Mary Kate McDevitt Talks Handlettering

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Typography & Lettering Inspiration from Mary Kate McDevitt

“It just has to feel right. If I look at a piece and something’s a bit off, it throws me. That could mean an unbalanced composition, kinks in the swashes or flourishes, or wonkiness in the letters when the style calls for something more technically proficient. Not to say I don’t love some weird and wonky lettering (because I do), but it still needs to feel harmonious.”

Mary Kate McDevitt has been working as a freelance illustrator and lettering artist for six years now. After graduating, she spent time in Portland, OR and Brooklyn before heading to Philadelphia where she lives now.

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McDevitt is joining Bobby C. Martin Jr., Jennifer Kinon and Veronika Burian as one of Print‘s 2016 Typography & Lettering Awards judges. She has worked with clients such as Chronicle Books, Target, O magazine, Nintendo and more. McDevitt also teaches hand lettering courses with Skillshare.

“When I was little I would pretend to be Laura Ingles and throughout high school I was always at thrift stores to find weird, used things and clothes. I still love anything old and anything with history. This inspires my work quite a bit as I tend to look at vintage ephemera for inspiration…”

McDevitt recently finished up packaging designs for Twizzlers (to be available in Canada) and the 2018 Work It! Desk Jotter calendar. Third in the series, the Work It! calendar was designed, illustrated and written by McDevitt who says she always has fun with those projects. Currently McDevitt is focused on her new book: Illustration Workshop with Chronicle Books. The book is full of illustration assignments and is guided as though you’re working one-on-one with an art director.

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“I’m so terrible at looking into the future. That is probably what I like best about being a freelancer—always new projects and always quick turnarounds. I generally have an idea of the year ahead of me in terms or projects or travel, and beyond that I’m just excited to find out. And I enjoy the not knowing.”

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