Lettering Design Master Class with Martina Flor | Adobe Creative Cloud

(upbeat music) – Welcome, everyone. (applause) Yeah. This is for you for waking
up at 8 in the morning, or even earlier. I was expecting a huge
drop off in this session, but I’m super surprised
that so many of you are interested in lettering
at 8 in the morning. My name is Martina Flor,
and I’m a lettering artist, I’m a lettering designer. I run a tiny studio in
Berlin, I live and work there. I run this studio on lettering
and gossamer typography, and I’m here to take you
onto a trip into the world and the process of the lettering artist, and the entire idea of the session is that you leave this session with a better understanding
of what typography is, and that you can use it
for your creative work, whatever that is, if you do illustration, UX design, web design. So, welcome everyone. I always say that every new
thing you learn becomes, every new experience becomes
a card in your pocket, so that next time you have
to face something similar, you can pull that card out of your pocket to solve that problem. So I brought some
typographic cards with me, and I’m gonna give this
away as we learn new things in this session, so follow along. Whoo. So, when designing lettering,
what we basically do is to give language a shape. What I really like about
it is that the text, the context, the content and its shape are counter parts for the same message. So, I can speak about love in a very sweet and sensitive way, or I can say my favorite bad
word in a very delicate way. I can tell you how a
product feels on your skin, and I can speak very,
very loud about a topic. By shaping these letters,
I can tell you stories. I like to illustrate the
power of storytelling through lettering with book covers because in designing a book cover, we basically tell the
reader what to expect from the 300 pages that
are coming right after, so what I’m telling the
reader here, what to expect, is very different from
what I’m telling the reader what to expect here. The shape of those letters
set the tone for the message. Of course there are several
things that play a role here, the illustration, the color
scheme, the composition, but in lettering and typography, the letters are the
main expressive medium, and they are the heart. I can not help to find
a word when someone says that lettering is the new thing because it’s really been
there for a long time, we just need to raise
our heads and look up. There’s letters that tell us
how cool and modern a car is, at least back in the ’50s. There is letters that speak
about the importance of a place, and they feed their application. There are letters that work
with whatever they have in hand. These are tiles in a store
front in a cafe in Amsterdam. But letters have been
there, have been out there, telling us stories for a very long time. This is the store front
of a bakery in Paris, and what I love about this
sign is that, you know, by looking at this sign, I can almost picture the bread they make. I can imagine that they
use the precise ingredients and that the baker works
carefully one each bun, you know the same way the
artisan that draw this sign painted every single stroke,
painted every single serif. So by looking at this
sign, I can, you know, it’s almost like I can taste that bread. That is the power of lettering, to communicate much more than the literal meaning of the word. Of course, you know, these
are all very old signs, all of them, and probably
the people making the signs were working in a very, very specific way. They were drawing this on paper and that would be later drawn on tiles or made on wood or metal. Nowadays, lettering artists, or letterers, work in a very different way. On top of the analog techniques, we have the digital techniques. However, the principles we work with are very similar to the
principles that these designers, or makers, used to work
with when drawing letters. So, let’s start a little bit by the basics of letter creation, and
I bet many of you here can help me with this
part of the presentation. So, we say that in lettering,
our main creative medium is the letter shapes themselves, so we work with the alphabet, and when I look at the alphabet, there is three main groups of letters. There’s the group of letters
that are basically rectangular, so under this group, you can find the H. Which letters can you find here, if you can find the H? X, ah, hold, hold it. The T? The E? M? I? L. Very good. You can see that. It’s very easy to understand the relationship between those, right? Is that me? I’m too close to the speaker. So, you can very well see the relationship between the E and the F, you know, the F is almost like an E,
but without feet, right? So, let’s go to the rounded shapes. Which letters can you find here? O. C. Q. Very good, very good. There’s very few in this group. So, now let’s move on to
the triangular shapes. Which letters can you find here? A, very good. V. M, eh. Y, eh. Think only of diagonal shapes. V, W, yeah. So you got it, right? And the X, of course. Now, that was easy, now
