The

Letterettes

We are The Letterettes!

All four of us currently work remotely from different parts of Melbourne, but we stay connected digitally. We keep each other in the loop of work and life, brainstorm project ideas together, manage deadlines and juggle multiple bookings (but also never miss out on sharing face mask selfies and binge-worthy true crime podcasts).

We cover all lettering bases, from hand-made to digital, flourishing for clients big and small - all whilst wearing matching jackets.

We love to emphasise meaning by bringing phrases to life.

Each of us brings something different to the team, and that’s what makes us who we are. We value our strengths and encourage growth and development in those areas where we may not be as confident. Carla has spent years mastering free-form hand-painted brush textures, while Kate loves to brainstorm possible images, campaigns, uniforms or personal projects. Eliza has an eye for detail - and a head for materials and process - while Wanissa’s interest in copperplate inspired letterforms and flourishes continues to grow.

Carla and Eliza met for the first time at Little Gold Studio, while Kate and Eliza met at an exhibition after massively swooning over each other’s work on Instagram. Eliza and Wanissa met whilst studying art at uni, and then reconnected ten years later through lettering.

Towards the end of 2015 live lettering jobs were growing in popularity and often, two or more of us would end up on the same job. Then came the fateful gig at a suburban shopping centre, when Eliza pitched the idea of joining forces and forming a group. Before she could finish her sentence, Carla joined in - “I’ll be in a girl band with you!”

We began the shift just like any other, as four individuals… but we left as part of a fledgling lettering girl group: brainstorming names and uniforms all the way home. Four years on and we’re still going strong!

We love working together because we’re able to contribute and combine multiple skills and years of experience into one collective group. This enables us to work more experimentally on pieces, whilst continuously learning from one another. The magic of working in a group of four also means we’ve been able to tag-team our way through time-sensitive jobs. Plus, it’s no secret that we’re all massive fans of each other!

We think of ourselves as pen and brush wizards who were put on this planet to cover everything in beautiful lettering. Here are some pages from our sketchbooks. We love starting our sketches with good ol’ pencil and paper to work on our layout before inking or heading onto the iPad. We love digital lettering, but we’re really passionate about the beautiful art of writing in the analogue form.

Our work is all about engaging with the public - whether that be stopping them in their tracks to admire a campaign message, or seeing us live in action creating lettering on the spot. We’re also all about solidarity, female empowerment, and modelling great teamwork.

One of our favourite projects was our first big job as a team, working with Disney for the Melbourne Toy Fair. It remains a favourite because we were all able to work together on one canvas, and the brief included everything from murals to pre-designed cards and live customisation. A dream!

The three things currently inspiring us the most are women supporting women, stretching our skills to continue broadening our offering, and all things pink! Our current pop culture obsession is any podcast on true crime. We love to listen to gritty material while swashing beautifully or sketching away on the iPad - and we have an entire message thread dedicated to sharing our recommendations. The highlights of our day are taking a moment to “oooh and ahhh” at pics of any of the following: Carla’s adorable baby Raph, Kate’s (equally adorable) fur baby Vinnie, Eliza’s meticulously organised stationery stash, or Wanissa’s growing family of plants.

We’re strong advocates of women’s rights, and prioritise celebration over competition. It’s important to us that we support each other and our peers in the creative industries. The days of pitting ourselves against one another are over. Not long ago we took part in the Vogue Fashion Night Out, setting up in our matching uniforms to create hand-lettered affirmations for customers. It’s great meeting people and being able to share our love of lettering with them.

We spend a lot of time nerding out about pens, paint and brushes. Because we get asked to letter on so many different surfaces, we want to rock up prepared! One of the most interesting and challenging jobs we’ve ever done was be a part of a global campaign for Nespresso. We had the opportunity to letter in over 15 different languages, and have had friends sending us snaps of our work from the other side of the world!

The key to writing fancy letters is practice, practice, practice!

