design week portland

Lettering Love—Design Week Recap

This was our 7th year celebrating and supporting Design Week and it was one to remember.
— Yvonne Perez Emerson, Founder/Director
IPRC helped folks make their own screen print at our lettering show, 26.

IPRC helped folks make their own screen print at our lettering show, 26.

From a talk at The Portland Art Museum to a workshop and gallery show in our headquarters at Tillamook Station, our Design Week Celebration was full of Lettering Love.

WeMake typically has some sort of design in-action take place during Portland Design Week. For our first five years we did a little thing called Put A Bird In It, and then Pin That Shit. As part of our mission to give back to the community the Lettering Exploration was no exception.

We want to thank everyone who came out to support and celebrate Design Week with us. We are happy to say that we raised $6000 for arts education that helps to support underserved youth in our community. Our benefactors this year include:


Caldera Arts $2,000

Caldera is a catalyst for the transformation of underserved youth through innovative, year-round art and environmental programs. Caldera serves Oregon youth from both urban and rural communities with limited access to educational and economic resource opportunities. Our programs nurture individual creativity to ignite self-expression and transform the way young people engage in their lives, families, and communities.


Friendtorship $2,000

Friendtorship is built on a foundation of creative collaboration and strong personal friendships. The program aims to increase access to design and arts learning for underserved high school students, empowering them to engage in experiential creative processes that better their communities. The personal relationships that develop between the university and high school students are fundamental to the active engagement that drives the program.

Creative collaboration and positive relationships are the pillars of our program.


School House Supplies $2,000

Schoolhouse Supplies is an award-winning nonprofit that supports public education in Portland by giving students and teachers free classroom supplies.

The program serves classrooms in need by operating a volunteer-run Free Store for Teachers, which is stocked with supplies donated by the community. The mission is based on the belief that every child deserves school supplies and has the right to a quality education.


This brings the total of giving to arts education over the last 6.5 years to just over $100,000! We think this is incredible and it’s because of you that we can make it happen. 

I would like to personally thank everyone who helped this year. High -fives all around! If you volunteered THANK YOU! To our super talented sXc speaker Jordan Metcalf and moderator Eric Marinovich (who flew in on short notice to cover for Luke Choice, who got stuck out of the country before the event, yikes!) THANK YOU!  To the Portland Art Museum for graciously being our host three years in a row, THANK YOU! To the amazing Jessica Hische for coming to celebrate and share her knowledge so freely at our lettering workshop, and to all of the awesome artists who contributed their time, and talent to be in the 26 show. THANK YOU!

But most importantly I would like to thank our team, without their tireless commitment we could not have made it happen. THANK YOU! Alise Munson, Cinnamon Williams, Morgan Braaten, and Rowan Bradley. Lastly, I have to thank my husband Nathan Emerson. Nathan is a 4th grade teacher and rushes back to The Station every time we have an event to serve up drinks and smiles, but he also hangs lights, and art and supports me through everything. THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

What a blast this year was! Be sure to check out the photos from the events and if you haven't picked up a print from the show we still have a few left! Grab them here.

Until next time, always be making!

Yvonne Perez Emerson, Founder/ Creative Director

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Photos by Rowan Bradley & Yvonne

DWPDX sketchXchange with Jordan Metcalf

I believe different process’ lead to different results and so following the same process is only likely to result in similar outcomes.
— Jordan Metcalf
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By Morgan Braaten

It’s almost time for Design Week Portland 2018, and we could not be more excited to share what we have in store! WeMake will be putting on three events over the course of the week, starting with a sketchXchange at the Portland Art Museum with designer and illustrator Jordan Metcalf. The talk will be moderated by Luke Choice, otherwise known as  Velvet Spectrum, and will take place on Tuesday, April 17. Get your tickets soon, and remember that the first 100 people at the event will receive an exclusive 9”x9” print designed by Jordan exclusively for Design Week Portland. As always, all proceeds from the event benefit arts education in Portland.

WeMake had the chance to ask Jordan a few questions about his work, his inspiration and his recent move to Portland, which you can check out below.

MB: We are so happy to have you in Portland! What drew you here, and how are you liking it so far?