it’s getting tricky. If I want to combine
some of the information from the group of the rectangular shape and the group of the rounded letter shape, which letters can I build with that? D. B. P. U. Very good, the U actually
was a bonus question, so who is that? Yeah, you get the first
card of the session. So, now, if I want to combine something from the group of the rectangular letters and the triangular letters,
which letters can you make? Think of a straight part and a diagonal. You named a couple of letters here. K, very good. N. Y, yes. Ah, hold it for later. Z, very good, very good, and there was just one missing there, someone named it before. Oh, so many of you, that
was a bonus question. Who is getting this card? So, good, now this is a
bonus question as well, and it’s getting a card. If I want to combine all of
the groups in one letter, someone said it. R, okay you have to come
pick up the card after. And if you want to
combine some information from the group of the rounded letters and the triangular letters, which letter can you make? An S, who said that? Yeah, very good. So, unlike with many thing, the S is actually a diagonal shape with two rounded shapes at the top. So understanding the alphabet as a system allows me to work on my
drawings more effectively. So if my drawing has an E, that gives me a lot of
information to create an I, a T, an L, and
if my drawing has an O, that gives me a lot of information to create a C and a D and a G, and if my drawing has an A, that gives me a lot of information to create an N, an M, a V. The same happens with
the lowercase letters. Look at that P and that G. They’re almost like mirrored
shapes, aren’t they? And it’s not only about the
letter shapes themselves, but also about the features
of those letter shapes. Look at the stroke
ending of the G and the N and the stroke endings of the
S, they’re related shapes. They’re not exactly the same,
but they’re related shapes. So, when designing letters, it’s not only about the
letter itself, you know, the shape itself, but also
about the space around them. So we call spacing to that
space between the letters, you know, like there
and there, there, there. And, as a principle we say that
the space within the letter should be similar to the space
between the letters, right? So, if that is water,
I should be able to fit the same amount of water
between the letters, right? So, the more space within the letter, the more space between the letters. The less space within the letter, the less space between the letters. Another concept, or
criteria, we work with, or parameter we work with in
letter design is the contrast. We say that the contrast is the difference between the thinnest and the
thickest part of the letter, so if that difference is very big, we call that high contrast,
if that is very low, we call that, right. So, what would that be? Low contrast, very good. What would that be, best? High contrast. And this is a bonus question. What would that be? High contrast, very good. So, you got it. The last concept I want to
speak about here is proportions. So, when I speak about
proportions for letter shapes, I like to compare it with the human body. So, there’s persons, people,
that have the, you know, optimal proportions. There’s, you know, letters
that have shorter upper body and longer legs, letters
that have longer upper body and shorter legs, and so on
and so on and so on, right? So, you know, you can find so many people as also letter shapes, as well, right? So, we spoke about mother
shapes in the alphabet, spacing, contrast, proportions. These are all the things
that the letter designers, or lettering artists like
me, sort of work with to create new letter forms. I learned all this stuff during
my studies in type design. I was born in Argentina, I moved to the Netherlands
to study type design, I’m actually a graphic designer, originally a graphic designer, and I move to the Netherlands to study type design for a year, and that was a tipping point in my work. I found in letter design
something that married and combined two things
that I really like, which is drawing and designing. So, after that, I moved to Berlin. I tried to start my way into lettering, and it wasn’t until I moved to Berlin that I understood the
importance of typography in our daily life. When I moved to Germany, I
didn’t speak a word of German, and although I could get
away with English at times, it wasn’t always the case. Have you ever been in the
situation of traveling, and you know, being a tourist
somewhere, being at a bar, and not understanding anything
of what’s being said around? Probably, right? Well, I felt that so many times, and it wasn’t only about,
you know, the conversations, it was also about the food
I was eating and the news. I couldn’t understand
the signs on the street, however, the shape of the
letters would give me hints. They would let me see a
little bit of the story that is hidden behind
every piece of typography. So I could see where
tradition was important, and I could understand
when someone was trying to give me an indication, and you know, even when I couldn’t understand
