Could you tell us about yourself? Where are you from, what do you do, etc.?
Hi! I’m Rachel White. I’m from Illinois, and I live in the suburbs of Chicago with my husband and black cat. I work from my colorful, cozy home office. I create fonts based on my own hand lettering and calligraphy. I love everything about font design. It suits my methodical, Capricorn nature. Most of the fonts I’ve created so far mimic the look of hand-painted letters, so they have rough, wobbly outlines and natural imperfections, to give users the look of brush lettering without the extra work.
How did your design journey begin?
When I was in kindergarten I would fake sick on days when we had art class. My art teacher and I had had a difference of opinion (she thought I should outline my drawings with black crayon, and I thought that looked hideous). After a call from the school, my mom caught on that I was a little sneak, and I was forced to return to art class. Eventually, my art teacher and I made up, and it became my favorite class. In college, I fell into that trap of choosing something ‘sensible’ to major in. This totally backfired, and I ended up having to learn everything about design on my own.
Where do you usually find your inspiration?
It sounds kinda strange, but I like to lie down on the floor of my office, and just stare at the ceiling. My brain tunes into some great ideas that way. It works best when I’m alone, and the house is still and quiet.
Any favorite design references that you can share that might be helpful for other designers as well?
It’s not exactly a design reference, but for general creative wellness, I have to recommend The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I’ve been writing morning pages for years now, and I can’t even describe how much those have helped me. Also Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert. And I’m currently reading Pam Grout’s Art & Soul, Reloaded. It’s awesome.
What are the most common design problems that you face?
Color choice. This always stymies me – maybe because I tend to gravitate towards the same colors all the time. But when I get stuck I look at color palettes on Pinterest or use the Color Guide panel in Illustrator. In designing fonts, the lowercase letter z always gives me problems. Why won’t it cooperate? It never wants to connect to the others properly. I’ve started to make special ligatures for those instances rather than fight with it.
Final question, do you have any advice or tips for anyone starting to sell their designs?
Awesome product images are key. So plan to spend a good chunk of time on them. Be as visually descriptive as you can with what your product can do, and try to inspire creative ideas for your customers.