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Client work - INK & LISE

Client work

The last few weeks I have mainly worked with the final tamp on a real dream project where I sat the graphic expression of a newly opened wine bar here in Varberg. Lise + wine, I mean, if it’s not a match made in heaven then I don’t know what is! If it hadn’t been for my CFO Krille (to whom I also happen to be married), I would have made a deal where I got the entire payment in wine, haha!

Logo, fonts, illustrations and colors are set and the menu is created. I’ve got to pitch ideas, draw a lot of wine glasses, write funny letters, choose fonts, fine-tune colors, create logo and variations thereof, create some copy and vectorize* a mass. Crazy fun. I really relate to the tone and style of the graphic expression, and not that it’s 100% necessary in order to do a decent job, but it sure makes it all the more fun doing it. I’ll show you more another time, but here’s their main logo





and a variation of it to be used on other products

And a page from their menu

See about the wine glasses? To all my Swedish followers: If ever in Varberg post pandemic, you NEED to go drink wine at Deilig! Besides their amazing graphic identity (cough cough), they also have LOADS of wine, a beautiful bar and restaurant, and the owners are pretty badass themselves too.

I rarely work with local companies but have made some exceptions lately, besides from the restaurant, I also smeared a bunch of Posca pens on storefronts in our little town. Fun and frosty to draw 10 hours in a row, but incredibly nice to get a lot of sweet comments from by passers about the craft being performed. Normally, I sit my butt down on one of my two chairs, the computer chair or the drawing chair as seen below, and have like zero IRL interaction with people. Everything is done via zoom, email or phone. So the out and about lettering this was a lovely departure from my office days.

Where I spend 98% of my working hours. On one chair or the other.


I’ve also been working on a book title, my absolute favorite projects – except for wine this is, but I already told you that. The awesome Sofie Sarenbrant’s new crime novel about Emma Sköld to be drawn. The book is called The Guardian Angel and comes in the spring. However, it is not completely finished yet, but I’ll show you guys later. Assignments take time, especially if there are more actors involved. Writers, publishers, designers, everyone contributes, and the discussions go back and forth, as it does in creative projects. This means that it takes some time, but also that it will be a solid result in the end. And you end up having learned a lot yourself in the end, which is pretty cool. Never stop putting yourself in places where you don’t know it all, that’s my unsolicited advice for the day.

In between, I have worked on the Christmas card booklet that took quite a lot of time to draw, layout, adjust, write and translate as well as add to the shop. About twice as long as I estimated, ugh. But still, I get to draw Christmas trees for work, so I don’t really mind.

Besides these things, there’s the REAL work – the kind of work you never get to see on Instagram. Emails, quotes, invoices, pen orders, etc. All of those things are of course equally important, and I actually enjoy them. Probably because I don’t have to do the taxes (thank you darling husband) science shows I’m not really cut out for that. But sitting by my computer with Christmas music and a cup of coffee while paying invoices really isn’t bad at all. I find it helpful and timesaving to compress the different tasks into one session or so. Most of my admin work is done Monday before lunch, right after I plan the week.

Oh, and the last weeks I have also been preparing a youtube project that you will be hearing more about pretty soon.

So if we boil down the last few weeks you’ll get this broth: admin, book title, menu, storefront, Christmas card drawing and filming. I’ve had time for about 50% of what I had hoped or thought – or nah, just hoped. That’s the way it is – there are so many more ideas and projects in my head than can fit in my working hours. It’s not that I’m overwhelmed by assignments (hello covid!) but more so that I underestimate the time it takes to complete things. In addition, I refuse to work a lot, so it naturally becomes a pretty long list of things that I haven’t had time for yet, and it keeps getting longer. I think that you have to see come to peace with that factor, otherwise you’ll just feel frustrated and stressed all the time – or end up working a TON. I’ve been down all those paths, and I really don’t want to pay them any re-visits. My life’s too damn short. I’d rather walk my dog by the sea.

The main reason I’m my own boss is because I want to control how much I work, and by that I mean to work as little as possible. It’s not that hard, as long as you figure out how to cut back on your expenses. You don’t need all of that shit anyway. I try to figure out how to scramble up just enough to put food on the table, and not to get stressed or feel lousy by the long list of things that haven’t been caught up in this month either. That list still being long is a sign that I actually threw myself on the sofa with a book at 2pm this Tuesday instead of keeping on working. And that, my friend, is a good thing.

If you’ve been around for a while, you know that I love books. I keep a minor library at home, there are books everywhere and my husband says that we have to live here until we die because there’s no way we can move all of these books. I don’t mind, though, I love our house, so I just keep buying more books to make absolutely sure that we’ll stay put. Also, it’s not hoarding if it’s books, you know that right?

Anyways. Being a book collecting letter nerd, you can imagine how happy I was when I got the possibility to draw a book title for the Swedish Bookmark publisher house. They had a design in mind, but hadn’t quite hit the spot with ordinary typography, so based on that and their brief, I drew the letters by hand.

The letters were straight and robust serifs with a few, quite modest, swooshes. The cover design itself were very intricate (made by my favorite book designer of all times, Sanna Sporrong) and the letters had to stand firmly in the flowers and the butterflies and what not, and still pop, of course. They had to be in the top of the graphic element’s hierarchy.

I made a few sketches where I thickened the lines and removed the initial dash and played around with spacing and kerning to clean it up and obtain a balance. Since I had letters to originate from, the work I did was more on the detailed level. This was NOT going to look hand drawn, so there could be no loose edges, wonky angels or jumping baseline, and creating that with your hand alone is definitely a challenge (a big shout out to the edit shape tool in Procreate, though!).

Work in progress. Drawing straight san serifs by hand is challenging.

I drew it in blue, and I actually liked it when I did the mockup, but Bookmark wanted to go with white to get the contrast and thus enhance the legibility in this kind of crowded layout, which as you can see, is probably the best choice.

Mytomanen, work in progress

The blue color folded in quite nicely in the picture, right?

Beyond this point I dove inte the details – kerning, the angels of the swooshes and the space between the two lines. It was equally frustrating and satisfying at the same time.

Working with new clients is always fun, and my experience of buying designs myself from when I worked in marketing back in the day really comes in handy in these situations. Being a lettering artist is 30% drawing letters and 70% communicating with people and it’s important to understand your client’s situation and what they need from you in order to get their job done. Don’t forget that you’re both heading towards the same goal, so being open about that really helps instead of getting all defensive. Bookmark had a great team (of women, need I say) and it all went smooth and quick.

So, to sum it up: a distinct brief, good communication and kindness in general make up for a good result! And low and behold, here’s the result:

Rumor has it that there’s an dash added to the letters, but other than that, this is what the cover needed up looking like. Pretty cool, huh?

The book will be released on May 25th and Sofie Sarenbrant was appointed Swedish detective novel author of 2019. The title is Swedish for “Mythomaniac”.