what it was said there, I just wouldn’t go ahead. And I could see when something was made to be there for a long time. I call this one sausage lettering because, you know, because of the shape, but it actually gave
me a lot of information of what that store is, which is actually a store that sells sausages. So, the shape of those
letters help me understand my surrounding and navigate the city. So, Berlin was a great motivation for me to make my own way into
typography and lettering. Of course that when I moved to Berlin, I had all this, you know, I moved there right after my studies in type design, and I knew how to draw letters, but one of the challenges
of doing a way in lettering is that you need to
tell stories with that. So I felt I could technically
draw letter shapes, but I didn’t know anything
about expressing something, you know, telling much more than the literal meaning of those words. So, that was one of the
first challenges I faced when I started creating lettering. Another one of the challenges I faced is to understand how to work
professionally with clients. I still remember the first assignment, the first big assignment that I had, you know, since then, I’ve been working with a lot of different clients,
a lot of different people, helping clients and
brands tell their stories through typography, but I still remember the very first assignment that I had. That was a cover for a magazine in the UK, and it was a pretty well known magazine, so my design will have a lot of exposure, and I was really excited to
get this first assignment. So, I got the brief, I got the, you know, all the text that I had to illustrate. I was so excited, I started
working in my computer, I worked straight for two
days, and by the moment, you know, and I showed
this to the art director. By the moment I sent
this to the art director, it was one day away from the deadline. Thank God she liked it. (laughs) Because I wouldn’t have
made it to the deadline if she would have not like it. So, after this first very
important assignment for me, I thought, I need to come
up with a new system. I need to come up with a new process that allows me to work on my designs without spending so much time before knowing what the client wants. So, this is when I started
working with sketches, and I like to show this project because it’s one of the projects where a sketching letter forms,
or creating sketches for my designs actually
saved my life, in a way. So, this was an assignment I created for, also many years ago, for a US magazine, an American magazine, 5280, and they asked me to design the cover of their holidays catalog. So, the whole assignment
had a very quick turnaround, I had three days to
deliver the final artwork. So I got the assignment, I got the text, everything I needed, and
I created this sketch. I sent this sketch to the art director and she came back to me
and said, we love it, this is the direction,
but this is not the text. The text is those three words up there, (audience laughs) which I hadn’t illustrated
at all. (laughs) And you know, being a lettering artist that mainly works with texts, I think that the only thing that I have to get right is the text. So, I could say, I’m sorry,
I made a big mistake, I misread your briefing,
and three hours later I could deliver a new
sketch with the right text, she could give me feedback, and I could move on to
the digital drawing, everyone was happy, the
final artwork was delivered, and yeah, and I could continue
working with this client in the future. So that leads me to
speak a little bit about sketching letterforms
because it has become a very important part of the work I do. So, let me show you a little
bit how I work with sketches. And I’m gonna do a little demo for you. I know you were expecting,
I’m sorry to disappoint, I know you were expecting a
more Instagrammable setup here, but this is actually my
actual setup when I’m working. I will normally work with
regular copy paper and a pencil. For those that haven’t seen
one of these for a long time, (audience laughs) you click here. So, normally when I sit
down to work I have a brief, and this is a very essential
part from creation, I feel that a brief gives
you a little bit of a frame from where to start from. In this case I have no brief, I’m gonna come up with a brief. So I’m gonna create a
postcard for my four-year-old to tell him what a great
time I’m having here in L.A. So, I’m gonna send him a
postcard that says awesome. What I would normally
do when I start working is to explore a couple of directions that I want my work to go in. So, I always start by
various thumbnail sketches, so explore working with capital letters, so I’m gonna start by using
a very simple skeleton for my letters. So, the thumbnail
sketches are not the place where I’m gonna solve my design, the thumbnail sketches are just the place where I want to understand whether I want to work with Roman typography or with script typography. So, I’m not gonna spend much time. I’m gonna add a swish to this. I’m not gonna spend much time
