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Meet two type nerds. From the studio they share in San Francisco, typographic artisans Jessica Hische and Erik Marinovich formed Title Case, a business and workshop dedicated to the love of the letterform. Here the two artists seek to perpetuate and spread their love of type both in their own work and by sharing it with others through the workshops they offer. While they obsess on their freelance projects, they're equally gratified by spending countless hours drawing letters on their own for the sole purpose of furthering their art. Jessica and Erik talk about the importance of just looking at type—to learn and to practice each day. Follow Title Case as they put pencil to paper and ink to brush in pursuit of the letter that's uniquely their own.
Erik Marinovich: So, I recently took on a project called The People's Pennant. It was started by Eric Mortensen and several of his colleagues. And basically, the idea in the brief is celebrating the everyday. So, when I was asked, Jessica was asked as well, and we decided that it would be a perfect opportunity for her and I to work together, and what better way to like create two pennants that also worked together. And we were toggling so many different ideas. Although that these were great celebrating morning rituals, we like to talk maybe more about our work ethic, so we came up with the idea of Victory and Defeat, where Defeat is so looked down upon.
In many different ways, Jessica and I find the beauty in Defeat and how it can let you grow, whereas in Victory, just celebrate it because it might not happen every day. So when it does happen, remind yourself just to celebrate. Probably the by-product of working in a big design studio is that you have to show many, many different concepts. And so there is always that part of me through all those years I worked in big branding studios that I always just need to hit the ground running and flood my sketchbook with so many different iterations, because that's a really helpful way for me to basically edit out the things that aren't working.
And I wouldn't know what the final--or I couldn't make the right decision unless I had gone through all of this exploratory to begin with. A lot of the times what I always like to do is probably work small, but then there is always this part of me who is like the inner child that's telling me, work big, get your hands dirty, get some ink on the floor. So, I immediately go to my tracing roll, which is conveniently located on my desk, that I use a lot, and I quickly just start drawing the things that come to me.
And if for instance, the word is Victory, it's very powerful, but at the same time, I didn't want the typical victory look that looks sort of collegiate, especially on a format such as a pennant. I thought, well, what if you could romanticize the word Victory. So I brought out this big lettering pen. And again, every once in a while, I always go to the art store and just buy a bunch of tools that I haven't necessarily used before, and I always find it really great is when you use a tool that you have a handicap towards, that it yields results that you can't necessarily develop with the computer.
So with that, I just literally will spend an hour sketching and re-sketching. If I didn't draw a letterform correctly, I will put another piece of tracing paper on top and keep going until I am satisfied. So, there is a part of me that is totally OCD. But it's just a process of me continually learning the craft of lettering and really pushing myself to either be better at the computer and especially be better at drawing it when I am using my hand. And again, a lot of people will look at this, and like, they all look the same.
And again, that OCD part of me is like, oh, that C, it could be better. So, a lot of my work, I want you to see it and appreciate that there are qualities that could have only been created or thought of if someone was using the tool to create it on paper. Maybe in time I can actually probably create those, but for the meantime, I like to know that it was born on paper, but then it was finalized on the computer. And without that kind of gestural quality that you see in a lot of my work, I just appreciate the craft of lettering where it came from and using this tool to make it look perfect.
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