The design landscape is changing. The combination of analog and digital processes are shaping the future of design and shifting the way we perceive brands. Check out 4 of our favorite lettering designers that combine analog and digital processes in their work.
Artist | Designer
Tyrsamisu is a serious name in the typography design and hand lettering game. Tyrsa is a Parisian whose real name is Alexis Taïeb. His creative journey began as a teenage graffiti artist on the streets of Paris. This form of self-expression evolved into a love for typography and lettering. Tyrsa journey continued at design school, Gobelins (Paris), graduating in 2007.
Working With Big Brands
After graduating, Tyrsa became a freelancer focussing on print and web design. Then he went on to amass an enviable client list including campaigns for Nike, Essay Miyake, Moët & Chandon, and David Beckham’s House 99. His portfolio shows a deep understanding of how lettering can be both functional and beautiful at the same time. Describing his work, Tyras explains that he’s always striving to reinvent the letter, but never lose its meaning or its beauty.
Truly a master of combining analog and digital processes, Tyrsa says most of his work starts by hand. He starts with analog tools such as brushes, pens, and spray paint. He then moves to digital, only at the end of the process. Tyrsa believes that starting with analog, or by hand, is more free, which maximizes creativity. In contrast, working on the computer first can lead to a creative block.
Working With His Hometown Football Club, PSG.
Tyrsa created temporary tattoos for Zlatan Ibrahimović, then with Paris Saint-Germain soccer club, for the “805 Million Names” campaign for the World Food Programme. (The campaign was from Swedish agency Forsman & Bodenfors.) The tats—the names of 50 of the more than 800 million people suffering from hunger—were revealed live during a game after Ibrahimović scored a goal and took off his shirt. “I tried to find a separate visual identity for each tattoo to show that they are individual people,” Tyrsa says.
Recent Work With PSG
Tyrsa recently applied his custom typography exclusively across the Jordan x Paris Saint-Germain jersey collection. As part of the launch event, Tyrsa held a customisation workshop in Paris on Tuesday, November 6th, 2018 in collaboration with Nike. Taking over the Nike Store on the Champs-Élysées, Tyrsamisu will showcase his signature name and numbers allowing fans to create bespoke PSG kits.
Tyrsa explains his process on IG:
“I’ve created this alphabet by scanning a classic basketball typeface and distorting it manually. No photoshop was used here. Only my random gesture while holding and moving my piece of paper on the scanner window. I’ve also added a thin line on each figure. Which is something very common in traditional football codes. This distortion and the mix between these 2 sports visual codes is my own interpretation of this unexpected and iconic collaboration, who breaks and twist the rules of both sports.”
Tyrsa collaborated with Benoît Castel, a master pastry chef at Liberte, a French Patisserie, to create his signature graphic desert.
Artist | Designer
Another big name in the hand lettering game, Gemma O’Brien is a 31-year-old Australian, who dropped out of law school to pursue a career in design. At university, she worked with a letterpress, which got her interested in the world of typography. After that, she gained prominence when an experimental short film in which she inscribes her body with hand lettering went viral.
Over the past 10 years, Gemma O’Brien has built a career around bringing letters to life through her passion for typography, hand lettering, and illustration. Her work can be seen in advertising campaigns, editorial publications and large-scale murals in galleries and interiors around the world.
Student Work Going Viral
At only 20 years old, Gemma found herself in the spotlight. One of the biggest font blogs (FontShop) in Berlin wrote an article about her university project where she covered her whole body in hand lettering. This turned out to be her big break in the typography world. The author of that article later invited her to speak at Typo Berlin conference, which she accepted.
Evolving With Murals
Gemma found her calling through experiencing both client and personal projects. As many designers are familiar with, it was client work in the day, personal projects at night. Gemma would practice lettering with tons of different tools. This practice would eventually open up new opportunities for client work. Gemma evolved her lettering practice by trying out large-scale murals, which led to new opportunities. All of the sudden she had a whole new area of practice within her work. The mural era.
Working with Big Brands
A number of her projects have received the Award of Typographic Excellence from the New York Type Directors Club, in 2015 she was recognized as an ADC Young Gun and in 2016, named one of PRINT Magazine’s New Visual Artists: 15 under 30. She has collaborated with numerous global brands and publications including Apple, Google, Adobe, and The New York Times. She has presented at design conferences including TYPO Berlin, TYPO San Francisco, Semi Permanent, agIdeas International Design Forum, and Typism. In her spare time she travels and illustrates puke-puns on airsick bags for The Spew Bag Challenge. Gemma is represented by The Jacky Winter Group and is a Volcom Womens Ambassador for creative and art-based projects.
Hand Lettering Barf Bags
One of our favorite projects of Gemma’s, has it’s own Instagram hashtag. The Spew Bag Challenge (#spewbagchallenge). It started from Gemma drawing on sick bags during her flights. After a while, the hashtag on Instagram organically grew. Eventually Gemma had an exhibition about barf bag art, and even partnered with a major airline.
Filmed in Sydney at Adobe MAKE IT 2016, Gemma O’Brien discusses how she has developed a multi-faceted practice that attempts to balance the commercial with creative.
Artist | Designer
Ben Johnston is a multi-disciplinary artist and designer that believes in a hand-crafted approach to all his design endeavors. Born in Canada and raised in South Africa, Ben made a name for himself for his unique typographic artworks. Similar to Tyrsa, Ben dabbled in graffiti a bit as a teenager. He studied product/industrial design. But ultimately dropped out to pursue graphic design.
Ben’s Discribes His Work
Always working on side projects in between client work. He believes you can never stay complacent. Each new thing you put out is constantly showing your progression. Describing himself as a very meticulous and precise individual, his typographical artworks are near-perfection. Ben describes is work as clean and structured.
Nike, Google, Ford, Sierra Nevada, Adobe, Blue Moon, Aston Martin, Shopify, Lululemon, Canon, Chevrolet, M&M’s, GAP, Rogers, Jeep, DDB, Hootsuite, Moosehead, Tourism Toronto, Shopify.
Artist | Designer
New York, USA
Jennet Liaw is a designer | illustrator currently working out of New York. Jennet grew up int he bay area, eventually moving up and down the west coast and overseas for school and work. Her background is in graphic design. Jennet has since transitioned to illustration with a focus on hand lettering and typography design working in a number of different mediums.
Sharing The Process Via Social Media
After graduation, Jennet took on some design jobs and built up momentum using Instagram. By simply posting sketches and ‘work in progress’ art, the key to her success was to simply share and not worry about perfection. She wasn’t using it as a gallery for her art. She was naturally telling a story by sharing her process.
With social media revolutionizing the audience for artists and designers of all kinds, new opportunities came Jennet’s way. In Jennet’s case, one of the the biggest brands came calling. Only 2 years out of school, she went on to work as a graphic designer at Nike in Portland. Working at Nike gave her a unique perspective. The ability to understand the differences between designing within corporate constraints, and open projects where she can create whatever she likes.
Nike, Uber, Adidas, 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, Apple, Clifbar, Adobe, Harper Collins, Coca-Cola, REI, Samsung, Fossil, Disney, Spike, Jones, Puma.
The Futur (Podcast) Pursuit of A Creative Life W / Jennet Liaw
Tyrsa, Gemma, Ben, and Jennet are 4 of our favorite artist | designers who combine analog and digital processes. Their inspirational work has built massive followings on social media, and as a result, has caught the attention of big brands.
Who are your favorite artists who combine analog and digital? Let us know in the comments below.