JM: My, now, wife and I had been talking about moving for the adventure and opportunity of living somewhere new for ages, and after visiting the US and spending some time in Portland a few years ago I felt like it was a good fit for what we were looking for. I began the long tedious process of applying for a special skills green card visa and it got final approval in early 2017. We had to come to the country to get the green cards within 6 months of approval, or we’d have to re-do medical tests and some other things, and so we decided to just take the leap and commit to the move. So far it’s been great, it’s a pretty friendly, safe and creative city with beautiful surrounds, good people and great food so we’re excited to be here.

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MB: Every designer has a unique origin story. Can you tell us a little bit about your professional journey up to this point?

JM: Without getting into too much detail, I started out doing print, web and eventually directing motion graphics, working full time at studios, but quickly getting bored and moving on. All the while I was doing illustration, experimental lettering sketches and small freelance jobs on the side. It was before social media and design blogs were a thing and was at the very early stages of the re-emergence of lettering as a design trend, so I wasn’t really aware that the stuff I was doing for fun had any purpose or value at all, it was just a release for me. Eventually I decided to go it on my own and thought it was worth putting these little lettering pieces online and completely leaving out all the commercial work I’d been doing up until that point. I think it was more lucky timing than anything else because I had put it all up on Behance when it was still a much smaller platform and the work got ‘featured’ when that still meant that everybody arriving on the site would see it, and it was at a time when a few lettering artists were gaining traction and the ‘trend’ was taking root, so I quite quickly landed a few international projects with Nike and that created a knock on effect I guess. The more experimental lettering work I got the more it became what I was known for and eventually became what people primarily saw my work as, but I’ve also done lots of other design and branding jobs over the years which I really enjoy.

MB: What is your creative process like, and how has it changed over the years?

JM: I have never really adhered to any particular process, I’m not sure if it’s because the type of work I’ve done over the course of my career varies quite a bit, or maybe it’s the reason the work varies. I believe different process’ lead to different results and so following the same process is only likely to result in similar outcomes. I definitely have a number of different process’ that I’ve developed to make specific types of work and so use each when appropriate. But it’s arbitrary to believe everything needs to start with a pencil sketch on paper or any other way. Tools change and develop all the time and I’ve always enjoyed embracing new tools and methods and figuring what they can add to the mix.

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MB: What is a project you have worked on that you found particularly memorable and why?

JM: The early Nike work I got a couple months after going freelance. It was incredibly surreal to be random kid sitting in his small apartment in Cape Town, South Africa with a company the size of Nike willing to give me money to mess around and experiment. The world feels like it’s become smaller now, and I’ve worked with many big companies and realised they’re all just comprised of normal people at the end of the day, but at the time the distance and scale of a company like that casting it’s eye on just me, however insignificant the projects probably were in the greater scheme of the Nike brand, felt like nothing I should expect to have deserved or received at any point in my career. But with that impostor syndrome also came a great confidence boost in letting me know that the things I was excited about had value and could lead to a career that I could somewhat define and make a living off.

MB: You have an incredibly diverse style, and are great at matching the personality of a piece to fit a particular brand or project. How do you set out trying to identify the best fit for any given piece?

JM: Design is a service industry and I’ve always felt that it was important that my work be adding value to the people and companies paying for it, so making work that was appropriate first and cool second has always just been part of my approach. But there isn’t a 100% foolproof way of figuring out and making work that is “right” for a job. I just try to understand the problems, and figure out what I think might work best within what I can offer. I believe that there are a myriad of appropriate solutions for most jobs, but there are also very obviously inappropriate ones. So I guess it’s trying to avoid the patently wrong solutions and trying to do something that is considered and communicates as best it can.  
 

MB: What or who do you find yourself inspired by lately?

JM: I have a broad range of inspiration, but lately it’s been a lot of the people I’ve been meeting since moving to the US. There is something inspiring about getting to know the people and companies behind the work that removes the abstraction and disposability that the internet creates. Amazing illustration, design, film, photography etc doesn’t just exist, there is always a hand and a mind guiding it and I find humanising work often makes me put in the time to really look at it and appreciate it.

MB: What are you doing when you are not working?

JM: What everyone else does I guess. Trying to live well, eat well, be good to people and not die.

MB: Why do you make?

JM: I heard this idea once that the people can be split into 2 groups, producers and consumers, and I think it’s roughly true. I’m not sure any of us get a choice which one we are, but I’m happy to be making things not just consuming them.

sXc with designer and Illustrator Jordan Metcalf 
moderated by designer and letterer Erik Marinovich

Door open at 6 pm. The talk starts at 7 pm.

