Today I am interviewing one very talented individual–Debi Sementelli, calligrapher, lettering artist and font designer for the launch of her new font Dom Loves Mary (it’s a font family, so think series!) It should be available any day now. If you like a great love story, a good cry and finding a new beautiful font read on. This is part I of a two part interview, part II Debi will divulge some of her lettering ‘secrets’, favorite supplies and will give us lettering novices some sage advice.
Can you tell us when you launched your first font and the names of all the fonts you have to date?
My first calligraphy font, Belluccia
, was launched on myfonts.com
last June. To my delight, it made the “Hot New Fonts” list, “Rising Stars” list, “Best Sellers” list (where it remained for 14 months!) and finally the “Most Popular Fonts of 2011” list ! “DomLovesMary” will be my second hand lettered font. It will be launched sometime late next week ( fingers crossed:) and will be available here.
How did you get started in font design?
It was very serendipitous. I work with brides all the time and I have two sons who are at the “marrying” age so I’ve helped some of lots of their friends who are are getting married as well.
I noticed that, often, while they love the look of calligraphy, some brides just don’t have it in their budget to do all of the things they’d like with it. That planted the first seed. I thought if I could create a calligraphy font I could give them the beautiful look they wanted at a price they could afford.
But I had no idea how to make a font. So I started researching. Then I noticed two “Creative Character” interviews in the Myfonts.com
newsletter. One was with Stuart Sandler who works with the calligrapher Crystal Kluge. The other was with Laura Worthington, a calligrapher and graphic designer who became a font designer. I sent e-mails to both Stuart and Laura to ask them for any advice they could give me or resources they could point me towards. They both, simultaneously, gave me the name of another font designer, Brian Bonislawsky , each not knowing that the other person had also recommended Brian. I e-mailed him and when he responded he told me he’d seen my work online and was planning on contacting me about partnering up. Serendipity! So we created “Correspondence Ink Font Foundry” and launched Belluccia last June. And will launch “DomLovesMary” next week! It’s been a good partnership. I create the design and do all of the original hand lettering. I scan them in and clean them up in Photoshop. Then I send them to Brian and he digitizes the letters in FontLab. He sends me the result. Then I make any needed changes and send them back to him for more tweaking. That’s where we are right now. Doing some final tweaking and getting all the graphics ready for the launch date. Once we submit it to Myfonts.com
it takes from 3- 6 days for them to get it up on the site. So that’s why it can be hard to pinpoint an exact launch date. But as soon as I know, you’ll know!
Have you seen your fonts in action for a project you loved?
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve seen Belluccia used and am just thrilled with the design. That’s one of the best parts of creating a font. You get to see all the different ways people use it. I’m constantly amazed at the creativity and great design talent that is out there.
Here’s a few links to just some of the ways it’s been used:
Your newest font has some special inspiration, can you please give us a little more detail?
Well it’s a very sweet story and I would be happy to share it. The font is named after an actual couple named Dominic and Mary Sementelli. They were my in-laws and sadly they are both gone now. I wanted to honor them and thank them for being such a blessing in my life. In addition to being great grandparents to my two sons, they treated me like the daughter they never had and were always so supportive of my calligraphy work.
When I married my husband (another sweet story for another font:) Dom and Mary instantly welcomed me into their close Italian family. I’m Italian too, so it was an easy fit:) The more I got to know them, the more I saw what a perfect fit they were for each other. She was feisty, loved to dance and sing and be the life of the party. He was cool, calm and collected. Nothing frazzled him. She cooked and he cleaned up. He took care of the car and the garden and she took care of the house. They did a lot of things together but still had their own interests. They balanced each other out in a really great way. They were truly “made for each other”.
Dom passed away in 1995 and left a huge hole in our lives. Seeing Mary without Dom was heartbreaking. But she was a strong woman and she carried on. Fifteen years later, in 2009 when she only had 6 more months to live, my husband and I spent a month with her, moving her from her apartment into assisted living. To ease her transition and brighten her spirits I brought the collection of photos from her life to the home and spent hours going through them with her. She was so animated telling me about all the people and events. We laughed and cried together. It was such a special time for both of us. She was realizing how blessed she was to have had such a good life and to have found the love of her life. She’d had “Una bella vita!” ( a beautiful life! ) and was so grateful for all of it.
When I began working on this font, I was going through some of the boxes that had some of her things that we kept. I found their wedding album and started looking through it. I saw them with that beautiful look on their faces as they got ready to start their life together as man and wife. It’s a look you see on most brides and grooms. Excitement, joy and anticipation of having “una bella vita”.
I decided at that moment that I was going to create a font with them in mind represented by two different lettering styles that were literally “made for each other”. It’s my way of honoring them and sharing their beautiful life with all the couples that are just starting theirs.
TO BE CONTINUED….
If you want more Dom & Mary visit here for photos of the couple, so sweet!