I reached out to Colin Tierney to be a part of this interview series not only because I’m a fan of his work, but also for his meticulous attention to detail. I’ve always wondered what his creative process was like outside of what I saw on his Instagram feed. I knew Colin would have some great things to share considering his design background. He’s a great friend and crafty lettering artist.
(Other than the questions, everything is written by Colin.)
What is your creative process like for lettering?
My process for lettering begins with writing. This writing consists of both a description outlining the content and goals for the project. I also utilize the art of calligraphy to begin writing the wordmark or phrase. Both of these techniques are essential practices within the developmental phase of a lettering piece. I use various writing instruments to find interesting relationships between letterforms and to find characteristics that will help define the perceived feeling I’m trying to evoke. Once I find the best direction, I begin the lettering stage by drawing each letterform. This is an iterative process that includes several stages of refinement by illustrating, erasing, tracing, rinse and repeat. Once I’ve taken the concept as far as I can by hand, I scan the image and begin the digitization process.
Does it ever change or is it always the same?
My process is pretty consistent, but with each project there is always room for some kind of modification. Learning new techniques allow for more efficiency which in turn, creates an improved process.
Often times I have a great idea, but the execution hasn’t matured enough for a final concept to be realized.
What are the benefits of having a trustworthy process?
The benefit of having a trustworthy process is understanding that with time, I will reach the prospect of success and solve the problem. Often times I have a great idea, but the execution hasn’t matured enough for a final concept to be realized. An iterative process allows for this transition to come to fruition.
How important is it to explain your creative process to people that hire you?
Explaining my process to potential clients is critical to an understanding and trustworthy relationship. This transparency at the beginning of a project will create an easier process for both parties involved.
Did you purchase the original letter-pressed print? If so, what does the print do for you?
I purchased the original Trust the Process print because the lettering is absolutely gorgeous and I love the style in which Daniel pays homage to renowned lettering artists, Keith Morris and Tony Di Spigna. The print is not only a great visual aesthetic—It’s a mantra that I strive to live by within my body of work while inspiring me to trust the process of life by appreciating the challenges and achievements that go along with it.
This blog post is part of an on-going series. If you enjoyed it, you might also like some of the past interviews.