O'Reilly logo

Design: Type by Tony Seddon, Paul Burgess

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

a
cing
f
ection.
Embracing imperfection:
Jay Roeder.
In light of the freeform nature of hand
lettering, I’ll try to keep my thoughts
organic and free as that would only be fair,
given the subject matter. Why do I like
hand-drawn typography? What inspires
me? Why do I think hand lettering is
important when used in the right
situations? I guess I’ve never really
thought about the answers to these
questions. Art school always seemed
to focus on establishing excellence in
traditional computer-based typography.
Maybe the reason that I enjoy hand-drawn
lettering so much is because it is
uncharted territory, where the rules
pertaining to traditional typography can
be broken. As different as hand lettering
appears to be at times, a foundation in
typography is an absolute necessity—
but you already knew that.
I have always been an avid fan of hand
lettering primarily because it adds a
human side to an otherwise
computer-dominated era of typography.
Computer fonts can sometimes have
limitations, whereas the free-form “break
all the rules” aesthetic of hand-drawn
typography can provide a useful solution
for the right project. For instance, it’s not
too often that you can switch typefaces in
the middle of a thought without it looking
completely out of place; whereas, hand
lettering is defined by “malpractices” such
as these. Don’t get me wrong, I love
computers and their seemingly infinite
well of fonts that obviously play a huge
role in any designer’s workflow, but it is
important to understand when to use
them and for what kinds of projects.
imperf
e
Embr
a
e
a
Before computers, the craft of hand
lettering was much more widespread.
The arrival of postscript fonts and desktop
computing caused it drop out of favor to a
degree and hand lettering was the last
thing anyone was interested in, but it is
currently experiencing a popular revival.
This new hand-lettering revolution could
be a result of the dust settling on the
excitement that grew up around the
technological era and all things digital.
If anything, hand lettering has the ability
to reveal the hand of its creator and at a
minimum, convey a sense of gestural
human craft. Although working by hand
can be extremely time inefficient, the
finished product always has a unique
quality that stands on its own.
I love describing my style as embraced
imperfection. Being a perfectionist, it was
not until I learned how to accept the
crooked lines, misaligned type, and
illegibility that my lettering took on
character and interest. As odd as it seems,
these imperfections can have just as
much craft as perfection. If you look at any
great hand-lettering artist’s work, you will
see these “errors” are not accidents at all.
I have always felt that my lettering projects
and daily drawings reflect the world and
its many inspirations from my own
perspective. There isn’t a day that goes by
where I don’t see or hear something that
inspires me, which is why I keep a list of
neverending thoughts and phrases that I
plan to draw— all inspired by my every day
life. I like to think that viewing an artist’s
hand lettering can tell you a lot about him
or her when taking into consideration the
style and content. Since music and art are
a huge part of who I am, my lettering is
primarily a fusion of those two subjects,
which in turn allows me to keep a certain
dedication and passion behind my work.
Then again, the connection between
music and hand lettering is nothing
new—just look at the infinite amount of
band posters, flyers, and shirts out there.
It’s overwhelming and ridiculously
inspiring!
Aside from my own inspirations,
something needs to be said about the
importance of looking at and studying all
of the other art out there, especially those
styles relevant to your own. In retrospect, I
can’t tell you how many artists (many of
whom are featured in this book) have
played an integral role in the evolution
of my own work. Their passion and
dedication is palpable, and that is
contagious.
142
143
Free-form:
Type
Jay Roeder:
USA
Project: T-Shirt & Sneaks.
Art Director: Jay Roeder.
Designer: Jay Roeder.
Jay Roeder:
USA
Project: Lower Case G.
Art Director: Jay Roeder.
Designer: Jay Roeder.
144
145
Free-form:
Type
Jay
Roeder:
USA
Alex
Trochut:
Spain
Project: Inspired Since ’84.
Art Director: Jay Roeder.
Designer: Jay Roeder.
Project: Proposal for the
Cadbury’s print campaign.
Art Director: Alex Trochut.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required