Letterer, illustrator and type designer Jessica Hische – at the age of 31, one of the most influential graphic designers in the world – will launch the 2015 Watkins Visiting Artists Series with a talk on Thursday, January 22, at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film. The presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Watkins Theater.
The event is free and the public is invited. The Watkins Visiting Artist Series is funded in part by a grant from Humanities Tennessee, an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Known internationally for her award-winning lettering, illustrations and typefaces, Ms. Hische is also an avid “internetter,” with a special interest in the intersection of arts and technology through the lens of web typography (she has the word “Type” tattooed on her left triceps). A native of Charleston, S.C., who grew up in northeastern Pennsylvania, she graduated in 2006 from Tyler School of Art (at Temple University) with a degree in Graphic and Interactive Design, then worked for Headcase Design (Philadelphia) and at Louise Fili Ltd. (New York). In 2009, at the age of 25, she launched her freelance career; her extensive and impressive credits include projects in advertising, books, identity, editorial, marketing/merchandise for The Atlantic, Harper Collins, Target, The New York Times, Wes Anderson, Dave Eggers, Google, American Express, Nike, Samsung, OXFAM America, Speedo, Penguin Books, Neiman Marcus, Papyrus, Starbucks, Victoria’s Secret, MailChimp, Pinterest and Tiffany & Co., among numerous quirky and corporate others. She has been honored as an Art Directors Club “Young Gun” and in Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 (twice).
While not primarily a web designer, many of her personal projects are web-centric and she has become as well known for her side projects as for her client work. In her project Daily Drop Cap (2009), she created a new illustrative letter daily, working through the alphabet a total of twelve times; at its peak, the site had more than 100,000 visitors per month. She has also created a number of educational micro-sites including “Mom, This is How Twitter Works,” “Should I Work for Free?” and “Don’t Fear the Internet” (with Russ Maschmeyer, whom she married in 2012), each as entertaining as it is practical. (She even coined the term “procrastiworking” to describe her tendency to procrastinate on client work by working on personal projects.) Many of these sites reflect an engagement with new media and social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter (where she has over 88,000 followers), and they also demonstrate her advocacy for artists’ rights in an era of freelancing and liberal attitudes about intellectual property. Ms. Hische also embodies a new mode of presentation and marketing that rejects age-old distinctions between professional and personal identities. In all these respects, she is a designer whose career addresses the possibilities and predicaments of digital media for artists and creative people working today.
Ms. Hische works out of Title Case, a by-appointment-only collaborative studio in San Francisco (with fellow letterer and designer Erik Marinovich) as well as the Pencil Factory illustration and design collective in Brooklyn. An engaging, spirited presenter, since 2010 she has spoken at 50+ conferences and seminars all over the world—Auckland, Oslo, Dusseldorf, Dublin, Berlin, Barcelona, Guadalajara, Melbourne, Manila, Vancouver, Copenhagen and Capetown, for starters. She serves on the board of directors of the Type Directors Club, the leading international organization whose purpose is to support excellence in typography, both in print and on screen.
Founded in 1973, Humanities Tennessee is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting lifelong learning, civil discourse, and an appreciation of history, diversity, and community among Tennesseans. Statewide programs include the annual Southern Festival of Books: A Celebration of the Written Word℠, the Appalachian and Tennessee Young Writers’ Workshops, a variety of History & Culture programs, Grants & Awards for teachers and community organizations, Chapter16.org, among many others. To learn more, visit www.humanitiestennessee.org.