Interview: Designer Andrea Pippins

It's been said that design is where science and art break even. For Andrea Pippins design is where fun, fabulous and fly all get together to make magical lovely! She is one of those rare designers that transcends all graphic design norms. Instead of using all manner of trickery and photoshop alchemy to make something interesting. She's fierce and unafraid to break out ye ol' exacto-knife, french curves and rapid-o-graph pen (what are those, right) –– they are classic tools used to create graphic design the old fashion way. Andrea painstakingly, intricately creates it by hand. She's like the Tracy Reese of graphic design. And then Pippins further cements inferiority complexes amongst her so-called "peers." When she then magically transports all that designery goodness into, get this... a computer and makes even more vector-pixel-mash magic. I had a chance to ask her a few questions about being a genie (or a designer) and where all the flyness comes from.

What aspect of design do you really love? Logo design, typography, type design Layout, etc?
Logo design is by far my favorite. I LOVE designing logos. There's something very special about branding an idea, company or product in one simplified (or complicated) mark. I also LOVE hand-lettering/hand-drawn type which for me is a combination of illustration and design. If someone hired me to just design logos and create beautiful hand-lettering I would be a very happy graphic designer.

"Farmers' Table
This is an identity for a company that would bring fresh fruits and vegetables to people who do not have access to quality supermarkets. The logo is a combination of existing type and drawn elements in Illustrator. The style of the logo along with the fruits and vegetables was inspired by old calligraphic lettering from vintage ads and market signage. I wanted it to feel organic to represent the produce yet simple because it relates to the idea of a Farmer's market (but didn't want it to feel too farmer-y because I feel that look is somewhat overdone and not as special). For the illustrated produce, I drew them all by hand, scanned them in and redrew them in Illustrator."

What's your dream job?
See above! No, really I have tons of dream jobs. But I would really like to take what I know and disperse that information to inspire others. I guess that would make my dream job a curator of creative inspiration. When I was teaching classes as a part of my graduate fellowship my favorite part was showing my students new work or even older work to inspire them. Whether it was a design book, an illustrator I just discovered, or a cool animation I would be so excited to share it with them. Most times, they would just stare at me blankly but it always felt so great when a student would say later, "Hey that book you showed us about poster design was really helpful" or "thanks for emailing that site, it gave me some good ideas." I love that. I would like to continue doing that on a larger scale.

Can you discuss any specifics about the process of creating a few of the pieces you sent.
I Love My Hair - This poster is one of a series for a go-natural campaign. As I mentioned before I love hand-lettering, so when discussing coily hair I thought using that medium would be perfect for the typography. I first hand-lettered the type then scanned it in, cleaned it up in Adobe Photoshop before applying color.

Any advice for neophytes?
Don't be afraid to ask for help, If you don't know something seek it out. There is always someone out there ready and willing to help get you where you need to be. I would not be where I am if it weren't for the help I received from really generous people. Get a mentor, reach out to people you admire. And show people your work. When I graduated from undergrad I showed my portfolio to a lot of people who weren't hiring. It was really great practice for me to sell my talents and get comfortable talking about myself. It was also a good way to get feedback from professionals who see tons of portfolios all the time.

To see more of Andrea's amazing work and endless amounts of curation, inspiration and musings visit her Fly blog. Now! I'll wait.
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