’ve been really obsessed with foil-stamping. I’m always trying to think of projects I can make that use foil in an interesting way or projects that make use of all of the insane holographic foils that are available.
PP: You’re a self-proclaimed over sharer, do you have any advice for creatives struggling to find their voice online and offline?
JH: Hopefully you can keep them one in the same! I think one of the things people struggle with most is trying to appear “professional” online, adjusting the tone of their writing so as to not offend incoming clients. I’ve definitely found that some light irreverence online is welcomed with open arms, and that you should definitely just be yourself whenever possible. It’s through being yourself that you’ll be able to find a supportive community online and generate good relationships with your new “stranger friends”.
PP: What’s the first thing you do when you receive a fresh print sample?
PP: If you weren’t a designer/letterer/illustrator, what would you be doing?
JH: I’m not sure! I have a bunch of weird side interests and think I could be happy doing a lot of things. One of my favorite college courses was Intro to Physical Anthropology—perhaps I could have worked in forensics!
As if it wasn’t enough that we got to chat with Jessica, our friends at Mohawk and Moo are giving our readers a chance to win $100 towards any of the products on moo.com – including the Daily Drop Collection Stationery. “The basis of any word is a single letter,” Jessica says. So, choose a beautifully illustrated drop cap that’s meaningful to you, and create a personal communication system. To enter, simply join our community, the winner will be randomly selected on May 30th.
**Entries for the giveaway are closed, the winner has been selected and notified – congratulations Abbey!