We recently sat down with Daniel Kroemer, one of our graphic designers, to ask him some questions. In his free time, Kroemer enjoys sketching and hand lettering, skills he plans to focus on more in his future with design. If you want to stay up to date on personal projects Kroemer is working on, follow him on Instagram @djkroemer.
How did you get into hand lettering?
When I started in design I would always use previously made fonts when designing logos or t-shirt designs. It always bothered me that even though the design as a whole was my original idea and creation, the fonts were thought up by other designers. A part of me always felt like I was taking credit for work that wasn’t 100% my own. Another thing that bothered me was that the fonts I used were also being used by other designers. When I would come across a font I really liked, I would always stumble across it being used in an ad or a logo somewhere and it would immediately kill that font for me. That might sound a bit crazy, but I’m obsessed with originality and if someone else has used it or done it, I don’t want to use it or do it.
This feeling led to me manipulating fonts on the computer. I would find a basic structure of a font that I liked and go through tweaking different areas to make the font more original. Many of the fonts used in EvoShield advertising and apparel are either tweaked versions of previously created fonts or fonts built from scratch by us.
From the time I first got into design up until the end of last year I was intimidated by pencil and paper. I hated thumbnail sketching and always wanted to just jump to the computer and start pushing pixels around without much initial thought. I had started noticing hand lettering examples when I would be surfing the web or Instagram and the idea of creating a completely custom style for each project really inspired me. The fact that these were made by hand on paper made me realize I was limiting myself a great deal by avoiding the hands on aspect of design. I decided to just start practicing. I utilized Instagram to put the pressure on myself to get better with each piece and to communicate with others in the hand lettering community. My biggest regret in my design career thus far is not sketching and picking up a pencil more often before now. I now make it a goal to practice lettering and sketching every day and I feel it has expanded my limits tremendously.
How does your love of lettering influence your design work at EvoShield?
More than anything it reminds me to think outside the box and to focus on coming up with an original idea. I plan to incorporate more original lettering concepts into EvoShield apparel in the future. We’re a company with a unique and innovative product and the apparel needs to match that identity. I feel that custom lettering can really coincide well with the brand identity as a whole.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I find a great deal of inspiration on Instagram. It’s a great place to find out about designers you didn’t know about and to follow their paths. I love running across an incredible designer and having the ability to scroll through his or her work over the past year or two and see the progression in skill level. To me, that’s more inspiring than running across random examples of great design or lettering online.
I think it’s important for designers to look for inspiration at the right times. It’s extremely easy to resort to the internet when a design solution doesn’t come to mind, but I think that’s the worst time to look for inspiration because it can lead to replication. I believe inspiration should be sought when you aren’t currently working on something so that if ideas you see do come back out later on, they become your own version, rather than a replication.
Who is an artist/designer that you really look up to?
There are so many inspiring designers that I look up to. When it comes to sports branding it would have to be Dan Simon from Studio Simon. He’s designed many of the logos for Minor League Baseball teams and has branded just about every major sporting event at some point in his career. His philosophy is bold simplicity and everything he creates is incredibly clean and timeless. When it comes to craftsmanship and detail I greatly admire David A. Smith from England. I could watch him work all day long if I had the opportunity. His expertise is in gilded mirrors and ornate glass signs. His initial sketches are of the most detailed I’ve ever seen and he’s someone I’ll always follow and look up to.
What recommendation would you give to anyone thinking about getting into hand lettering?
My recommendation based off experience would simply be to go for it. Pick up a pencil, get some paper and start practicing. Set goals of how often you’ll work at it and fully commit to them. Don’t risk regretting you started too late, start now!
Kroemer has hand lettered this authentic home plate and right now YOU have a chance to be the owner of this incredible piece of art. Check out the video below, and follow EvoShield on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to learn more about how to win.
Stay tuned in to The Dish often to find out about more giveaways in the future!