Jen Mussari


Interview with The Start Podcast

Jen Mussari
Look at me lookin' all pensive. Thinking thoughts. Or probably just staring at nothing.

Look at me lookin' all pensive. Thinking thoughts. Or probably just staring at nothing.

Cookie-baking buddy and neighborhood pal Patrick B Johnson graciously invited me to an interview on his podcast, The Start. I've been trying to get better at communicating my thoughts and ideas verbally lately, so while I am still a little nervous about interviews in general, I was excited to chat with my friend for this episode. Listen in here!

The Start is all about how people got to where they are now. I love this podcast because often the interviews are very much about personal lives and stories rather than business. I got to take this opportunity to share a little bit about how my upbringing, art school, and my crummy retail job helped to shape my current situation as a freelancer. Also, hear my weird mumbly Philadelphian accent and my Hank Hill impression! Not my best. I save that for parties. I talk through what is was like to be a weird art kid surrounded by football players in high school, and how I came to realize that there is a place in the professional art/design world for me. You'll also hear a bit about my first freelance gig, having a part time job, and generally being in this weird new generation of hand lettering artists and illustrators.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and feelings on Twitter, if you have any insights or reactions while listening! 

Threadless Artist Shops

Jen Mussari

Fun collaboration announcement! I'm a featured artist on Threadless, the super-cool tee shirt company's, "Artist Shops" page! This is a new chapter for the Threadless website and I am hugely honored that Jake Nickell asked me to be a part of this. I have loved Threadless since I was in high school, and it feels quite a bit like a teenage dream to have made some work for and with them. The newly released Artist Shops are fully-customizable personal pages that allow sellers to present their tee shirts, device cases, wall art, etc, to the world without being attached to the Threadless brand. Behind the scenes, however, Threadless will take care of everything for the artists: manufacturing, shipping, and commerce. This collaboration was a no-brainer for me, as I have been looking for more accessible ways to get my work out into the world.

My Artist Shops page features some brand new tee shirt designs, including Cats Rule Everything Around Me (art directed by the lovely and charming Kilian McMahon), Skull Guy, and (my personal favorite) Slice of Life.

Jake then asked me to collaborate directly with him to create a logo for the new feature. We had a great creative process with lots of diverse sketches, and ended up with the textured, lively word mark you can see on the Artist Shops page

I had a great time working with Threadless on this and I hope that you enjoy it, too! Get yourself a wacky tee shirt or grab a domain name and get started, yourself. Excited to see what you do!

Enormous Tiny Art Show

Jen Mussari

The Enormous Tiny Art Show opens tonight at the Nahcotta gallery in New Hampshire and for the first time ever I have artwork on display there! I have been a fan of the "ETA" for years now and am so honored that I was asked to participate. Each artist involved creates a series of small original artworks that are smaller than 10." At the opening, each piece is put up for sale to the public. There are so many amazing artists involved in this show that I really respect, so be sure to check out the works of Yelena Bryksenkova, Kate Bingaman-Burt, and Becca Stadtlander to start!

You can jump the gun and purchase pieces online. Since the art is so small, the prices are also small. If you would like to see or possibly purchase the pieces that I have for sale, get over to this site asap! They are priced to sell, so I am hopeful that they will.

The series that I created are tiny studies of leather jackets in sumi ink on rag paper mounted to wood panel. I've been completely obsessed with leather jackets in every way and I hope that it shows in the look and feel of these miniature pieces. 

New Cotton Bureau Tee! Ride like Lightning!

Jen Mussari

In the next chapter of my neverending love for Cotton Bureau comes this personal piece that I drew based off of the foreboding quote from Place Beyond the Pines. I love this drawing and am really excited to see it make its way to the Cotton Bureau page!

As with all Cotton Bureau tees, this shirt will not exist if it doesn't sell a certain number of preorders. Because of this, the shirt is only available for a limited time, so NO DILLYDALLYING! Get it while you can by clicking here!

I am in love with this red hot tee shirt version below, and the coral sweatshirt matches the original poster perfectly. Anyone who has bought my previous CB tee knows that their quality is high and above all other limited run custom tee printers. Not only are the shirts crazy-soft, but the prints are impeccable.

So what do you think? Can we get this guy printed up and out? Help me get the word out by posting it on Twitter, Tumblr, or what have you!

Oh, you mean Lettering...

Jen Mussari
Typography?! Oh, uh, excuse me I think you mean Lettering...

Typography?! Oh, uh, excuse me I think you mean Lettering...

I made a stupid meme-thing because I have about had it up to here with all the dingbats on the Internet who use the word "Typography" interchangeably with "Lettering." I mean, we're designers so let's get the words right! Words are super important to our profession, right? Guys?

Okay, c'mon, though, let's be real. I almost never correct people to this common mishap in real life. If a client who works in music, for instance, tells me that he loves the fonts I use, I say "Thank you, I'm so glad you like my lettering." Now, if he asks to buy those fonts so he can use them, however, we're going to have a brief info session.

Lettering is not typography. Typography is not lettering. They are related, yes, but different in crucial ways. Internet pal Joseph Alessio did a ton more work than I am willing to do in this essay, Understanding the Difference Between Type and Lettering and so did Stephen Coles in this essay, Lettering is Not Type if you wanted to read some actual, worthwhile information on this issue that so irrationally enrages me. Most people do not need to know this. But if you call yourself a designer, art director, or creative director; if you work in publishing or even fancy yourself a lettering artist, you should probably know what these words actually mean.

I hate analogies because mine are always bad (literally always, every time), but here we go's like paying for an expensive sweater from a designer store, or paying for someone to hand-knit you an expensive sweater. They might cost the same, and heck there's a chance they might even look the same. But the process is crucial. (I told you my analogies are bad. But I swear I know this one chick who basically only wears handmade sweaters. That's pretty much me but instead of handmade sweaters it's handmade lettering...I guess.)

Free fonts are like the nasty sweater made out of who-knows-what in who-knows-what-country that you get from Forever21 which gets holes all in it if you dare to put it in the washing machine. Let's not even go there.

But basically: Lettering = illustrations of letters. Typography = systems of letters.

So don't be a dingus; use the right words! And feel free to send this condescending little gentleman out into the world if you, too, see fit.