I listened to the podcast interview between Jessica Hische and Debbie Millman. I found everything they talked about to be especially exciting and interesting, because I have many things in common with Jessica. I had never heard of her before, but after finding her portfolio, I realize that I have admired her work in various packaging and print media. Her elegant yet whimsical typefaces that she creates by hand are born after she explores the history of type, agreeing that “designers need to have a better understanding of history to achieve greatness”. I agree with this completely – I have learned during my last semester of graphic design education that understanding the basic concepts that the masters of the past have instilled in the design we have today is essential in order to fully learn the basics of design. In order to develop the aesthetic taste that is essential to be successful as a designer, it is important to learn from the ground up and totally learn the fundamentals before plunging forward.
Jessica made the comment that she felt like a lot of design students “base their education on their portfolios and not what they are actually learning”. I found this comment to be reassuring – I am fully aware that quality of the work I am currently producing is not in proportion to the amount I am learning about design and how passionate I am about discussing various elements in a design with a group of people and brainstorming different options for that subject. I know that as my knowledge increases, it will begin to show more in my work than it does now. I have been worried that not having the best portfolio in the class would hold be back from reaching my goals as a design student.
Jessica talked extensively about her passion for lettering. She explained the difference between lettering and type design after reflecting on finding out the difference after doing 6 months of a type design degree. She explained that what she does when she creates her work is to not design an entire alphabet and then add letterforms together to product a word. She explained that her work cannot be broken apart to create new words from existing letterforms (in production and client work) because the letterforms are created when she starts the design of the word. I would never have known this about Jessica’s work had I not heard this podcast and it makes me appreciate it much more. I have always been interested in the ways that letterforms can interact with each other in an elegant, feminine yet timeless manner. Before hearing this podcast, I also thought that type design and lettering was tightly related – after learning the difference, I realize that there is a market for my passion of creating illustrative letterforms.
Jessica also touched on being a “designistrator”. This “term” is particularly exciting for me, because during this past semester I have found from taking both the graphic design and illustration surveys that I am equally as passionate about both paths. I feel like that I have an understanding for the elements of design and a talent at creating illustrations. To hear Jessica talk about combining both aspects into one marketable strength, I realize yet again that there I more of a niche in the design world that I can explore upon graduation than I expected. Jessica’s lettering work and her remarkable illustrations give me great inspiration to continue pursuing a eventual position where I can draw and create designs daily.