WeMake Design Week Lettering Exploration

Yay! Design Week is rapidily approaching and we are bringing three amazing events to celebrate!


TUESDAY 4/17

sketchXchange with Jordan Metcalf,
moderated by Erik Marinovich

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South African (newly relocated to Portland) designer and illustrator Jordan Metcalf explains his creative process and shares the magic of his imagination during this inspiring talk. His breathtaking typography and lettering has appeared on the covers of National Geographic and Oprah Magazine and in The New York Times Magazine, plus on walls, editorial pages, packaging, book covers and apparel for Nike and Reebok. Jordan’s consistent mastery of emoting type is pushing boundaries in the design world, and this is a rare opportunity to meet and learn from Jordan himself.

We also welcome San Francisco based lettering artist and designer Erik Marinovich. Erik is also the co-founder of Friends of Type. Since 2009 he has drawn letters, logos and type for nice folks like: Nike, Target, Google, Hilton, Facebook, Sonos, Sharpie, The Criterion Collection, Air Canada, Gap, Ford Motor Company. In 2012 he co-founded Title Case, a creative work space that conducts workshops and lectures. Between client work, teaching and side-projects, you’ll find him on the road promoting Keep Fresh Stay Rad and Let’s Go Letter Hunting, two new releases from Friends of Type published by Princeton Architectural Press.

sXc with designer and illustrator Jordan Metcalf 
moderated by designer and letterer
Erik Marinovich.

Door open at 6 pm. The talk starts at 7 pm.

The first 100 people at the event will receive an exclusive 9" x 9" print designed by Jordan exclusively for DWP, and all proceeds benefit arts education in Portland.


WEDNESDAY 4/18

Lettering Workshop with Jessica Hische

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On Wednesday, April 18, lettering super star Jessica Hische (co-founder of Title Case in San Fransisco) will lead a 3-hour lettering workshop, guaranteed to inspire and leave you in awe. The class will work through a conceptual lettering project from starting idea to finished sketch, with plenty of tips, tricks, and helpful criticism along the way. If you can’t place her name, you already know her work: the USPS Love stamp, Mail Chimp’s logo and her title design for Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom. You won’t ever be the same.


THURSDAY 4/19

26— A Lettering Show

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Join 26 international, national, and local typographers and letterers as they display their exclusive 9x9 prints, created using only three colors — black, metallic gold, and WeMake orange. Each of the artist’s 40 limited-edition prints showcases a letter, word, or phrase, and will be available for purchase. Some of the letterers participating include Gemma O’Brien, Tobias Hall, Erik Marinovich, Maia Then, Nick Misani, Mary Kate McDermott, Masgrimes and Zach Yarrington. You’ll only be able to purchase these prints at this once-in-a-lifetime show, and 100% of the proceeds go towards funding arts education in Portland.

26—A Lettering Show

Participating Artists: 
Joseph Alessio, San Francisco
Craig Black, UK
Pies Brand, Portland
Thomas Bradley, Portland
Colt Bowden, McMinnville
Mark Caneso, Austin
Anna Drivis, Sweden
Martina Flor, Berlin
Tobias Hall, UK
Josh Higgins, San Francisco
Jessica Hische, San Francisco
Dani Loureiro, Portland
Shauna Lynn, Orlando
Erik Marinovich, San Francisco
Masgrimes, Portland
Mary Kate McDevitt, Philadelphia
Hope Meng, San Francisco
Jordan Metcalf, Portland
Nick Misani, New York City
Gemma O’Brien, Australia
Pascal "KKADE" Flühmann, Switzerland
Brett Stenson, Portland
Maia Then, British Columbia
Brian Patrick Todd, Louisville
Travis Wheeler, Portland
Zach Yarrington, Portland

The show is free and prints will be on sale $20 each, with 100% of the proceeds going towards arts education.

Food and drinks will be available for purchase, too.


Friday 4/20

Learn to Burn, A Woodburning Workshop with Make & Mary & Electric Lettuce

Although this is technically not a WeMake hosted event, it is happening in our headquarters at Tillamook Station. Use the discount code WeMakeMM for $10 off.  

Find out more at Make & Mary

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26—A Lettering Show

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26 international, national and local letterers participate in a curated show presented by WeMake for the 2018 Portland Design Week. 