on this particular thumbnail. This is just for me to understand in which direction I want to go. So, this is my first
thumbnail sketch, very quick, less than a minute. So I’m gonna move on
to a second thumbnail, and I’m gonna work with lowercase letters. Let me see, maybe I can work
with a slanted base line. And I’m gonna write awesome again, but you’ll see, lowercase letters. So, as you see, I’m moving super fast. This is not about
designing the exact shape that that E is gonna have
or that W is gonna have, this is more about
having a very rough idea of the composition,
whether I’m gonna work with the creative elements or not, whether I’m gonna work
with a slanted base line. So I have my second sketch
over there, thumbnail sketch, and I’m gonna create a third sketch that uses script lettering. When working with script letter, what I, you know, script lettering
is based on handwriting, it’s also called cursive lettering, and when working with script lettering, I like to use my handwriting
as the basis for my drawing. Gonna add something to that A over there. I’m gonna add something to
that S over there, right? So, this will be another
possible direction. So, I have my three thumbnail sketches, and I can decide then whether I think I want to go in this direction or that direction or that direction. So I’m gonna continue in
this direction, right? I’m gonna move on to a bigger paper. I’m gonna leave this right behind. So what I’m basically gonna do, I need to move to a bigger size paper because I need to work on the details, and in this size I can not
really work on the details, like the stroke endings and the exact weight of those strokes. I’m gonna just draw this
into, or draw that bigger. So, I’m gonna basically
copy what I just did on a bigger paper. I’m gonna write awesome
again using my handwriting. This is the part where you’re
supposed to do all the talking because I’m busy. (audience laughs) So, there you go. So I have my first, very first sketch. This sketch should also
be very, very rough. This is just the basis
for what’s coming after, this is not the place where
I’m gonna solve my design. Hopefully my design is
gonna look very different from what you see here,
but as you can see, I’m not also, I’m adding
weight to those letters, I’m not working only with skeletons because I want to work with letter shapes, and letter shapes have weight and width. So this is my first, my very first sketch. This will become the basis
for what’s coming after. I would normally work on top of this, you know, to polish my sketch, I would normally work with tracing paper. This is tracing paper, so
it’s kind of transparent. It comes, you can buy it in rolls. I like it in rolls because you can always go bigger with your drawing. What I love about this tracing paper is that I can, you know, my
drawing always develops farther, so I’m not starting over every time, but I can copy the things that I like from my previous drawing, and I can change the
ones that I don’t like. So, the first things I will look at when working on my designs, on my designs, are basically, you
know, I will focus first on the composition. So, to work on the composition, I like to think of my design
as something that has a north, a south, an east, and a west. So, if there’s something
going on in the north, what is there going on in the south that sort of balances that out? And if there’s something
going on in the west, what is there going on in the east that sort of balances that out? So I can see in my design right now that there’s a lot going on in the south, but there’s nothing going on in the north, so I’m gonna try to
solve that issue first. So, normally I would
just try to find a letter where I could get a swash from. Normally, to get swashes at
the top of your composition, you will use uppercase letters, so the B, the L are very good
letters to get swashes from, unfortunately I don’t have any uppercase, uh, ascender on my composition. So, I’m just gonna try to find
another solution for that. Sometimes the solution comes from changing or finding an alternative
shape for your letter. So, I can see here, my S, so this S, this shape of an S, can
help me flourish like this, as you can see here. However, this shape of an S
can help me flourish like this, and like this as well, so maybe that would be a good solution for getting a swash that
makes a little bit of work, at the top of my composition. So, here it is. It seems to work pretty good. Now my north, my south,
are sort of balanced out, however, I still think that the S is doing most of the work here, so I’m gonna try to find another letter that will help me sort of replace the work that the S is doing
down here at the south. So, I can see my E here, maybe the E can help me do that job. You know this shape of an
E can help you do that, it can also help you do that. If you change the shape of that E, and you turn it into a two stories E, this E might help me do that. I could also flourish
at the top if I want. So, I think this new shape for an E will very well help me sort of replace the S at doing some work at the bottom. So, I found a couple of
