I am not a celebrity fan kind of person. I don’t think I could ask for autographs or selfies if I crossed paths with an actor or actress in the street. But if we talk about Lettering and Design people that I admire, that is a totally different story. I cannot stop buying their books and following them on social media. It is incredible how now, thanks to the Internet, I can see what they are working on, see their successes and feel for their struggles.
Their professionalism, social commitment and love for their art have guided and underpinned the mission of CalligrAbility as a creative space.
In no particular order, these are my four Lettering and Design Heroes:
1- Janine Vangool – Uppercase magazine
I’ve admired Janine since the day I came across the Uppercase magazine, issue 23, dedicated to Calligraphy and Lettering. By that time, the issue was at least two years old. From that day, I not only managed to buy that back issue but I also subscribed to the magazine and bought her Encyclopedia of Inspiration.
If there is a particular topic that interests you, I am sure Janine has published an article in her magazine or even a book about it. Her professionalism, knowledge and creativity are amazing and endless; and her work with charities close to her heart is even more remarkable.
If you don’t know her, please have a look at her website. There, Janine and her son, Finley, will keep you inspired all year round. I am sure you will love it!
2- Jessica Hische
I first knew about her in an article about her work. It presented the covers for a collection of books, and her work blew my mind! They were the most beautiful capital letters I’ve ever seen. Then came her postcards, her books and her funny tweets about being a mother, as well as the more serious ones on her work and politics. I hear my own voice in her voice.
Reading her book ‘In Progress’, I wished I was her classmate at university or her colleague at work. If you write to her,
she may tell you she wants to be your best friend, and I will be not surprised if you believe her, because it’s true!
I attended her courses on SkillShare, and she is a very generous teacher. I have learnt a lot from her classes and her books, and I strongly advise you to visit her website and enjoy her creations in Lettering and Design. People that admire good design will love her!
3- Martina Flor
Martina has a special place in my heart. She is from Argentina, like me, and when I attended her course in Domestika, her slight Argentinian twist brought back memories of friends and family.
Her career is impressive, and the variety and quality of her work are outstanding. I first bought her book ‘The Golden Secrets of Lettering’ in English, and now, I have the Spanish version too, to help me with translating my posts.
Have a look at her website and enjoy, you will not want to leave!
4- James Victore
Last but not least, the most inspiring, motivator and encouraging designer of all time: James Victore.
His out-of-the-box approach to graphic design is unique, sharp, and to the point. It was love at first sight! Those two white plates, with simple but powerful drawings in black marker, gave meaning to what design really is: Communication. The book is called The Design Entrepreneur, by Steven Heller and Lita Talarico, and it brought James Victore to my attention.
But what I admire the most in such a talented and brave designer is his enthusiasm as a teacher. He does not only produce excellent pieces, but he is also adamant about helping others to achieve their true potential. None of his social media posts is light reading; you will always get inspiration and empowering ideas; his ‘Dangerous Ideas’. His book ‘Feck Perfuction’ is a call to action for every reader to find their voice and be courageous in their creative work.
Last night, during a live Q&A on Instagram, he replied to a compliment saying that he doesn’t see himself as a genius. If not that, he is definitely a Hero for me.
A tribute to Milton Glaser
A special mention goes to Milton Glaser. He is one of the big names in Design that inspired me to study Graphic Design in the ’80s. At that time, my admiration was purely visual; no internet to chat and no chance at all of a meeting. But his works managed to reach me. Even though I didn’t know the man behind the Designer, I was mesmerised by his work. Sadly, he passed away this week, on the 26th June 2020. I regret not knowing him better, but his work will always inspire me.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post, and I look forward to read your comments.
Until next week!