Lettering artist Kate is proud to be part of the typography community
Passionate about bright colors and typography, Kate is a lettering and illustration artist who has been lettering since before she even knew what lettering was. Kate is inspired by vintage design, movies, books, and TV shows, and what Kate describes as "fantastic amazing stupendous words".
Kate is one of the many talented women who responded to the call-out for entries to the IWD x Typism annual Lettering Challenge. Kate showed her support for the IWD Women Creatives Mission by creating unique artwork that celebrates the IWD 2023 #EmbraceEquity campaign theme.
Kate shares how, using her love of colour, she created her #EmbraceEquity design, and explains why embracing equity means recognizing intersectionality.
Evoking warm feelings through her artwork
When Kate first saw the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day, #EmbraceEquity, Kate's first thought was about the definition of embrace.
"I wanted to focus on the warm and fuzzy, kindness and empathy evoking feelings that this concept would produce. I added stylized hands to the most ‘arm-like’ parts of my letterforms to make it look like the letters were embracing each other. I also overlapped my letters slightly to further the ‘hugging’ effect. Finally, I used bold colors and funky shapes for my letterforms because they are my favorite qualities to incorporate in my designs and because colorful, fun designs make me happy," explains Kate.
Using complementary colors to create a bold piece
When asked to share her process for creating the artwork, Kate says: "I don’t always have the most consistent process when making art, but I always start my designs with a very loose sketch, which helps me get a feel for the spacing and composition I want my piece to have. For this piece, I tried to let my letterforms flow into each other—almost as if they were really “hugging.” I try to be consistent with my sketches' development, but it usually varies quite a bit depending on my idea's clarity."
Kate uses Procreate for most of my art, but she sometimes switches back to pencil and paper if she's struggling with a sketch. After Kate gets her sketch down, she starts blocking in her shapes - usually in black and white, but sometimes she goes straight to colour.
"I started adding colour pretty quickly for this piece, which I sometimes struggle with because it can make my designs turn into a giant rainbow puddle. I really love colour! My final design for this year was still pretty rainbow-y though, which is how I like them. I often work with complementary colours because I love how bold and eye-catching they are," explains Kate.
After adding some colours, Kate decided to use blank space and offset her letters from her background to provide some contrast. Kate's final touch for all her pieces is always to add paper texture for visual interest and usually some star forms. Kate loves mid-century modern-style starbursts, so she added that as the final part of her design to balance the blank space in her piece.
Embracing equity by recognizing intersectionality
Kate first learned the word equity sometime in grade four or five, and it was presented to her with the famous cartoon example of people standing on different stool heights to see over a fence.
"This was an excellent visual example for young me, and it is still my first thought all these years later. I find myself returning to this basic example to explain what equity means. At its most simple, embracing Equity is about welcoming fairness and justice. Is my head higher over the fence than the person next to me? Can I do something about that? What might that person need to get their head to the same level as mine?" explains Kate.
"I am a white woman and very privileged because of that. As I get older, a big part of understanding Equity is understanding my privilege in society and then using that privilege to make space for others who have not been afforded by society the same chances I have. That is not necessarily an easy task. It can be hard to get out of your head and see how other factors like race, sexuality, and gender impact equity, especially when they might not be something you deal with directly. This is when it becomes necessary to listen," says Kate.
"Intersectionality is an essential word in the world of feminism. It means understanding and learning about the complicated ways these other factors interact, especially concerning being a woman. So really, to me, embracing equity means recognizing intersectionality, learning to listen to other perspectives before acting, and then using my privilege to make a positive and meaningful difference whenever possible," adds Kate.
Sharing ways to celebrate International Women's Day
Kate shares many ways people can celebrate International Women's Day: "First, it is essential to consider how far women's rights worldwide have come and how far we still have to go. Some issues close to my heart are reproductive rights and women's safety. I always think more about these issues in the lead-up to International Women's Day and wonder how to better incorporate the issues I care about into my work."
"Thinking about these issues can be heavy and scary, so sometimes it feels tempting to avoid them together, but it's important always to try to stand for what you believe in. International Women's Day is an excellent reminder to do just that," adds Kate.
"Another essential part of International Women's Day for me is celebrating being a woman. Being a woman is pretty cool! There are so many amazing women to look up to in my life, and in previous years I've focused on making art that pays homage to them. I've done art recognizing people like Maya Angelou, Katherine Hepburn, Michelle Obama, and other women I admire," explains Kate.
"It can be easy to get bogged down by the hard things that women still face in their everyday lives, and it is essential to pay attention equally to all the amazing things that women have done and will do. Being a woman gives me unique perspectives and ideas that others might not have, and it is fantastic that I can share these perspectives through art. I see the world differently based on who I am and how I identify, and I bring these views and opinions to every project I approach. I aim to bring more of myself and the issues I care about to my art, My favorite art pieces always included the most of myself and what I care about - passion is always evident in art," comments Kate.
Carving a space for herself in the typography world
"Men dominate design and typography like many fields, especially in the uppermost positions. That said, there are so many amazing women working in design, and it has been incredible to watch them carve out their own spaces in the design world. I am proud to be part of fantastic typography communities like Typism and Women of Type, which help women do this.
"I was lucky to be featured in the first-ever Women of Type book. Communities like that make being a woman in typography a fantastic and formative experience. My mom is also a graphic designer and one of these enterprising women in design. She is one of my biggest inspirations and has always been the first and loudest supporter of any work I do. Seeing people like her (and, by extension, like me) is the best inspiration I could ask for. I look forward to watching more women succeed in the design industry, and I hope to carve out a space for myself in the typography and design world," adds Kate.