Peep Show: Letterform - Design Bureau


Julie Morelli of Letterform

Andy Schwegler of Letterform


Peep Show: Letterform

Monday, May 16th, 2011

by Elizabeth Gilmore

Ladies and gents, introducing Design Bureau's newest column, Peep Show. No people, this isn't your chance to finally see illustrator Jesse Hora pose nude or to get a free lap dance from the boys at The Post Family. This is all about getting a peek on all the dirty little secrets of our favorite creatives from all over the nation. Sure, we like to know what all these artsy-fartsy folks do, but more importantly, let's get to know who they are. Every week, contributing writer Elizabeth Gilmore, from powerhouse design firm doejo, will meet up with an artist or designer, dump their bag inside out, and put their most personal items on display. As if that isn't enough, the photo shoot is followed by an intense interrogation under harsh lighting. Enjoy.

Today, we kick things off with the bubbly and talented power-couple, Julie Morelli and Andy Schwegler from Chicago studio Letterform! I left their studio smelling of hops and nature—and I had a slight Michigan accent.

For those out there that aren't familiar with what you guys do, what is Letterform?

AS: We do graphic design with a focus on smaller companies that are excited and passionate about what they do. Our work ranges from visual identity to print work to interactive web stuff.

JM: We try to incorporate our own illustration, photography, screen printing, and letterpress.

At Letterform you guys do a lot with your hands. How is it important to bring a more handmade aesthetic to your work through more traditional modes of design?

JM: It definitely brings a lot more personality and a one-of-a-kind-piece feel to the end product. Its as though its an actual fine-art work. AS: I get rigid on the computer, and getting away from that helps.

JM: Plus, working with your hands and sketching leads to new things that you wouldn't normally discover sitting in front of a computer!

OK, so if I were to walk in unannounced at any time, what would I most likely find each of you doing?

AS: I'd have no pants on.

JM: Cooking or eating.

Favorite TV shows?

JM: Top Chef, No Reservations...

Ha. Julie, you seem to love all things food-related. Do you watch America's Next Best Restaurant?

JM: Oh yeah, but then I watched the episode where they brought in graphic designers to design their restaurant logos. After I saw how horrible the logos were, I couldn't watch it anymore.

Didot. It's got some nice thick to thin, some nice curves. It's elegant, sexy, and classic...I'm just sayin'.

What are you looking forward to this summer?

AS: Road trip. We are going out west and taking a northern route up to Seattle and then to an Alaskan cruise. We'll leave from Seattle and go to a few cities.

Wow, that is quite the epic road trip! How long is this all going to take?

AS: Well, we don't know... 3 or 4 weeks?

Thats amazing. I guess that's what you can do with you own company, right?

JM: But this is also why we can't have employees, ha.

If you were to date a typeface, which one would it be and why?

AS: Didot. It's got some nice thick to thin, some nice curves. It's elegant, sexy, and classic. Yep, thats what I got...I'm just sayin'.

What was the first concert you ever went to?

AS: New Kids On The Block, Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit, with my brother.

JM: Dave Matthews...sorry.

Whats the best thing you've found on your travels?

JM: I love all of the pinecones we have. Everywhere we go, we have somehow found evergreen trees. I like to find any nature items because I love hunting for them.

AS: There is this little plastic T-Rex that is my favorite. We took a southern road trip and camped everywhere. Because of our travel patterns, we'd always arrive there at midnight, sleep, and then wake up at six in the morning to leave. We finally got to this state park on the coast of South Carolina that was very Jurassic Park. It took a long time to get to it, so we took a one-lane road and got there at midnight. As we pull up to this empty campsite, our headlights flash on the picnic table. All that is sitting there is a little toy Tyrannosaurus Rex! He became our mascot!

JM: It was like he was welcoming us to this Jurassic Park campsite!

Well, thanks all. I feel like I've been to the Rocky Mountains and back after that interview! These guys are fantastic, and if you ever have questions about homemade brew or hunting for morel mushrooms, these are your folks. Check out more of their work at Letterform and Nourishing Notes.

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