Welcome to Industry R&R (and other letters)

Over the last 10 months or so, you’ve probably gotten to know The Industry as a go-to source for anything and everything that lives where design and tech meet. Whether you come for the news, the reviews, or maybe the editorials, you know that when you get here, you can expect to find the things you care about being covered by people who love them and are just as passionate about them as you are.

As design-focused as we are, the business side of things also holds a central role in what we’re all about. But what about when the work week is over and you want to wind down with something a bit less serious?

Back when The Industry first launched, I joined the team as a news and editorial writer (yeah, those were my two posts so far). At the time, my own work was heavily UI and mobile app focused. Covering this side of the industry was a natural fit.

But over the last year or so, I’ve been playing around more and more with hand-lettering and typography, and in that time, the projects I’ve been taking on have made a dramatic shift in that direction. These days, I almost exclusively work on lettering or lettering-based branding jobs; less of a natural fit for covering design-focused startups. Still, I skillfully dodged the reality that I should probably just call it what it was and bow out. I saw where The Industry was headed and I didn’t want to let that go.

There are about as many different facets of our industry as there are swatches in a Pantone book, and here at the The Industry, we cover almost all of them. But lettering is one area of design that isn’t really touched on here, or anywhere else for that matter. Light bulb.

In the year that I’ve spent arduously hunting for solid information or training on how do this crazy stuff, I’ve learned a ton. It’s been an incredible journey so far. What’s considerably less incredible though, is that about 90% of what I’ve learned, I had to figure out myself. In a lot of ways, I’m thankful for that, but in plenty of other ways, that sucks.

Before I dove headfirst into the world of lettering, I was spending a lot of time trying to teach myself HTML and CSS. I was getting along quite nicely because, you know what? I was quickly and easily able to find the answer to every question that came up. The info was everywhere, accessible and free.

Answers to my lettering questions on the other hand, were seemingly impossible to come by. There are a few great books, but even they are hard to get a hold of and far from free. So where do you go to learn more about lettering and how the hell to get started with it?

Industry R&R

This column will be the beginning of a little quest to try to share back some of the techniques I’ve learned, come up with, etc. I’ll be presenting all this info more from the standpoint of a fellow student, rather than a teacher. Why? Well, I have zero formal training in anything remotely related to this, I’ve only been doing it for a year, and it’s very possible that I’m doing some or all of these things incorrectly. But if it gives you a way to accomplish something where you didn’t know a way before, then that’s what matters.

Not only will I be putting how-tos together, but look for interviews with some of your favorite letterers and type designers, too. There are countless people much smarter and more talented than me in this field, and I intend to tap that for you as well to make this the best resource it can be.

In the future, look for Industry R&R to show up on Fridays, giving you the whole weekend to read, play with the concepts, or even join the conversation in the comments with questions or your own pointers.

If you have any questions, perhaps suggestions of people you think I should be talking to, or anything else, feel free to email me at ryan@theindustry.cc or hit me up on Twitter.

I look forward to learning with you! Welcome to Industry R&R.

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