Alexandra Snowdon‘s love for art and typography began at a young age, and her commitment to learning, traveling, and experiencing the world is reflected in her skilled designs. In 2010 Alexandra launched her own business, Snowdon Design & Craft, which has grown to include two successful online shops that sell her designs, as well as partnerships with independent retailers. We’re glad to share Alexandra’s thoughts on her work, her goals, and traveling around the world to find what really matters. Check out her 4 Questions 4 interview below.
1. How did you originally get interested in typography and design?
I started off when I was quite young. My grandpa was a commercial artist and I spent a lot of time with him during school holidays. I loved watching him hand-letter posters and signs with brushes and ink. Art was my favorite subject at school, so I was absolutely fascinated with the whole process. He picked up on my interest and encouraged me to follow a creative path, so I have a lot to thank him for. When I got to art college I felt naturally drawn to graphic design because I’ve always loved typography in all its forms. I was only a couple of years into my graphic design career, however, when the whole industry went digital. I began to really miss the hands-on aspect of designing, and felt that I was losing my drawing skills. Years went by and I felt increasingly disillusioned. I took a year off to go traveling in my mid-thirties, and when I got back I decided to go to university part-time, and concentrate on developing my illustration skills. Most of my assignments involved combining lettering and illustration. I soon came to realize that hand-lettering was the thing I did best by far. A couple of years after graduating, I was in a position to leave my graphic design job and become a full-time illustrator and hand-lettering artist. I’ve never looked back.
2. What typography trends are you loving most these days?
It would have to be hand lettering. I think it’s definitely here for the long term. It’s great to have that contrast between clean, sharp, digital fonts and the organic warmth of hand-lettering, with all its flaws and imperfections. In some ways things have come full circle. We live in such a digital world nowadays that anything made with evidence of the human hand has become something special.
3. Which of your projects are you most proud of thus far in your career, and why?
I think it would have to be the large-scale hand-painted sign I did for a local gallery. It was based on a quote about creativity by Einstein. I did it using chalk paints with the letters painted white on a black background. It was without a doubt the most challenging project I’ve ever worked on. I usually work on quite a small scale, sitting at my desk, drawing and redrawing letters on pieces of paper until I’m happy with them. Then there’s always the option of tidying the work up and making small tweaks digitally until it looks just right. But all that comfort was taken away when I had to paint the letters directly onto the chalkboard, and had only one shot to get it right. I felt sick every time I worked on it, but in a good way. I was pretty happy with the end result! It wasn’t perfect by any means, but it had a lot of character. I think that sums up the essence of hand-lettering: all its kinks and quirks are the very things that give it life.
4. Describe your dream project.
I’d love to do a book of hand-lettered quotations. A few years ago I set myself the challenge of illustrating one quote every week for 12 months. It was sometimes difficult finding the time to fit it in, but my lettering skills really improved as the year went on. I posted them all on social media, and ended up getting quite a bit of work through them. I’d love to do something like that again.