After months of scanning the web for examples of great design & typography, I realized that much of the custom lettering, illustration, and letterpress that I had been swooning over was done by the same ridiculously talented designer. Jessica Hische’s work has been tweeted about and fffound, I can’t turn around on the internet without bumping into her beautifully crafted designs. I got particullary stoked when I read that she creates her type directly in illustrator with a mouse (and even sometimes a trackpad) and that she started creating her own typefaces in college because “I was broke… and couldn’t afford to go on an awesome font spending spree”. In addition to her work being featured just about everywhere.. her new blog The Daily Drop Cap, is helping to beautify the web by making charming letters available for blogs everywhere!
Q:Do you have a dream client or project? What is your favorite project you have worked on so far?
I feel like most of the projects I work on end up being “dream projects”. Really any time an art director tells me “just make it look awesome”, a project turns to a dream job. I think my favorite project so far was the Why We Love Boston series, just because I love repetition and I loved the idea of having to illustrate the same phrase in six different ways.
Q:I saw you have an adorable cat, have you snuck him/her into any of your illustrations, and if not.. will you?
I actually have two! I drew a lot of cats prior to adopting Billy and Olive, but recently I was hired to draw “cat internet memes” for Entertainment Weekly and I definitely used my kitties as figure inspiration.
Q:Your letterpress business cards are exquisite. Do you have any advice for designers who want to do their own letterpress work but may not have convenient access to a studio?
Try to take a weekend workshop somewhere if you are interested, even if you have to make it a mini vacation to a city nearby that has a shop. A few smaller shops offer letterpress courses (as well as local art colleges) that are open to people of all levels. A lot of people make the mistake of spending a few thousand dollars on a personal press and then realize that they aren’t that into it. I think trying it out is important before committing to buying a press. Personally, I always want to print relatively big, so I need to either own a huge press (which I don’t) or live near a studio that owns one (which thankfully I do). The smaller tabletop presses (which can cost up to $2,500, because letterpressing has become so popular) are really only good for very small items like postcards and business cards.
Q: I see your work everywhere online (from TheDieline.com to FFFFOUND! to FPO), do you have any advice for other designers who are trying to get their work out there?
I think one of the main ways to get your work noticed on the internet and blogs is to do something humorous or just really smart. I think I’m lucky that people seem to be happy enough with my work just being pretty, but the work that I really notice and bookmark online are things that are really smart conceptually, or make me smile / laugh.
Q: Buttermilk, your new font, is wonderful… are there any typeface designers you look up to?
I definitely am a major fan of H&FJ. I use their fonts far too much and have to stand back and think “Stop using Archer!” or “You used Gotham on 5 projects this month!”. I also love Mark Simonson’s work, particularly Mostra and Coquette.
Q:You occasionally do type for romance novels, do you enjoy reading them? If so, any favorites?
Alas, I’ve never been given one to read. Doing type for the cover would be a perfect excuse to pick one up though! I love doing type for these covers though. It’s amazing to see your type being scrawled across a bare-chested dude.
Q:You are receiving a lot of online buzz for the Daily Drop Cap. Where did you come up with the idea? How long do you plan on keeping it up? Have you received any interesting opportunities through launching that blog?
When I left Louise Fili Ltd. this September I wanted to come up with a project that would be fun, keep me motivated, and be something I wouldn’t have time for when I had a day job. At first I thought about doing an alphabet per week, but my schedule was filling up quickly (and I was appreciating the extra sleep time!), so I decided to focus on one letter per day. Originally I just thought of running through the alphabet (as I’m doing), but it seemed like it would be more fun if there was more user interaction. I brainstormed with a few of my friends and was then convinced the caps should be able to be used on other sites (I wanted to do this but was concerned about people mis-using them or using them commercially).
Q:How do you keep yourself motivated to create a new and interesting letter everyday? Do you keep a sketchbook or just blindly go at a new idea every day?
I definitely go blindly at it. I wanted the site to be a thing that made me be creative every day, even when I’m dragging my feet. I think I come up with the best ones when I don’t plan ahead and just dive in.