The best thing about working on commercial projects is when we get to really collaborate with a client; we brainstorm and bounce off each other, each valuing the other’s strengths and experience. It can make for some pretty powerful projects! Here’s a recent piece we created for Collective Magazine. We loved being able to work on the same canvas, allowing each of our personalities to come together on one page. Plus it was an honour being showcased alongside so many wonderful Jacky Winter artists!

Carla
Eliza
Kate
Wanissa

Most of our work starts with a simple pencil or Procreate sketch. The next step depends on how the client needs the final work presented - we might need to carry it into Adobe Illustrator and vector the work, or instead we may need a high-resolution image that is then projected onto a wall and painted. One of our favourite projects recently was the 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Every year, the Festival installs two huge blackboards that showcase its daily program in the middle of the city, and for the past three years we have been there, writing and updating that program each and every day. It’s wonderful being a part of such an engaging and exciting event, and it’s been fantastic to see the blackboards become a feature of the Festival.

When live lettering, we often get asked how we can create something seemingly so quick and easy on the spot. The answer is lots and lots of practice! Each of us studied graphic design, and we have undertaken many hours of practice and tuition so we can better understand letterforms as well as each of the tools we use. As we move on in our career, we’ve been able to continually increase our speed, accuracy and creativity so that when it comes to live lettering, we’re able to create something in just a few minutes!

When creating our work, we always try to work together. Sometimes different factors and boundaries can mean that this isn’t always possible, but even if we don’t all end up designing the final piece, we’ll all be involved in the process at some point. The Body Shop mural is a good example of this - one of us may have designed, but all four of us painted the final product.

One of the most formative experiences of our time together was working on the CFC Gamechangers mural, comprised of hundreds of hand-painted names and messages from supporters. It sharpened our painting skills through 10,000 hours of on-the-job practice, exposed us to all of the elements of working outdoors, gave us lots of time to really get to know each other, but most importantly - demonstrated the sheer volume of work we can accomplish when we work together.

We think it’s really important to dedicate time to personal work because it’s a great way to express ourselves and the things we’re passionate about. It might be anything from a recent TV show, to an event, to a human rights issue.

Carla
Eliza
Kate
Wanissa

Lately in our personal work we’ve been practicing with our iPad Pros and perfecting our skills on ProCreate. It’s both rewarding and challenging to use a new tool and see what else we may be able to create with some additional items in our toolbox. We’re really excited to experiment more with fabric paint because the possibilities are endless!

People are often surprised to learn that the majority of our work is created by hand! There are certainly digital tools involved in our process, but it always comes back to working with our hands, whether that’s drawing, lettering or painting.

Recently we’ve been playing around with painting on a range of different surfaces to see what tool works best. We love customisation and want to see how far we can take it.

To us, personal pieces are both meditative and a way for us to practice and broaden our skills. We’re never not learning!

Here’s another collection of pieces we’re really proud of. They were created for Luna Bar and allowed us to challenge ourselves by styling and photographing in addition to lettering, as well as being able to work with an incredible organisation!

We make sure we incorporate projects into our schedule that allow us to work on things bigger than ourselves, assisting charities and social enterprises with their causes through effective design. It’s important to us that we ‘design for good’.

We were lucky enough to help raise funds for STREAT’s youth facility in Collingwood through sales of our illustrated food-pun cards, letterpress printed by Saint Gertrude.

Speaking of Saint Gertrude, we also worked with Amy Constable to create a set of “Letterpress Queen” cards, showcasing all the different printing techniques she’s able to do!

Not to mention fun projects we worked on with Jacky winter - Nestling Exhibition, Who Gives A Crap Christmas Rolls and Risograph 4!

If you’d like to find out more about us, here are some recent articles about us in The Design Files, The Design Kids and Broadsheet.

That’s us! If you want more, check out our full folio and instagram. Got a brief? Contact us and the good folks at Jacky Winter.

With Jacky Winter you work directly with the artist alongside a hands-on producer—it’s a power-up for your artwork commission.

With Jacky Winter you work directly with the artist alongside a hands-on producer—it’s a power-up for your artwork commission.

With Jacky Winter you work directly with the artist alongside a hands-on producer—it’s a power-up for your artwork commission.