Designer of the Week: Jacquelyn Arends

Typography is one of the most vital keys to successful design—and Print’s Typography & Lettering Awards is here to celebrate it. Enter your best hand lettered or typography-centric design work today. Deadline: November 11, 2016.


Designer of the Week Jacquelyn Arends specializes in illustration and logo design for boutique brands. She notes that her illustration style is a lot like her personality: “I like structure and definition,” she writes on her website, “but I don’t like being wholly contained by them.” Arends currently creates licensable art through Charm Design Studio

jacquelyn arends handlettering design, identity design and illustrationName: Jacquelyn Arends

Name of Studio: Charm Design Studio, LLC

Location: Minneapolis

Design school attended:

I studied art at Minnesota State University, Mankato. My major concentration for my BFA was graphic design, and my minor concentration was ceramics. (Admittedly, the latter concentration seemingly has little to do with the first, but it more than anything else was able to get me to think more abstractly than other mediums had up until then, something very much related to design.)

How would you describe your work?

Design, to me, is more than merely making something look nice—it’s about solving problems creatively. My creative process is just as much about looking at a problem from various perspectives and analyzing potential solutions from different angles as it is about making the end result something worth looking at. With my illustrations, often my goal is simply to add a little bit of sunshine into others’ lives through charming designs and/or a quirky sense of humor.

jacquelyn arends handlettering design, identity design and illustration

Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration through noticing things, word play, humor, connecting ideas with patterns and taking photos of absolutely everything, everywhere, all the time—along with lots of notes. I think sometimes inspiration strikes, but most often it’s a pursuit that you have to cultivate.

Who are some of your favorite designers or artists?

Jessica Hische, Kyle T. Webster, Heather Bailey, Darren Booth, Amy Butler, my daughter (refrigerator art is the best).

jacquelyn arends handlettering design, identity design and illustration

Do you have a favorite among all the projects you’ve worked on?

Currently, a favorite is a handlettering design I did inspired by a story related to the work The Exodus Road is doing to fight human trafficking. It’s titled “Hope Needs Wings.” I like how Makoto Fujimura has said that “the arts present the most powerful way of ‘nonviolent resistance.’” It makes me think of another quote by Elie Wiesel: “The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference.” Creating that design as a fundraiser for The Exodus Road feels like a really small thing for such a big problem as human trafficking, but it was my interpretation of something tangible that could be done in way of utilizing art as resistance versus simply looking the other way.

Is there a project that stands out to you as having been the biggest challenge of your career so far? 

In general, I’d say the biggest challenge has actually been pursuing this career because as a business owner it means not only working on your craft but also constantly evolving as an entrepreneur. As far as projects though, it’s been intriguing to me how difficult it’s been to pitch my A Little Bit Crunchy collection. Organic and natural food is so much bigger than a tiny niche market, but it’s been surprising how many don’t yet see the validity and forward motion of the natural lifestyle movement as a demographic.

What do you hope to accomplish in the future?

Presently I’m very interested in repeated surface pattern design and how it relates to stationery and textiles, but in the future, I do hope to do more in way of book and editorial illustration.

What’s your best advice for designers today?

Be conscious of building the business or career that you want to have in the future. Don’t be afraid to reposition your brand and try new things while you’re working on what pays the bills. It takes time, so know there are plenty of designers meeting the same setbacks as you are. You’re far from alone in that. Talent is really subjective; tenacity and growing as a designer are I think what really matters most in this industry.

jacquelyn arends handlettering design, identity design and illustration

jacquelyn arends handlettering design, identity design and illustration jacquelyn arends handlettering design, identity design and illustration


prfl16_1Explore the topic of illegibility in the past and present of typographic design in the latest issue of Print Magazine, with a special cover by Shepard Fairey. See what’s inside or subscribe to get Print all year long.

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