All you creatives and calligraphy buffs will love today’s interview with Eliza Gwendalyn and her new venture, creating a font and foundry! For those of you who are unsure how this process works or even what a foundry is, she’s sharing her story from A to Z. The calligrapher, designer, stationer is a total girl boss in the industry and is constantly taking on new & exciting projects. Needless to say, we were thrilled to virtually sit down with Eliza and pick her creative brain about the launch of Studioways and the font Lady Slippers. Psst.. there’s also a giveaway in store!
We had the pleasure of chatting with you last year about calligraphy, stationery, and how you got into the business! Now, tell us a little about this new foundry – and what exactly a foundry is.
After much success with my first font line Petunia, hitting #7 hottest font on myfonts.com this past summer with Great Lakes Lettering, I decided to embark on my own font journey and form a foundry along with Jim Lyles called Studioways.
What made you venture off on your own?
I fell in love with the process of font making, but I am super meticulous and I felt that it was best for me to take the next step in the font world under my own brand. I couldn’t do it entirely on my own though, because all fonts entail design & program, and I am just a designer. This meant I needed someone who excelled in programming. I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Jim Lyles a month after we launched Petunia. Jim is a seasoned font programmer and he has contributed his skills to quite a few famous font families of our time including: Vera font family and Stiggy & Sands’ Kapture. These are just two of many successful typefaces he has created within the 3o years he has been working in the industry.
It was pretty exciting that Jim was on board to form a partnership with me. We had an instant connection and within 24 hours our partnership was signed and our foundry Studioways was formed! We dove right in to designing our first font family together, which I am delighted to say is available now on myfonts.com and our Studioways website.
Her name is Lady Slippers and she is the most romantic and delicate style I have created to date. Lady Slippers was a true labor of love. No matter what I work on I give it 150%, but with her I had to go above & beyond. After-all, how many times does a newbie like me get to work with a seasoned vet like Jim? I may have made a name for myself in the wedding industry, but I just broke in to into the font world in summer 2016, so this was a huge deal for me.
Creating a font sounds so fun, but we wouldn’t even know where to start! Tell us about the process…
First, you have to calligraphy or draw the ligatures and ornaments. Then, you scan them and fix it up in Photoshop. After you clean up the artwork in PSD, you bring it into Illustrator to vectorize it. This is the trickiest part for a font like Lady Slippers because of how intricate her letterforms are. Lady Slippers is very delicate. After all, it resembles one of the calligraphy styles I write in and the special art of calligraphy is the defined thick and thin lines.
We really wanted to instill that calligraphic hand while also making it computer and graphics friendly. To do this, you have to manually manipulate each vector point to achieve that intricacy throughout the letter as well as keep the flow consistent throughout the entire alphabet of upper and lower case. Once you complete vectorization, you are finally ready to program it, which is the most time consuming step of them all!
People think hand drawing and writing is the hardest part of creating a typeface but honestly that’s the easiest and most fun step! It’s the weeks, with the computer, which is the most tedious, but totally worth it! The time spent on each step is the beauty of the process. Creating the perfect font family takes months. You invest so much time into a project that it becomes your baby. Lady Slippers took Jim and I about seven months to create from design to finish. You spend so much time planning and editing and then it is time to pick a name for your baby!
How did you and Jim decide on the name Lady Slippers?
It’s actually a funny story! I originally named her after a company I designed a logo for. Since that particular logo was when I first worked in this hand style, but the name was already taken. Just like a company or artwork, a font needs an exclusive name; so one cold Fall day Jim and I went back and forth on delicate pretty names for an hour or two.
Petunia was named after my nickname from my parents, and it’s also a flower, so we wanted to keep it in the same genre since they are both designs developed from my personal calligraphy hand-style. We went down a list of hundreds of flowers and just when I was going to throw in the towel, I saw Lady Slippers and it just spoke to me. I often compare calligraphy to ballet, both acts are so graceful but take time to learn and perfect that grace. When I look at Lady Slippers it reminds me of ballet slippers, delicate and pretty yet not so simple to wear, which resembles our journey in creating Lady Slippers Font Family.
What exactly is a font family? Does Lady Slippers fall into a family?
A font family involves more than one variation of a typeface. So a family is formed when you have two or more typefaces under the same name. Petunia has 7 fonts in its family and Lady Slippers has 4, plus an extended version of the main typeface for designers to get crazy with. This extended version includes swashes, ligatures and contextual alternates, among others, in all accessible via OpenType features.
If you aren’t tech savvy you probably won’t understand what I just said but if you are, you should head on over to our website and purchase the single Lady Slippers font package to see what I am talking about! For those of you who are not OpenType aware, purchase the Lady Slippers Bundle package. I have also added a font with ornaments, flourishes and crests because I design my families with the bridal and stationery industry in mind.
Photo by Her Creative Studio
This begs the question.. what other fun projects are you working on?! Do you plan on launching more fonts?
YES! We are CONSTANTLY designing and generating fonts behind the scenes. I always plan ahead and signed 3 fabulous artist to our foundry this past fall: Virginia Luca Hart, Sarah Richardson and Elaina Deboard whom all have leant their calligraphy styles to their own unique font collaboration for Studioways! Virginia’s font is already on the launch calendar for March so stay tuned for that! Jim and I have also been busy designing a sans serif as well as a monogram font, however they won’t launch until 2018.
We have also branched out with our fonts into products. I am excited to announce my launch of self adhesive wax seals with WaxSeals.com this Valentine’s Day! It’s named Eliza Gwendalyn Collection and it is everything I have hoped for and dreamt of. CEO, Darsh Thomsen and her team reached out to me in late fall after seeing my typeface Petunia with some exciting concepts, so naturally, I couldn’t resist to jump on that opportunity!
It’s been quite an exciting few months designing a full collection of personal Eliza Gwendalyn Crest Designs to go along with my font collection for them. It’s a very unique service they provide and quite niche as is calligraphy. If I must say so myself, it’s a perfect pairing, and a joy to work with the ladies of Waxseals.com!
I always say this, but to combine my passion of type and calligraphy into a product like wax seals has been a real dream come true. Two traditional crafts modernizing in our day and age. It’s an honor to be apart of this progression! You can purchase Studioways fonts here and check out Eliza Gwendalyn’s Wax Seals collection here.
Photo by Her Creative Studio
You can purchase the full collection directly from their website. Every season we will come out with new colors, designs and scents! Yes, you heard me, they can scent the wax! For our OFFICIAL Launch we are offering a super big Promo & Giveaway to one lucky winner. A completely custom and FREE invitation suite designed by Eliza Gwendalyn along with a custom designed Wax Seal for the entire suite! Enter to win on waxseals.com. And in the spirit of love, for Valentine’s Day we are offering 50% off on the entire Lady Slippers Family for the week!