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Spreading Joy and Provoking Thought: Letterer Rosa Kammermeier

By Jenny Carless

Rosa Kammermeier

During her Adobe Creative Residency, Rosa Kammermeier will be hand-lettering slogans on shop windows and creating city maps to guide residents and visitors on a “Walk of Happiness”—artistic and thought-provoking tours of European cities.

Kammermeier comes by her artistic side naturally: Her grandfather Hein Driessen is a painter.

“I first took up creative pursuits as a child. Our grandfather used to send my brothers and me lots of pencils, brushes, books, and other supplies,” Kammermeier says. “He has always been a big source of inspiration—living a creative life in his own way and spreading happiness. So it was always clear to me that I wanted to learn a creative profession.”

Recent lettering work by Rosa Kammermeier.

As a girl, Kammermeier wanted to become a fashion designer, so she bought herself a sewing machine and took sewing lessons at the age of 12.

“But I ended up focusing much more on the design of my fashion catalogs and my ‘corporate design’ rather than on the fashion itself,” she explains. “That’s when I decided to become a graphic designer.”

FORM, STYLE, AND MESSAGE

Kammermeier began to explore graphic design during her studies in communication design at the University of Applied Sciences in Augsburg, Germany.

“I learned a lot about typography and calligraphy; it aroused my interest in lettering,” she says. “In a fourth-semester calligraphy class, I made my first hand letterings and had fun spending hours and hours moving path points in Adobe Illustrator.”

See more illustration and branding work done for the Modular Festival, on Kammermeier’s Behance page.

After her studies, Kammermeier worked for several design agencies (KW NEUN, Herburg Weiland, and Helmut Morrison), but because she couldn’t focus on hand lettering in those positions, she decided to go into business for herself. Since then, she’s deepened her interests in hand lettering.

“I love that the lettering community—on Instagram, for instance—is really growing and that there is an increasing awareness of good lettering,” she says. “You can get so much new inspiration just by searching for #lettering.”

Kammermeier’s style is clean and reduced. “Form quality is very important to me, as is a clear style and message,” she says.

She finds playing with the language of hand lettering very satisfying.

“Letters can express so many feelings; it’s amazing. You have infinite possibilities—many more ways of expression than with regular fonts. You can direct the visual language on your own,” she says. “But it’s important for me to combine the hand lettering with my graphic design to create an entire visual language.”

Kammermeier created this logo for a beverage company; she designed it to be reminiscent of a drop of liquid—here you can see the sketch, the final designs in black and white, and the logo in place.  

THE WALK OF HAPPINESS

The idea for her Adobe Creative Residency project evolved after Kammermeier saw the reaction on social media to her first hand-lettered slogan on a shop window, in Munich.

“It said, ‘Hate has no home here,’ referring to controversial comments made by American president Donald Trump and events in the United States,” says Kammermeier. “I posted it on Tumblr, and it received amazing feedback—more than a thousand shares and likes. So I decided to develop that project into something bigger.”

Kammermeier created this sign for a shop window in Munich.  

The Walk of Happiness will include hand-lettered messages of peace, love, happiness, and friendship posted on shop windows around a city. The slogans will reference political and social events and ideas—about feminism, genderism, refugees, and racism, for example.

“The idea is to present positive, funny sayings and food for thought, to stop people in their daily, consumer-oriented lives,” Kammermeier says. “The slogans will work together and cohere—an observer will want to see them all.”

That leads to the next aspect of the project: a map showing all locations of the hand-lettered slogans.

“A city map on display in the participating shops will help people link the different shop windows, find the hand lettering, and understand my messages,” Kammermeier explains.

She’ll begin her project in Munich, where she now lives. After getting feedback on the initial walk, she plans to expand to other cities, such as Berlin, Cologne, and Hamburg.

BEYOND THE WALK

In addition to sharing her political and social messages, Kammermeier wants to share her skills—to get people excited about typography and lettering.

Kammermeier designed this  small calendar for her clients, friends, and family—the calendar sheets can be detached and used as postcards.

To that end, she plans to create short video tutorials on how to use different pencils and writing tools; downloadable “exercise lettering sheets” to help people practice strokes, forms, and single letters; tutorials on how to use an iPad and Adobe Sketch; and documentation of her design process.

She also has ideas on how to expand her artistic work beyond the Walk of Happiness. For example, music is an important source of inspiration to her—she plays bass in the band Blue Haze and is DJing in her spare time—so it may play some role in the project.

She is considering a number of “extras,” as well—projects she’s considering include collages (created from images and ephemera from the city she visits), “mini-zines” (A5-size zines that combine collages and lettering), and a new website.

“These will help keep me active and push myself to create as much as I can during this amazing year,” she says.

DON’T FENCE ME IN!

She has no plans to tie herself down with inflexible career plans.

“My goal is simply to do what comes to mind and not give my ideas boundaries in advance,” she says. “I don’t want to reduce my future to a certain field—creativity comes to me in many ways. I don’t see the point in defining rigid career goals, because life always turns out differently than you imagine.”

She finds it interesting that despite being involved in this particular artistic pursuit for quite a while, she still feels like a “newbie.”

“I never want to stop learning, and I’m very excited about how much I’ll be able to learn in this residency,” she says. “I want to improve my craft, evolve my style, get a lot of feedback and critique and evolve again, meet interesting people, and create a ton of lettering!”

The Adobe Creative Residency empowers talented individuals to spend a year focusing on a passion project, while sharing their experiences and processes with the creative community.