Meet Cina Catteau, American illustrator and typographer from Anugraha Design Studio! After living a few years in Pokhara, Nepal, she is currently working from a small town outside of Dallas, Texas.
Cina is a very versatile designer, who has experience in developing branding, package design, and web design. But her two greatest passions are the creation of patterns and typography.
Cina’s fonts are free-spirited, colorful, and playful. Her attention to detail is revealed in these creations, where simple shapes are transformed into elaborate typographies.
Her creations are especially amazing for typographic composition and posters, and for all those projects that require a typography with a strong character.
In this interview, she tells us everything there is to know about her current work as a typographer and Granshan 1st Prize 2019 in Arabic and Latin Category.
How did you decide to become a professional designer? And how long have you been doing this?
I’ve always liked drawing, but I first became interested in graphic design when working for my high school newspaper in high school! We had opportunities to do some creative layouts and visual stories that really got me interested in design, and so I decided to major in graphic design in college. My newspaper days were about 12 years ago, and I’ve been out of college and working professionally for 6 years.
How would you define yourself at work?
A freelance graphic designer with a passion for creative patterns and fonts.
What is your dream project?
Illustrating some kind of interactive book for kids.
What are your professional goals?
Continuing to create useful fonts and patterns, and finding clients who I can work with creating beautiful brands and products that make the world a better and more beautiful place.
ROAM is a geometric typography perfect for branding, flyer, poster, and print design.
What were the skills that have been most useful to you in your career?
Creative thinking is essential. If you feel like you’re lacking in creative thinking, there’s tons of creative exercises out there that you can do to strengthen your skill!
What inspires you or motivates you to create?
It feels good to create something out of your own head, which no one has created before! I’m inspired by bright colors, shapes, nature, and travelling to new places.
Tons! Lately I’ve been drooling over the digital collages of Tom Abbiss Smith.
Not related to graphic design, but The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer is my all-time favorite book. Deep thoughts that help keep perspective in life.
I spent several years in Pokhara, Nepal, a beautiful city that will always have a special place in my heart.
A happy memory:
Working on design projects in coffee shops in Pokhara were some of my happiest, most creative times.
So you lived in Pokhara, where you founded Anugraha Studio. How did being immersed in a culture so different from the American influenced your professional work?
I hope it gave me ideas that are different than I would have had otherwise. It’s a really vibrant culture full of color and pattern, so that can definitely be seen in my work!
Wood Type Font Collection is a pack of 5 font families with a unique aesthetic reminiscent of eclectic 1900s wood type printing.
What techniques or tools do you use in your work?
Pencil/pen/marker/paint and paper is usually where it starts. From there, I use Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop and my wacom tablet if I’m drawing.
I’ve seen you also recently started to use the Fontself Maker Photoshop plugin. Which features do you like the most?
Yes, I’ve used the Fontself Plugin for both Photoshop and Illustrator. I like that I can work with software that’s already familiar to me, and create fonts directly from it. The color fonts that you can make with it are especially exciting. It was great to be able to start doing that, it opened up a whole new possibility for my work!
Have you had the experience of working cross-functionally with developers, copywriters, project managers, etc.? How was it?
Working with other people is essential, it broadens your perspective, opening you up to new possibilities and new opinions. That can be tough sometimes, but in the end leads to a much better end product.
How important is typography in graphic and web design?
Incredibly important! It makes the words readable and digestible: can you imagine if a web page had the same font and font size throughout? It also can set the whole tone for a project and be beautiful in its own way.
Speaking of tone, your fonts have a very strong character! Why do you choose to work on this type of illustrated typography?
I wanted to create fonts that were really different from standard fonts that you get. I wanted every letter to be its own work of art and for that font to be able to be the showpiece of any project.
Memphis is a color OTF font with 4 different styles: Regular, Dark (for use on dark backgrounds), Solid (no patterns), and Dark Solid (no patterns, for use on dark backgrounds).
How do you determine which typeface is right for a client’s project?
Thinking about the target audience and the form that it will be seen in (print, web, video, etc). Then, trying out several different fonts to figure out which one fits the bill exactly.
What are the fonts that come to your mind when you hear each word?
Elegant: I’m really enjoying modernline right now
Modern: Proxima Nova is a go-to, so clean and so many weights and styles to work with.
Bold: Obviously is a fun one, it has a ton of weights that you can mix and match to create a really bold look.
Casual: Howli is a super fun one that I’ve been enjoying!
It is very common for fonts to be sold on pirate sites. Have you ever found that someone has used your work without your proper permission?
All creative digital work is in danger of being copied or unlawfully distributed. Contacting the person in a civil manner should always be the first step, I think, and thankfully I haven’t had to go beyond that.
Do you give importance to what others think of your work? How do you take feedback?
Of course! And sometimes I have worked hard on a project, but the client wasn’t crazy about it, which can be disappointing. However, taking other people’s opinions and wisdom into account is part of the creative process!
Two Sisters is a bouncy and playful script, perfect for feminine brands, wedding invitations, and posters or products with a hand-lettered feel.
In which projects or brands has your typographic work been used?
Creating fonts and patterns like I do, sometimes people purchase your work and you don’t really know where it goes! But some of my favorite projects I’ve been working on branding and packaging for products like bath bombs, and candles, and working with a kids’ furniture company on their branding.
Have you heard of MasterBundles before? Do you think it is a good way to start selling your work?
I had not heard of them before being contacted for the interview, but I’m always excited about getting good deals on design assets and finding new marketplaces in which to sell my work.
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