solutions for my composition, that’s good. Now, there’s other things to look at when working on the first
stages of my design. For instance, capitals. I always recommend everyone to use as many capitals as you
can because capitals add a lot of flavor to the design, you know, they can be as crazy, as
flamboyant as you want them to be. So, I’m gonna make A a
little bit bigger over here, and I think it can also help me. You know, it can also help
the E cover up the space here at the south, can you see that? There’s a little bit of a hole there. So, I’m gonna make that A a
little bit more crazy and big, and that will hopefully
help me solve that issue. So, here we are, and as I said before, I’m filling up the
shapes, and since I found a couple of solutions for my design, now I’m just gonna copy the things that I think kind of look
good from my previous drawing. So, I’m just gonna copy that super quick. As you can see, I’m not thinking much. I can speak and draw at the same time, I’m not thinking much, I’m just copying what there is behind, and that’s all. So, I have my very first,
you know, my second layer. I have solved a couple of issues. The composition is looking
quite good already, my north, south, east, west
is looking kind of good. This A added a lot of
flavor to the whole thing, and what I love about this thing is that you don’t waste any time,
like you move very fast onto every layer, and you can also try out very extreme solutions for your design. So, I can also say, for instance, I want to see how my design
reacts with a lot of weight. I want to see how these
letter shapes look like if I add a lot of weight to them. So I just need to use another
layer of tracing paper and a lot of weight to my design. I don’t need to think much, I just need to copy what there is behind, and I’m turning the
thick parts of my drawing into even thicker parts, and I just copy that into my next layer. So everything that was a
little bit thick before is turning into a very thick stroke. And I don’t need to think much, again, so let’s make that W a lot
thicker, a lot thicker, and what’s great about the tracing paper is that I can shift it up, I can move it, I can solve some spacing
issues if there is any. So, I can draw that S very quick, and if the letters are getting fat, then the swashes are
getting very fat as well. So, I’m gonna add a lot
of weight to that swash. So, again, I’m moving
very fast with my drawing. I’m also filling those shapes, so that I don’t work with
skeletons and outlines, but I work with real letter shapes. And I can see also whether
that M is looking too heavy next to that E, so I’m gonna
draw that E over there, and I’m gonna also make
that swash a lot bigger, gonna simplify that swash. Here we are. So, in a couple of minutes, I have created a version of my drawing that is extra, extra bold and I can, let me just polish this a little bit. As you can see, still
looking very, very rough. I’m gonna, I can see that
there’s like a hole here, so I’m gonna add a swash to
that A to cover up that space. Of course when you add more weight, whatever you do with your drawing, it will cause new problems
that you will have to solve, and that’s how the things
move forward, basically. Gonna add something here. And now I can see that the composition is sort of starting to
work, I have a north, south, east, west that
is sort of balanced, and afterwards, I can
start deciding on details, whether this stroke ending looks like that or whether that looks like this, or whether that looks like that, but this comes afterwards, right? The first, very first
drawings should be very rough, very quick, and the last drawings should, you should work on them slower
and should be more polished. So, what is interesting about this is that I have very two different
directions for the same design. I can say, oh, do I
think this looks awesome or do I think this looks more awesome. So, which one would you like
me to continue working on? This one? I thought so. Let me move onto the presentation again. So, as I said, I will move on through layers of tracing paper. I will move on to polishing this shape, deciding whether the
terminals are gonna be sharp or chubby or how they are gonna look like. And this is how the drawing move forward, until I get to a design
that I think, okay, I solved most of my issues,
most of the composition, you know, the composition is working, the weight of the strokes is working, and this is what I would send to a client. When I send this to a client, this is the space where
the client can tell me, I like this direction,
I think it’s working, let’s move forward, because you have seen that most of the things that
I do are digital lettering, so the final artwork will be
a digital piece of lettering. And I have to say that
drawing letters in vectors is a very, very time consuming work, so I need to save some
time in the digital drawing for what’s coming after,
which is the vector drawing. So, if this room would be the process of creating a letting piece
