Get your hands dirty

Get your hands dirty

In an age where you can create things at will with an infinite supply of pixels, there is still something refreshing about simple, analog pencil and paper.

I entered the design field at the end of the “hand” era. Gone were the days of paste-up, now all you need is “command-v” and everything is pasted for you, no spray-mount required. But something got lost when the screen took over: a sense of connection to a real product you craft with your own hands.


The resurgence of hand-rendered type is most exciting for me. I have long been a fan of Chinese calligraphy and the intimate connection it has to the person holding the brush. I commissioned a Japanese calligrapher to create custom art for the tattoos I have on my arms. Turning simple words into a captivating visual experience is a true gift. 
Now designers are returning to using pen, pencil, and brush to create and modify computer generated type and infuse visual communication with new life and historical allusions. Now the balance is using our modern tool and mediums with out losing the personal touch of an artisan. Anybody now can buy a template or download a bazillion fonts but true craftsmanship only come from getting your hands dirty.
Here are some ways to bring some hand-done back into your design process:
  1. Sketch: Not just layouts, but what you see around you.
  2. Alter: Print out your work and overlay some tracing paper on it and go to town.
  3. Collect: Find your inspiration and learn from it.
Enjoy the simple things about the creative arts and your clients and your portfolio will thank you.

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