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Typography | Font | Illustration
INSPIRATION: GETTING AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER
By: Emily McDowell
Like a lot of people, I spend way too much time staring at my computer screen. Sometimes, when I’m done working, I’ll go over to Pinterest or any one of a zillion blogs and start looking around for inspiration. Fast-forward two hours, and my back hurts, my eyes are tired, and I end up getting distracted by cute dresses and/or cocktail recipes and yes even Facebook!!! It’s times like these when I remember that getting out into the non-digital world is really my favorite way to get inspired.
I’ve lived all over the country: Boston, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Sun Valley, Tampa, and now Los Angeles. One of the reasons I love LA is that there are so many things here that give me ideas: the plants, the light, the people, the architecture, the colors. This afternoon, I did one of my favorite things: I walked down the street in East LA and took pictures of hand-painted typography and illustrations.
Hand-painted signs are an art form in the eastern parts of Los Angeles, and you’ll see them everywhere.
I stopped for my favorite tacos ever at Los Cinco Puntos, and on the way, I spotted some great color combinations that I’m sure will show up at some point in my work. Looking at this one just makes me feel happy – and awake.
I get so inspired looking at the letterforms people come up with. Many of the signs aren’t copying a particular font, but instead making up their own.
There are two bike shops near each other on Cesar Chavez Avenue, where I was walking, and I took photos of them both.
I love the little bike illustrations on both of these signs. Many stores paint pictures on their exteriors to advertise what they sell. I have two favorite examples of these: one is a vacuum store in Hollywood where the outside of the store is covered with carefully painted renditions of each model of vacuum they carry. My other favorite is a bodega in Echo Park, whose exterior walls are decorated with painted bottles of detergent, A-1 sauce, cans of Budweiser, and carrots…
On my walk today, I saw this furniture store, which made me happy.
I also saw this amazing mural on a butcher’s storefront.
One of the last things I came across was this great reminder that sometimes things don’t work out as planned, and it’s OK. I love this happy accident.
On the way home, I was on the freeway, admiring the Santa Monica Mountains, when I was passed by an elderly woman on a dirt bike. She must have been going 80 miles an hour. That’s another reason I love getting out into the world: it’s full of surprises. May your August be the most inspired one yet!
Until next time…Emily
Written by: Emily McDowell