from sketch, here in the front, and final artwork there in the back, can you guys in the first
two rows lift your hands? So, you guys will be the sketching part. And you guys will be the digitalization. So, thank you so much. So, the digital drawing of letter shapes is very, very time consuming, and what I find great about the sketch is that it helps me
solve most of the issues so that the digital
drawing can move forward, can move a lot quicker. So, I will normally use that
as the basis for my drawing, and I will start plotting
those points in Illustrator, and I will start plotting
those points using a specific thing that is called the extreme points technique. I’m not gonna get it very technical. You can look it up in the internet, you will find plenty of stuff. So, this extreme points
technique allows me to use as few points as
I need to draw this shape so that if I need to
edit the shape of that E, I just need to, you know, shape
those four or three points that build that E, and
not like a dozen of them. So, as you can see, I work very fast. (audience laughs) But I know that many of you are thinking, but wait, you can import that drawing, that sketch looked pretty polished, so you can import that
into your Illustrator and you can auto trace, right? It just does it for you. Well, auto trace, for lettering artists that work with digital drawings is hell because auto trace turns your drawing into millions of points that
you are never able to edit, so whereas the extreme points technique allows you to control the
shapes of your letters, allows you to decide
whether you want that E to be a little bit more
rounded or that swash to be a little bit more fast and tight. And of course the digital
drawing is not all. You have seen that many of
the shapes that I’ve drawn, look at, for instance, the W, how it’s connecting with the E. That’s a very fluid connection, right? And it’s drawn also like
this as a fluid shape, as a fluid contour. However, look at it again, the E and the W, this connection
doesn’t look really fluid, right, it’s kind of broken. So, you need to fix that up. Even when it’s properly drawn, it’s drawn as a continued shape, it doesn’t look like it continues. So that shape, as you can see in the E and also in the swash at the top, and in the swash at the E, these shapes need to be broken in order to look fluid. So, let’s go back to that again. Oh, sorry. Not good, good. Not good, focus on the E, not good, good. Can you see that? So, always trust your eye
when drawing letter shapes, it doesn’t necessarily need to, you don’t need to design mathematically or draw it correctly, it
just needs to look right. And that leads to the finishing touch. The finishing touch is actually an essential part of the entire work. The finishing touch will be
the coloring and the texture. So, what I think is that
the color of your lettering is an essential part of your storytelling. I want to show you this
example of an illustration I created for a German
magazine, The Spiegel. Gelassenheit in German means serenity, and I think with the art director, we did a pretty good job
at, you know, the layout, the lettering that I created at the top, everything, the color scheme, everything sort of speaks about serenity in a very efficient way. However, the exact same layout
with exact same lettering in a different color scheme
speaks about something creepy. So, no serenity whatsoever here, right? And it’s just about the color scheme. So, what I normally like to do when I want to find a color
scheme for my designs, is to look for natural images. So, this is a one to one example. If I’m working on a
piece that says autumn, I would normally go and
look for images of autumn, you know, autumn scenes. So, if I think of awesome,
I think of things like Wonder Woman, right,
what anyone would think. So, I’m gonna extract the
color scheme of this image and use it in my drawing. So, in the visual drawing,
I can start adding volume to those letters if they require volume. I can start adding a background color, decorative elements on top that highlight. If there’s volume, there’s also shadow, so I can add a drop shadow to that, and always also, moving
very fast with my drawing. So, what I think is one of the challenges of digital drawings, or
digital illustration, is that at the end, it
doesn’t look so digital. So if you look at the shadow, it does look a little bit
like digitally made, right? So, there’s a little
bit of work after that that involves texture so that, I like to add some tactile
effects to my designs so that at the end, this digital drawing doesn’t look so digital. It has some sort of tactile effect. For that I use also
pictures of cracked paint or photocopies, and I apply it
on my design, like oil paper. So the design at the end is
the sum of all these layers, the background, the volume, the shadow, I added some half tone
patterns with the shadow to add a little bit of this
pop, kind of comic effect, or feeling to the illustration,
you know all these things, the texture at the top, all these things are part of the final image, and this will be the final
