Today, I am happy to welcome Adrienne, the artist behind Dingbat Press, to the Daily Etsian. Adrienne is a graphic designer and letterpress artist. She does a wide variety of work, selling on Etsy and from her own domain, Dingbat Press. Also make sure to check out her blog to drool over some beautiful letterpress works of art.
1. Where did you come up with the name "Dingbat Press"? Growing up my mom called me a dingbat on occasion. It fits not only within my character, but historically as well. Sometimes I get funny reactions and snickers from people when they hear my business name as they think I'm the dingbat (which in some cases I can be), however the historical reference behind the name is related to a printer's dingbat, often used as ornamentation in typeset letterpress printing. I'm a type nerd and thought it would be fitting to use something relative to my craft yet wanted something memorable. It's been a great conversation starter when I'm doing trade shows and telling people about my business, always giving a good laugh to those unfamiliar with the history of a dingbat.
2. Describe yourself in one word. Overly-ambitious.
3. How did you get in to the art of letterpress? I always wanted to be a graphic designer and/or illustrator due to an inspiring and mentoring neighbor who sparked my interest at a young age. So school was a matter of finding the right BFA program. However, I found a husband first, so I made the best out of school that I could. Luckily, the university I received my BFA from had an excellent design program with amazing professors. Due to my husband's line of work (fly-fishing outfitter) I knew we'd be living rural and that I could work for someone else (slim pickings) or work for myself. While I was a design student, there was a non-operative press on campus that I was dying to get my hands on. Along with a few other students, we begged our professors to get it up and running so we could "hunker around" on it (cringe). I took weekend workshops and did a lot of personal research. I then took the plunge and bought a press soon after I graduated and really became more of a self taught printer than anything. I know I'm far from perfect but take pride in creating beautiful prints with everything that ships out of the studio. I did the agency thing for a few years and then decided to take the plunge and quit my "real job" as our family expanded. The business evolved out of my ADD obsession to create new designs whenever I felt like it, which led me to stationery. Letterpress was already an obsession and so the two naturally melded nicely.
Photo courtesy of The Dingbat's Agenda
4. Why is this your medium of choice? I like to sketch, but admit my drawing skillz are not what they used to be. I usually verbalize my ideas and do a few thumbs in my sketch-book however feel that I can manipulate the computer much better to my style over trying to work it out perfectly on paper first. Some think this process of design is a crutch which hinders adequate development, however I disagree, and it works for me. I usually have about 3 different working files of a single design that I tinker with until I feel I can't do any more to the design without ruining it. I love the process/medium of letterpress because each phase is so liberating when seeing it all come together. I love to see how ideas evolve from sketches to computer to plates and then finally impressed into pillowy paper. I don't know if I could ever give up printing to other employees if my business expanded because the last part of the project is always the most fulfilling!
5. Where do you find inspiration? My clients serve as inspiration, it's so cool meeting people from all over the world and being trusted with conveying who they are in printed stationery/business papers. For my retail collection, it's more just what suits my fancy at the moment. I know people say in business to try to focus on one aspect and that you shouldn't try to provide product for everyone -- but I feel like there are so many different styles of design that I really want to offer and what I myself would like to buy so I try to provide a mixture of goods, all of superior quality. If something is popular in the line-up then I develop it further and expand. If not, it gets scrapped after being out there for about 18 months.
6. Name your top three favorite websites/blogs, artists, and books/magazines.
This is tough - I'd have to say my three blogs that are memorized in my brain if all my bookmarks got lost would be SwissMiss, Bakerella, and ThePioneerWoman. They all speak to me in different ways (design/domesticity/family in respective order) which relate to my life in someway and inspire me to continue doing what I love in all aspects of life. Moderation in all things I think!
Favorite book? Les Miserables
Favorite Artist? Mondrian or A.M. Cassandre
Photo courtesy of The Dingbat's Agenda
7. What tips or suggestions would you give to other artists? Don't ever let ANYONE tell you that art is not an appropriate or adequate profession. It has been such a blessing in my life to utilize talents that I have naturally. As Nike so eloquently put it, "Just Do It." You'll never know if you are capable of artistic inclinations if you never try it out! I'm all about taking the plunge and not looking back.