By Leeann Pica
Art should be the result of inspiration, not imitation.
If you ask a colleague or friend of mine what I do, I’d like to believe they would answer with something that would lede you to believe I am some sort of artist. And I am. I am a web artist. Right? That’s what a web designer does anyway, isn’t it? We create art for the web. I tend to let myself think so, but I recently came across a comment on a web design inspiration page completely bashing web designers and their tendency to see who can copy whom first. Think about it. Heard the term web design trends? Yup, just a bunch of designers copying off of each other. Flat design? Just a result of a long line of biter after biter after biter.
What makes art “art” is originality.
Parking my butt in front of a computer screen forty hours a week (at least) for the past few years has completely desensitized my appreciation for art. There, I said it. There is something to be said for the impact of art created with your hands, instead of a mouse. Hand done art can not be identically imitated (not legally, anyway). I’m glad I realized it sooner rather than later.
<Bit of a Tangent but worth stating:>
This is not to say that fine artists never copy off of each other. I think there are something like four famous David statues in Florence from the 15th and 16th centuries.
STOP IMITATING*. Be the start of a trend, and follow them as little as possible. Easier said than done, I know.
So how do we solve this travesty? INSPIRATION*! Duh. Inspiration is not for imitation, it is to get the brain juices flowin’. Be awe struck by awesome work, and go make something awesome to call your own. There’s the ticket. When I’m pretending to be watching my weight, I spend snack time hours browsing photos of women with veins coming out of the tummy area where most women have a fatty pouch. Why? If they can do it, I can do it. I haven’t been particularly successful with that inspiration goal but let’s not pry (I eat my feelings). There is no difference. Anyone can create unique art to be proud of.
Of course there are ways to design unique websites that don’t involve any hand done work, but rather are designed in an unconventional way. But, for the sake of this blog post, let’s dismiss that topic for another time.
So, without further adieu, let’s be inspired by some hand done typography. Why typography? Because it is used for EVERYTHING. Literally, it is everywhere, and a lot of it is horse shit. Web designers, unite and rejoice, because a couple of years ago the words typography and web were incompatible.
*ALL CAPS = me yelling at you = this is some serious shit.
10 Inspiring Pieces of Hand Done Typography that we had nothing to do with:
1. Anna Tovar’s “Flourish”: A simple and elegant approach to calligraphy
2. Dana Tanamachi’s Installation at Tommy Hilfiger Harajuku
3. Marco Purac’s “Art Until the End”
4. Katlego Phatlane's “Today let's try and make something beautiful"
5. Reagan Ray’s “Garage Party”
6. Jessica Hisch
7. Julia Sonmi Heglund
8. Andy Luce, Hand done signage
9. Tita Advertising Agency. I think this still technically counts as hand done...plus it’s really cool.
10. To round it off, lettering by Lauren Nassef, made with pinpricks. Yup.
There are two types of inspiration. Direct inspiration, which is what is displayed above, and indirect inspiration, which can come from anywhere. From my experience, great ideas are inspired from the most random things, at the most inconvenient times. That’s what makes them great ideas. Because chances are, nobody else has had the same situational experience to be inspired by. Unfortunately, clients don’t always want to wait a few years for you to spring upon the greatest idea of your life, so most of what we do comes from direct inspiration. Use it wisely. Don’t copy; create.