There is no way to say this without sounding creepy, but I have an obsessive personality. Now, before you imaging me skulking around in the shadows stalking someone, I want to elaborate on that last statement a bit. I have always had a tendency to latch onto new interests like a honey badger who cares too much, and immerse myself in them with an irrational fervor. When viewed in tandem with my highly functioning ADD, my life looks a bit like a series of life-altering changes in defining interests. Some of these changes have had more profound impacts than others, such as my obsession with wine causing me to move all the way across the country and to switch careers, but they always seem life changing at the time.
These fixations don’t always happen in isolation. Sometimes I will nurture multiple obsessions simultaneously, and the last couple of years have seen a couple of new preoccupations enter the fray, in the form of soccer and hand lettering.
Hand lettering has definitely been seeing a bit of resurgence in popularity recently. Vintage and retro typography seem to also be somewhat in vogue, so it only makes sense that this would be accompanied by a growth in a rather old-school method of producing classic text. It probably doesn’t hurt that Pinterest has made access to this kind of thing easier to come by.
No obsession is complete until it is accompanied by the purchase of something, and this one was consummated with the procurement of a new Moleskin notebook (I can’t tell you how many obsessions have included a fresh Moleskin), and a set of Pigma Micron pens. In the grand scheme of things, this is a relatively inexpensive start to an obsession. I wish I could say the same for my soccer obsession, which involved the purchase of a Steven Gerrard Liverpool FC kit (soccer speak for a jersey) AND a Clint Dempsey USA Men’s National Team kit.
It seemed only fitting that one of my early hand lettering attempts would incorporate my other fixation du jour. For my subject matter, I chose a phrase that is well known to all Liverpool fans, the title of the Liverpool anthem, You’ll Never Walk Alone. For those who have ever heard the crowd at Anfield bellowing out this song in unison as the game starts, nothing more need be said. For everyone else, think Red Sox fans singing Sweet Caroline and then double the intensity. For this project, I hand lettered the refrain of the song, and then illustrated the Liverpool signature liver bird (yeah, I guess that’s a thing) logo, and then imported the whole thing into Adobe Illustrator to get my work into a digital format. Just to make the whole thing complete, I added some texture in Photoshop and placed it over a photograph of Anfield, Liverpool’s historic stadium.
Since that early project, I’ve continued to work on various hand lettering projects. In fact, I thought it was appropriate for me to create a hand lettered logo for this blog. One of the primary criteria that makes for a truly great obsession is that it has enough depth to prolong it over time. Fortunately, the wealth of typefaces that have been used around the world over the years is practically endless. Typography is one of those studies that you can constantly be learning and discovering more about, which makes it perfect for a long-haul obsession. Not to mention the fact that, as a designer, typography is one of the most important aspects of the more digital work that I do. I look forward to posting more of my hand lettering projects here. Let me know if you have done hand lettering work, as I’m always interested in seeing what other people are doing.