Neil Tasker is a Michigan-based freelance graphic designer, illustrator and letterer with a huge passion for typography. Recently, one of his type creations graced the top of our April 2012 e-newsletter.
GRAPHIC DESIGNER / LETTERER / ILLUSTRATOR
Can you give us a brief background of yourself? Your history? Your accomplishments?
I am currently a freelance designer, focusing on lettering and the use of typography. When I was growing up, I never planned to be an artist; it just happened to cross my path. I think I have always been creative, and I loved to make stuff, whether it was playing Legos when I was younger or being a musician in high school. I love what I do now, and that’s what is most important to me. Do what you love, because then your essentially not working, if you get what I am saying.
What made you interested in design?
Typography/lettering work really opened up my eyes. I was addicted and wanted to keep learning more. I loved how just lettering could produce such an effect on design and those seeing it.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by a lot of type from old books, signs, etc. and also work being produced by today’s designers. I try and keep and even balance of both.
How did you get started in lettering?
I took a typography class in college, and from there I started experimenting with letters. I didn’t know much; I didn’t even know that was an actual job or this thing called ‘typography’ existed. I was willing to put in a lot of time and hard work, and I feel that untimely that has really helped me grow the most.
Could you show us a sampling of your work?
Any tips or resources you could recommend for people out there trying to do sweet lettering like you?
I know it sounds corny, but putting in the time and hard work. Study and draw different letters and see how they work with or against each other. It takes a lot of experimenting and failing to learn, and you can’t be afraid of that. You also have to keep practicing. A book called Scripts: Elegant Lettering From Design’s Golden Age by Steven Heller and Louise Fili has really helped me; it consists of type/lettering from different countries and periods of time. A great online resource is dribbble.com. It’s a show-and-tell for designers. I recommend checking it out. A lot of today’s top designers are on the site, and there is a lot to learn from their work.
How has living in Michigan shaped your work/design?
In Michigan, there aren’t as many of us as New York or California, so I like to think we tend to stick out more, when something good is produced.
Who is your favorite Michigan based designer/artist?
Drew Melton, He is a great letterer.
What is your favorite Michigan-made product?
What is your favorite aspect of AIGA?
I have gotten freelance work from AIGA, and I think that’s the biggest part for me, is that there are great job opportunities on here.
What is one thing you can’t live without?
Family. At the end of the day, I can design all the dream jobs in my mind, but really the most important thing is the people around you, and I think some people lose sight of that.
Who is your favorite designer?
I don’t really have a favorite, just a gigantic collection of a ton of great artists. For example anyone from Louise Fili’s Studio, she produces a lot of great work and great designers.
What websites do you have bookmarked?
A typography board on Pinterest, typeverything.com and dribbble, nothing crazy.
What does your workspace look like?
I have a 27 in. iMac and there’s always an assortment of sketchbooks/paper/pencils and typography books.
What is an example of one of your favorite projects from the past year?
One of my favorites was redesigning the logo for my fathers business, Great Lakes Embroidery and Screen-printing that has been around since I was born in 1989. My Father is very hard working, and would do anything for his family, so it always feels good to be able to at least try to do something in return. On a side note, if you guys ever need a great screen printer/embroiderer, his shop is the place to go!
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