design delivered to the end user. – [Audience] Awww. – I know. (applause) So, yeah, that was the entire process of creating a lettering
piece in just 20 minutes. It’s interesting because
it took me many years to understand what my working process was, and I recently, like
a couple of years ago, I wrote a book, and this
was an essential part of actually understanding
how I was working since I had to tell the story to others like I’m telling you today, I needed to also organize
my process in steps, so I start here, I move forward here, and this is where I’m gonna
get with my work, right? I remember that in the beginning, I used to think that as a creative my work needed to be
always crazy and you know, my bosses needed to be
surprising every time, and that was also very time consuming because I felt that I
had to invent the wheel every time I had to do a new assignment, so understanding your process, knowing where you’re gonna start and knowing where you are
getting to with your work is a very freeing thing
because the magic happens in between, and you don’t have to worry about how to approach
a certain assignment. If any of you is interested
after this session, hopefully, is interested in moving forward in drawing typography or many of you here, I bet they’re interested
in doing lettering more, I always recommend to
try to create things, try to incorporate things
into your daily life and try to solve client
assignments with using lettering because I know that
many of us have learned, or have heard from since we were kids, or in our school, we have
heard this many times, right? Like, if you want to
get better at something, you need to practice and
then you will get better, just practice every day, but that’s very hard to do, I have to say. It’s very hard to find
the space and the time and have the consistency
to do it every day, so my advice is always to, instead of getting
better through practice, to get better at making. When I speak about making, I mean that you are doing something that has a meaning to you and
has an impact in the world. So, it doesn’t change anyone’s
life if your greatest sketch that says, bonjour mon
amour, good morning, my love, but it does if you turn
that into an object, a postcard, for instance, and you send it to the person you love. This is the idea behind
one of my side projects I did a couple of years ago that is called letter collections. I put myself the goal of
creating 100 postcards and send it to people, to people I knew, people I admired, family,
friends, and celebrities, so I was creating each
one of the postcards, I was printing that in my studio and sending them by snail mail. So the person will get the real thing, the postcard, right? Which is something that doesn’t
happen very often nowadays. So, this is how I send
postcards to Tim Burton, a creative mind, the director, who is a creative mind
that I admire a lot. I send postcards to Ringo
Starr from the Beatles because I feel that the world has been so unfair with Ringo, or not. (audience laughs) I even sent a postcard to the
football player Lionel Messi, because I admire people who
are so good at what they do. But I didn’t only send
postcards to celebrities and famous people, I also sent postcards to friends and family and colleagues, and even to my own baby
before he came to the world. I know, the four-year-old now. But I know you might be
wondering whether Lionel Messi or Ringo got their postcard, right? Me too. (audience laughs) I was secretly expecting
an email from Ringo saying, Martina, I got your
postcard, it was awesome. (audience laughs) Or go on Twitter and see Lionel Messi with a selfie with my postcard, well, that didn’t happen, yet. But something really cool happened, and that was that most of the
people I sent a postcard to, they were getting back to me saying, hey, I got your postcard,
this made my day, it’s so great to get a postcard nowadays, it’s been years. You know, I think that’s
the magic of doing something that it has a real impact in the world, even when it’s like the
phone call of a friend, and that little feedback kept
me going for the next one. So what I think that was really
essential from this project is that I had a brief. I knew what I was going to draw and who I was sending that to I always say that no
brief is the worst brief. If you have a client that
comes to you and tells you, oh, I give you a creative
freedom, total creative freedom, you go, just run away. That assignment is gonna take you a lot more than you thought. So, you need a brief to get you going. You also need a deadline
because the truth is that it will never be finished. You will always find something to improve. You will look at it tomorrow
and you will find something you could do better, so you need to know when you’re
gonna be finished with it, even if it’s not finished, you know? So, a brief is very important. A deadline is very important. And what I think is very
essential is to share it. When I say share it, I mean
to show it to other people, whatever that is, on a