Thursday, April 19th in our headquarters at Tillamook Station

Each artist has been asked to used only three colors - black, metallic gold and WeMake orange -  to create a letter, a word or a phrase.  40 9x9 limited-edition prints, from each participating artist will be screen printed by Seizure Palace. Prints will be available for purchase with 100% of the proceeds going towards arts education. 

The event is part of WeMake’s Lettering Exploration celebrating Design Week. More on that soon!

PARTICIPATING ARTISTS

  1. Joseph Alessio, San Francisco
  2. Craig Black, UK
  3. Pies Brand, Portland
  4. Thomas Bradley, Portland
  5. Colt Bowden, McMinnville
  6. Mark Caneso, Austin
  7. Anna Drivis, Sweden
  8. Martina Flor, Berlin
  9. Tobias Hall, UK
  10. Josh Higgins, San Francisco
  11. Jessica Hische, San Francisco
  12. Dani Loureiro, Portland
  13. Shauna Lynn, Orlando
  14. Erik Marinovich, San Francisco
  15. Masgrimes, Portland
  16. Mary Kate McDevitt, Philadelphia
  17. Hope Meng, San Francisco
  18. Jordan Metcalf, Portland
  19. Nick Misani, New York City
  20. Gemma O’Brien, Australia
  21. Kkade Schwarzmaler, Switzerland
  22. Brett Stenson, Portland
  23. Maia Then, British Columbia
  24. Brian Patrick Todd, Louisville
  25. Travis Wheeler, Portland
  26. Zach Yarrington, Portland

RECAP: Design Week Portland 2017

It's seams like forever ago that we were in full Design Week mode. We of course went a little over board again with two awesome events. Our first event was a collaboration with the Portland Art Museum. We hosted the bad ass designer and illustrator, Tuesday Bassen for a super sketchXchange, moderated by Lisa Congdon and had over 200 people in for the talk. Tuesday spoke about when she first realized she was not content on doing work in other styles for jobs she didn't care much for, and how out of her frustration she drew up a little piece that basically said, Fuck it, and then posted it to Instagram. Turns out she was on to something and her audience loved it. From there she developed a rebel style that resonated with many people, and caught the attention of fashion giant Zara who plagiarized 15 pieces of her trademarked work and created replicas of her pins and patches to sell worldwide. When Tuesday became aware of the Zara fakes, she stood up for herself and fought them. She's still in the battle, but Zara has since pulled the merchandise from their shelves.

What I respect about Tuesday is her tenacity, and her go-for-it attitude. She is a young woman that knows what she wants. From opening her own shop to developing a line of clothing. Her newest venture is creating jeans for women from a size 3-33, an undertaking that takes a lot of courage and moxie. At the age of age of 26, Tuesday is still finding out what she wants, but she's doing so with style.


Two days later we paid tribute to the pin game game community with a gallery and fundraiser called, Pin That Shit! We knew that enamel pins were a craze, but we really had no idea that we would have over 60 artists participate and 600 pins for sale. The turnout across the board, from talent to the amount of people that showed up and bought pins was awesome! After lots of rain, the clouds parted and we even had some sun!

Pin That Shit! was a sweet event of small wonders. We raised over $3500 towards arts education and awarded our neighborhood school Boise Elliot $1500 to help fund their arts and music programs. We could not have done it without the help of the community, far and wide. All of the pin designs were amazing but we awarded a few stand outs for fun.

Above photos by WeMake photographer Alyse Gilbert

  • The Best in Show Award went to Figure 8 Creative  for their collection of feminism pins. The concepts were cheeky, relevant, and fun. And they really took the time to design the packaging in an elegant way. 
  • The Punch Pin Award went to Mike Aknin of the Good Hustle Company for his hip-hop urban style that sang proud and powerful all over.
  • The Fun Flair Award went to Indonesian artists Martcellia Liunic of Liunic On Things She submitted 20 handmade pins that were mind blowing, each one a small piece of art carefully designed and showcasing an array of style.
  • The Pinography Award went to local designer Danielle McCoy for her typographic driven pin that also sent a message of unity. It was clever and spot on.
  • Lastly, The Pintastic Award went to Bill Bubenik of Westpark Creative. His pins were cute as a button with a bite. They were also displayed on beautiful letterpress cards that simple balanced each pin design.

Above Photos by Brian McDonnell

I want to also give a shout out to The Taco Peddlar for making some awesome street tacos, Design Week Portland for putting together a platform where we could participate once again, and our amazing WeMake Team for really rallying to make both events a huge success.

See more photos here and here!