A lot of people graduate from college wondering what to do. Even if they’ve got something going on meanwhile, rarely do they feel like they’ve got professional life sorted. Maybe now that you have a degree, more doors have opened and you suddenly have options. Or the ordeal of surviving all your classes has helped you conclude what areas of the industry you want to pursue and what areas to avoid at all costs. I had a job in the midst of graduation, but I knew it wasn’t going to be my long-term home. So what do you do in the limbo where you’re still figuring it out?
You could do what Anna Rowe did: Start posting her hand-lettered typography on Instagram. What she probably didn’t expect is that over the next few months, she would have 1000 followers waiting to see what she’d create next.
Anna is a graphic designer from Spokane, Washington. We met when we were both going to design school and I've been following her on Instagram since then. A few months ago I noticed Anna was posting more and more handlettered typography until it was the only thing she was posting. And she was posting- more than once- every day! As someone who's had trouble with consistency, I was jealous. Now she's boasting the kind of follower count that many artists only hope for- pretty impressive for only being in the game for a little while. Plus, she's attracting clients.
Now she works for creative agency Zipline Interactive, so her Instagram has slowed down. But it goes to show that the time you have between engagements doesn't have to be spent sitting around. I attempted to get Anna to surrender her secrets in this Creator Spotlight!
In your own words, what is it that you do?
"I design. I design anything from websites for Zipline Interactive on WordPress to designing custom lettering and typography for freelance projects."
How did you get into it?
"Well, I first got into Web Design my first year of the Graphic Design Program at Spokane Falls Community College. Everyone I talked to said, 'Web is where the money is.' So I got good at coding, landing me my first internship at Zipline Interactive. Then my second year of school, Web just really didn't interest me, so I decided to pursue a design path I found more fun, illustration. That got me my second internship with The Episcopal Diocese of Spokane and Camp Cross. After I graduated the program at SFCC, I had a 2 month break before I started my third year of college and I wanted to challenge myself to learn something new about design that I had always been interested in. So July 30th, I decided to teach myself hand-lettering and calligraphy. "
Who are your influences?
"Oh man... well, I don't know her real name but @ellolovely on Instagram is SO amazing at hand-lettering."
What resources do you always come back to?
"When it comes right down to it, honestly I get inspiration from my competition. People who are always challenging themselves to become better. You can always grow and always get better."
What are your favorite tools and why?
"This is the question people ask me the most! Everyone's preferences are different. I personally like anything by Tombow, whether it's their Dual Brush Pens or their Fudenosuke Hard or Soft Tip. I also really enjoy the Pentel Fude Touch Flexible Brush Tip Sign Pens; they are really nice if you like smaller type and if you like applying pressure to get your thick and thins. I keep with traditional pens and paper, then once I am satisfied with a design, I scan it into Adobe Illustrator and sometimes clean it up, but most of the time I like the organic feel of keeping it kind of rough."
How do you promote your work/attract followers/customers?
"A lot of my clients are people who I used to go to high school with. Some clients were referred to me by one of my family members or friends. I have just started getting clients from all over the world through Instagram and participating in different hand-lettering challenges."
I've noticed you use certain hashtags, can you talk about how you decide on what to use?
"I used a lot of the same of the hashtags over and over. Sometimes I use more specific hashtags if the image I made is for a lettering challenge. I also use hashtags for days of the week, month, or sometimes even time of day. For example, especially posts that have to do with coffee, I might use the hashtag #goodmorning."
Where do you find out about the lettering challenges you do?
"I found the lettering challenges just by following people who love lettering and calligraphy just like me. I don't do every lettering challenge either, the ones I am drawn to the most actually combine doodling and lettering. Which brings out some pretty cute, or funny styles of art and calligraphy."
What advice do you have for people trying to get started in design?
"For someone who is trying to get into Graphic Design, I would say build your skills, have personality, and network. It's all about who you are, what you can do, and who you know, or who knows you, anyways. You never know who is looking at your Facebook, or your Instagram. You want to be appropriate and professional at all times, everywhere. You want people's first impression of you to be like, 'I want to know that person.'"
If you could teach people who are not into design one thing about design, what would it be?
"[If] I could teach someone who is not into graphic design or lettering or web design, it would be that sometimes it's not about designing a cool logo or something that looks 'nice,' but sometimes it is about solving the problem. Your website is poorly designed so people aren't buying your products? So the problem is that you need to sell products, so design to fit the problem. It may not look like a fancy parallax, but it's easy to navigate and is user-friendly so people find the products they need and buy things from your website."
What’s your in-a-perfect-world, money-is-no-object, dream job?
"I have 3 main passions:
Card Designer. Anything from Invitations, Thank You's, Announcements, Holidays, Reminders. I go to WalMart or WinCo and look at all the Birthday Cards, or Get Well Soon Cards and I think to myself, 'I want to do that! I want my designs in stores everywhere.' But of course I want to be more custom than that. I would of course sell generic designs to stores and companies like Hallmark but I would also want to have my own business I guess.
Illustration. I love drawing and painting as well. I love telling a story through visual imagery.
Logos are also another passion of mine. If I could do those three things for the rest of my life, I would love that."
What are your future goals for your design career?
"I guess my future goals at this point would be to finish out school and get my AAS or AAST Degree. And start working at Zipline Interactive full time starting this Winter and see how that goes. Of course doing some freelance on the side because I always want to challenge myself."
Lastly, but most importantly If your pet could talk (if you have a pet), what do you think it would say to you?
"Well, I have a dog name Athena, I call her Tina for short. She would constantly be asking me to play and to eat treats. I also have a cat named Chub Chub, she pretty much already talks but she would be gossiping about everyone in the neighborhood. She is always telling me about her day and asking me to hang out with her and follow her everywhere."
If any SNOWCOYOTE readers out there are interested in your services, what would you like to let them know?
"Right now prices for existing prints are $15 per print
$10 each when you buy 3 or more prints
If you would like a custom illustration and/or calligraphy it is $20 per print."
Follow Anna’s work online!
Email Anna at email@example.com if you’d like a print or custom piece!
Do you know a creator you think more people should know about? Nominate them for a Creator Spotlight either in the comments, or by notifying us through the Contact page!