“The world is but a canvas to the imagination.”
— Henry David Thoreau
Today’s creative interview features Courtney Shelton, founder of HIBRID. I first discovered Courtney’s work when I was in California this summer. I walked by a wall with stunning lettering outside the We Are Five Points storefront in Venice. Being a complete lettering dork, I was smitten. Later on through sheer serendipity we connected on Instagram, and I saw more of Courtney’s incredible work. I’m so excited to introduce you all to her today!
Courtney is currently an Art Director at an Ad Agency in Kansas City, MO, which is also where she grew up. She attended Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), earning a B.F.A. in Interior Design and an M.A. in Graphic Design. There she was also a four year volleyball scholarship athlete (which she misses terribly!).
What is Hibrid?
In January 2014 I started my own brand/blog. I wanted to concept one single word that communicated who and what I am, which is a mix of multiple areas of interests and I want to be able to share and express all of those freely. With that being said, HIBRID is a brand and design space with a passion for a variety of design fields including Handlettering, Fashion, Interior Design, Illustration, DIY projects and more. “HIBRID” also relates to my lettering style. Although I can do many styles, mine isn’t just calligraphy, or just brushlettering . Its a combination of lettering elements from both of those styles. As you’ll see quite frequently, Hand Lettering is a topic I post about quite frequently. Being able to incorporate hand lettering and bright patterns into my creative projects, having creative freedom, and inspiring other designers is my main goal at heart.
How did you become interested in lettering and design?
I have always been creative since I was very young. It started with elaborate drawings in elementary school which my mom loved, so I have her to thank for really supporting my artistic growth at a young age. She even has binders and books full of them saved and laminated for preservation!
As I got older it continued. I was always in art classes at school and drew and created in my free time when I wasn’t playing sports or at school. I remember this one specific day. I was about 13 or 14 I think. I was in my room making something and was searching through buckets and bins for some sort of material or tool. And then there was this moment where I stopped and sat there for a second. Why was I always making something, thinking of something, searching for something? Why was I always creating? That’s when I really realized something big about myself and my creativity. Although, I didn’t really put these two together until a few years ago. It truly is fascinating to look back at your developing years and notice things about yourself.
When it comes to lettering, I remember always drawing elaborate lettered titles on the top of notebook paper while taking notes in class. I loved making signs and posters for school projects and my sports team’s games, cards for literally any occasion, decor for my room, etc. Once I went to off to college this skill kind of left me for awhile sadly. I was studying Interior Design where you are taught Architectural Drafting (handwriting in all caps). So once I graduated college I didn’t even know how to write in lower case letters or cursive anymore. All of it had all left me, which made me very sad. So at the end of 2011 was when I really started studying and practicing lettering more seriously. I did it everyday. It was, and still is a huge stress reliever for me. Sitting down and drawing the letters and figuring out how they fit together in a composition from start to finish is a beautiful thing to me.
This is also when I first got an Instagram account and found out that hand lettering was actually a “thing.” And from there I’ve just kept going and going and here I am!
Where do you derive inspiration for your work?
I obtain inspiration from literally every single thing in my life, every single second. I am a highly visual person, (sometimes more than the average creative I feel like) so the spaces and environments I’m in are what effect me the most. This is why I love interior design so much. How I design my space directly effects my productivity, attitude, and my well being. On a more specific note, I get a lot of inspiration from traveling to new places, reading new books, and discovering new designers. I also use more conventional forms to get inspiration as well: Pinterest, Design blogs, Instagram, Designspiration, Books, Magazines etc.
Can you tell me about some of your favorite projects?
I recently spent the last 5-6 months designing my own collection with a brand called 5 Points. This was an amazing experience for me! Not many designers get to say that they have had their own collection, so I feel very fortunate to have gotten the opportunity to have that and collaborate with such a great brand that supported my work 100%.
I was also published in this year’s Typism Book which was something I was very excited about. Anyone is allowed to submit their design(s) to Typism, and from there they select only 193 designers to showcase in the book. Accompanying the book every year, a Type Conference is also held with guest speakers holding typographic recognition.
Another project I was a part of this year was May Designs first Gold Foil Notebook Collection. I accompanied three other lettering designers: Julie Song, Ali Nelson, and Jill De Haan. This was really fun for me to be involved in a design collection with other letterers and something I’ve never gotten to do before so that was very rewarding as well!
What is your ideal Saturday?
I have a full time job outside of HIBRID, so a lot of the work for it has to be done in my spare time. But I love to start Saturdays by sleeping in, followed by coffee, and then whatever else I’m feeling up for that day. Working out, blogging, lettering, seeing family/friends, etc. It definitely depends on the previous week I’ve had!