blog or your website, on Instagram, I think it’s very important to engage others in what you’re doing and not hiding your work. And I believe a lot in sharing stuff, so nowadays in my studio we have a little bit of a
tradition that is sending, you know, coming up with a
brief that is sending a card to clients and colleagues and friends. So we send a card every year
with a text or something that resonates with us. So this was a lucky,
typographic lucky card for clients and friends, so that you will have luck next year. This was a laser cut
card that we sprayed onto every one of the envelopes
we sent the cards to, so we were actually making
it happen 100 times. And this card that we
sent a couple of years ago that had an actual pin in it, so you could always carry
typography next to your heart. And this card that we sent last
year that when you touch it, it was like, whoa, because
it was laser engraved. And I know that many of
you struggle with this, I teach very often, and I
know that most of the people that come to workshops spend
about half an hour or an hour just deciding what they’re gonna draw, which word are they gonna
draw, which couple of words. And I know that many of
you struggle with this, defining a briefing for your
work and for your making. So, I’m gonna introduce you
to a new project of mine, which is the Lettering Maker, and it’s based on this idea of, you know, stop practicing, start making. And what the Lettering Maker basically is, is a brief generator. So, it’s an online tool, it’s
free for everyone to use, and you can go online,
you have different modes, so you can choose between
beginner, advanced, and pro, and when you press,
for instance, beginner, you will get a couple
parameters to start from, so basically, the beginner mode tells you you have to draw your letters, you have to draw Italic letters, they have to look very wide, they have to be very heavy, you know, it gives you the weight, the contrast, and it also provides you with a text. So, you will start by drawing a word. If you move on to the advanced level, besides all these parameters, you will have other parameters on top, so you will have to
design for an application, a book cover, a poster, a card, and it gives you an attribute, so your lettering page should
look sweet or sad or sunny. As you move on to the pro
version, or the pro mode, you will have an audience,
so kids, women, you name it, you will have a twist for your attribute, so it would have to be sweet, but sorrow, and you will have a color scheme. And what is very important is that you have to set yourself a deadline, so you choose your own deadline, and you can print the briefing to get you started with your drawing. So, of course the website
sort of invites you to make, to execute the
assignment, the briefing, and to share it, whatever
you want to share it, on Instagram, on Twitter,
on the internet somewhere, and it also provides a hashtag for us to see what everyone
is actually making out there, and get motivation from each other. So, the Lettering Maker is
launching at the end of the year. This is a little bit like
the sneak peaks, but smaller. It’s launching at the end of 2019. You can sign up for the
newsletter on the website, or you can follow me on Instagram, and I will let you know when it’s online for everyone to use. So, hopefully, all the
things that we saw today will help you work better in
the future with typography, but I still have some
typographic cards with me, so are you ready for a Q and A? I want to give some of these away. Are you ready? Yeah, good. This is my moment. So, which are the three main mother shapes that we find the alphabet? Over there in the back. (audience member speaking) Very good, can you pass it forward? (audience applause) So, which letter can you create by combining all of the groups? Yeah? Eh, no, all of the groups. – [Audience] R. – R, very good. How do you define the right
spacing between two letters? (audience member speaking) Same inside that? As outside, very good. So, so, so, so when I say
high contrast it means that the letters are, (audience member speaking) Ah, a little bit thicker. (audience member speaking) The different widths. If I say that a letter has high contrast, it’s because the difference between, (audience member speaking) A low contrast. (audience member speaking) Oooh. (laughs) So, here, the difference
between the thick part and the thin part should be, (audience member speaking) Very different, exactly. That was tough. You fell asleep at that part. So, when drawing letters in vectors, you need to use a specific
technique that is called, (audience member speaking) extreme points, very good. And, the ultimate tool to draw
better lettering is called, (audience member speaking) the Lettering Maker, yes. (laughs) So, now we are literally taking
some cards home with you, so that’s all that I expected and wanted with this session today, so thank you so much for coming everyone. (applause) Thank you. (upbeat music)


  1. Qotd:Who else found this boring AF? Maotd:Me. 1st reply gets a follow on Instagram only if you answer the qotd.

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