Ever since a senior project at Brigham Young University required him to design a rebranding program for Italian opera house Teatro la Fenice, Reader’s Choice winner Kevin Cantrell has been hooked on typography and lettering.
“As the project continued, I knew it was something I wanted to delve more into; however, the opportunity to do more custom lettering professionally was a challenge in a smaller[Salt Lake City] marketplace,” Cantrell says. “So I created my own opportunity.”
This opportunity came in the form of Luminares, a passion project conceived after countless hours of late-night trial and error. “The process was painful and discouraging at first,” Cantrell says. “As I pushed through the challenging times, it turned into a piece I am still very proud of, in spite of all the first-time learning flaws it contains.”
Cantrell’s pain eventually paid off in the form of lettering projects for the Law Office of Matthew Messina Identity. His work will also be included in the Type Directors Club’s “Typography 34” book.
But the lettering projects impressed judge Mirko Ilić for a different reason: They included elements from a largely ignored graphic style. “I’ve been fascinated with researching a mostly forgotten part of American graphic design history by contemporary designers—the gaslight style,” Ilić says. “When I saw influence from that style in Kevin’s portfolio, I was immediately drawn.”
As with Luminares, Cantrell continues to be particular about the projects he designs, focusing on specific areas where he would like more work. “Luminares is a piece where I had no guarantee of success or compensation for my investment,” he says. “I have found the light of passion can lead you through the twilight of uncertainty.”