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Beata Kurek, founder of LoveLetters Studio in Poznań – designer and educator of typography and lettering. Graduate and lecturer at the University of Fine Arts in Poznań. Participant and a leader of many projects and lecturers.
We met during Warsaw Type project, back in 2016, during which she designed the one and only Bajaderka typeface, which you can spot in the city and elsewhere.
Let’s begin with how you define your discipline?
I design letterings that are based on the needs or briefs of my clients. Calligraphy – I create styles of letters and calligraphy or handwrite communicates for brands. I love to teach about letters and see how they bring joy to people. Additionally, I work as art director.
How did your passion for letters begin? Do you remember your first meeting with letters?
It all started thanks to a friend of mine I met in high school. If back then I could predict the results it will have on my life! 😀
He was a very engaged student of the legendary course called the Academic Typography Course (AKT) and sometimes he showed me his work. I loved it! That was when he inspired me, he really managed to influence me with his passion. At that time I had no doubts that I must pick a university where I can learn type design.
How do you recall the years you have spent at the University of Fine Arts in Poznan? Do a piece of advice for students?
It was a very intensive time, filled with various experiences.
I was very lucky, people that were very close to me, my friends from the courses, were very talented – and they were the most passionate students at the department of design. It was very natural that we supported each other and, well, slightly competed at the same time. If you add to this the outstanding care we have received from our great teachers – this is what gave me a lot of energy and motivation to work and the most perfect conditions to grow and develop.
Looking at my students now, I can clearly see that the best results are coming from those, who have this type of group of friends with a common passion. Those that manage to motivate and push forward although various difficulties. If you are starting your studies – I recommend you to look around for people that share the same passions. Even if it feels a bit strange in the beginning. The influence of people that can support each other creatively is priceless.
Lettering, calligraphy, typography – are those the basic skills in graphic design?
Calligraphy is a bit of a paradox as it is an absolute basis for constructing a letter. Both in the case of history as well as set of skills. And at the same time there are not too many designers that can do it efficiently – and that makes it a niche.
The most important lesson from the Studio?
Being aware, that I am the only person responsible for my work.
Do you have a favorite tool for lettering?
Difficult choice! <3
The more expressive tool for writing the better! That’s why I love brushes that splash ink, colapens, rulings. I recommend those to anyone who finds it difficult to begin with the classic calligraphic scripts. As well as to those who would like to find a way to express their emotions through calligraphy!
Calligraphing historical scripts can make you enter a state of deep focus, calm you down and relax. It’s often mentioned by the participants of my workshops. On the contrary, the dynamic, expressive work with the tool, when we sort of «shout out» the words by writing them the paper – this can be very therapeutic.
Can you imagine a world with no letters?
Wait, what? 😀
The greatest challenge in working with letters?
The necessity of applying adjustments over a calligraphic piece that is intended for print. We are used to working with a letter that was already designed – we can adjust it to any size with perfectly crafted details, easily change the leading or the shape of the columns… Even being aware of how easy it is to typeset on screen, it is difficult to imagine how complicated it is to plan and manually adjust hand-written letters as a block of text. Well, until you do not do it yourself and have this type of experience.
What passionates you the most about letters?
Letters connect the essence of fine arts and design: they are beautiful and functional at the same time.
How one can prepare for your workshops and what type of knowledge do you offer for the participants?
Depending on the type of workshop:
Relax with letters! «Coffee and Letters» workshops are intended as a gentle introduction to calligraphy understood as beautiful writing – release yourself from the pressure of perfection and meet up with people, that are keen to learn by writing together. The workshops are attended by professionals as well as complete amateurs and so there’s great value in conversations, exchanging experiences on calligraphy, and being able to work in your own pace.
And there’s coffee. And a cheesecake. 😉
Learn calligraphy from the very basics. Those are workshops, where I teach the basics of working with the calligraphic pen, basic elements of letters, and different types of historical scripts. The vibe is very pleasant, but you can feel the tension of focus in the air. The participants are usually beginners or people that already did the very first steps in calligraphy and are searching for guidance.
Building design skills connected with lettering and typography. Participants learn techniques connected with tools but also how to sketch out their ideas for typography and later on, bring those into the digital form. The workshops are intended for graphic designers looking to improve or gain practical skills as well as students.
The workshops usually do not require any form of preparation. We only inform whether those are intended for professionals or if the level will be accessible to anyone.
Is calligraphy only for the right-handed?
No, it is for everyone! Although indeed, most of the historical European typefaces and scripts are much more comfortable for right-handed people I do know left-handed people that managed to gain admirable skills in calligraphy.
A single piece of music, that is your working companion?
Ahh, I’m forever about sad songs! 😀
O Children – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
The best way to follow your activity – designs and workshops?
Upcoming workshops: https://saveschron.pl/produkt/santa-grafika-warsztaty-letter-sketching