Your name and title?
Missy Froman, Lettering Designer
What’s your educational background, i.e., college, professional school, high school, apprenticeship, etc.?
I majored in Graphic Design and minored in Fine Arts at Kent State University.
Who or what inspired you to pursue calligraphy or hand lettering?
I took a calligraphy course offered at KSU, and was immediately intrigued with lettering. Our class had the opportunity to visit American Greetings, where we were able to meet the lettering artists and see their work.
Was lettering for a greeting card company a pursuit?
No not really. I believe it was timing. I was at the right place at the right time with the right people.
What was your job or career before you became a lettering artist for American Greetings?
graphic design student / part-time framer at McKay Bricker Gallery in Kent.
What’s your approach/process to creating a lettering design for a greeting card?
First of all to create a style that’s appropriate for the card. The audience must be considered (masculine or feminine, adult or juvenile, etc.) as well as the occasion. Depending on these things we may have to stay more traditional than trendy, or vice versa.
Productivity: how many finished designs do you create per day/week/month/year?
1 to 2 jobs a day on average; 5 to 9 jobs a week on average; 17 to 32 jobs a month on average; 300 jobs a year on average.
Every member of the team has a signature style, how would you describe your style? How much latitude and range do you have?
I do naïve to formal lettering. Whatever is called for. It is important to have a wide range of styles here. It is also important to be able to copy other artists styles to help each other out as needed. One of my signature styles I would say is a loose, casual script with the pointed pen.
Preferred tool(s) and medium?
Pointed pen and sumi ink, but I also am comfortable using the brush, ruling pen, various types of markers.
AG creates proprietary typefaces for use on its products. How many typefaces have you designed? Talk about the development of your favorite typeface(s). What’s your part during the typeface design process? Talk about the development of your favorite typeface(s).
I have created 3 fonts. “Toby” was my first font (named after my husband). The style began with a Halloween card I lettered. I’d say this is the most fun I had with a font. It is a non-connecting font, which is more liberating than creating a connecting font, which is what my other 2 fonts are.
My part is to hand-letter each character, scan them in and clean them up in Photoshop. Then I hand it over to the next person (Stephen), to digitize the font (vectorize), and he sets it up in a font program that enables the whole graphic studio to use it. It sounds easy, but is very time consuming on all ends.
Lots of the time a typeface begins from the lettering we do on a card, and our boss says something like, “that would be a great font!” There really isn’t time to sit around and come up with styles that may or may not make a good font for the studio.
What’s the timeframe to create a typeface?
What other lettering and design opportunities are presented to you at American Greetings, i.e., signs, annual report, logos, etc.?
Illustrating, concepting new looks for card product, and logos for new lines of cards as well as signage.
What keeps you going throughout the day, i.e. music, video, books on tape, silence, etc.?
Sometimes I listen to biographies of people I find inspirational. I find music very helpful! Especially when I am trying something that requires me to loosen up.
Where or how do you “recharge your creative battery,” i.e., books, blogs, music, art, exercise, meditation, prayer, hobbies, interests, etc.?
Rest and relaxation. Getting some quiet time in is very important to my mental state.
Do you create art outside of AG? If so what types of work? Have you exhibited, if so, where?
No, not really. I have done collage work and pastels that have been displayed here at our gallery shows we have as a team.
Who or what are your influences or muses?
When I first came here out of college, I had no professional lettering experience. The heaviest influence on my lettering are the other lettering artists I work with. They are a very talented group of people.
How has the computer impacted your approach to calligraphy and hand lettering?
The computer is part of lettering for me and is used as one of the primary tools. Although I start on the drafting table 99% of the time, it must be scanned in and cleaned up in Photoshop. There is always adjusting needed to fit the lettering within the cards parameters. The computer is essential.