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Finding Your Inner Compass | Newsletter

Recently, Dominique Falla asked me to be part of Typism’s new podcast series, and talk about the concept of inner compass. After the recording was done, I realised that the notes I prepared for our interview could be valuable for many designers in the visual communication field, and not only for the ones interested in lettering. Below are my notes for anyone who’d find that useful.

What exactly is an inner compass?

For me, an inner compass is a set of principles to guide you through life and work, and to help you understand what things work and what things don’t work for you.

It is a set of tools to help you answer yes or no, in life and in your creative practice. And I say life and work, because for me life is work, and work is life, and I find it very difficult to separate them because they constantly feed from each other.

These set of tools are the answer to some of the following questions:

  • What are your core principles?
  • Do you have clear values?
  • What works for you?
  • What things you don’t want to do?
  • Where do you want to go?


What does an inner compass look like, how does it show up?

An internal compass does not show up; it is a constant and ongoing self-reflective practice, combined with mapping, planning, analysing and re-evaluating what works for you. And this is constantly evolving overtime depending on your priorities and projects.

Continue reading here.

I would loooooove to hear from you!

Here in Melbourne retail shops just re-opened after a long 4-month lockdown period. The temperatures are getting warmer and we have sunny days ahead of us.

Sending you much love,
Maria xx


Live Online Copperplate Calligraphy Weekend

This is a 2-session online class in Copperplate calligraphy for beginners and intermediate students.

Saturday 14 November
Copperplate Minuscules a – z
From 10am to 2pm, GMT+10

Saturday 21 November
Copperplate Capitals A – Z
From 10am to 2pm, GMT+10

Here is a video you can watch to get an idea of my style and the materials we will cover during the weekend.

Cost: $240 AUD for both sessions.
Book your spot here.


Expressions of Interest: Blackletter

I’m considering a 4-day introduction to Blackletter live online course. Reply YES to this email if this is something you would be interested in.


Improve Your Cursive Handwriting Skills

Who are these private classes for?

— Professionals who need to improve their handwriting skills as it is mandatory at their workplace;
— Professional designers refining their writing skills;
— Design students looking to expand their skill set;
— Children with hand-motor skills challenges;
— Parents wanting to learn a creative skill with their children;

Learn more here.


Low-res Lifestyle | Skateboard Deck Design

On July 4th, my partner and I celebrated our 12th anniversary together.

Last year, he decided to go on a 9-month-sabbatical trip to nurture himself and recover from a professional burn-out. I know the great benefits of taking time off —as I had a sabbatical back in 2009, and I remember vividly every moment of it— so I encouraged him to do it. Was it easy for our relationship? Not at all.

Illustrated on the green deck are both of us living physically apart for most of 2019, and experiencing each other through a phone screen.

Illustrated on the wood deck is our COVID-19 relationship, which has turned into the complete opposite: Living together twenty-four-seven, literally on top of each other, and experiencing the world mostly in low res nowadays.

A few months ago, I watched Esther Perel talking about long-term relationships during COVID-19 times, and classifying them in two main categories: “Every couple is either going to see the cracks in their relationship, or they are going to see the light that shines through the cracks”.

After nearly five months in lockdown with my partner, I can only see the light through the cracks, and feeling grateful for having him by my side.


RIP Ed Benguiat

“I don’t think that anything I have ever done is something that I have ever been really satisfied with!” by Ed Benguiat.

This 90-minute “Conversation with Ed Benguiat and Kris Holmes” gives us a good idea of the great legacy Mr Benguiat has left us behind. You can read more him in this New York Times article.

Much love from this once “eye-deaf” designer. xx


RIP Alice Koeth

This is a living and breathing tribute page to honor a legendary calligrapher and one of NYC’s very own. Please check back as we fill it with memories, photos and words about the wonderful woman that was Alice.


Adobe Max 2020 Highlights

During the weekend, I caught up with a few Adobe Max presentations and these are a few that really moved me:

Prop Design for the Real World” very personal talk by Annie Atkins;
Roxane Gay in Conversation with Debbie Millman“;
Holding Your Life (and Business) Together” with Adam J. Kurtz, Tuesday Bassen and Loveis Wise.
Lettering Masterclass” by Martina Flor.

Plus, incredible inspired by Alex Trochut, someone I have always looked up to.


Typographics 2020 Highlights

The last few days I have been catching up with Typographics 2020, and here are some of my highlights:”Whispers from the Andes” with Vanessa Zúñiga
To All the Fonts I’ve Loved Before” with Eric Hu
Resistance Made Visible” with Silas Munro


TypeWknd 2020 Highlights

I’m planning to spend the next few days catching up on more presentations from the brand-new, online-only type conference TypeWknd which went live from September 24 to 27, 2020. Here are a couple of presentations I have really enjoyed so far:

Now where are OUR role models?” by Helene Krieger (03:59:07)
Wood Type is Good Type” by Wayne Thompson (08:44:24)


The 2020 State of Black Design

The State of Black Design is a two-hour virtual discussion, hosted by Texas State University’s Communication Design program. This event will feature prominent Black Design Practitioners and Academics. This open conversation will be segmented into four focused panels, Industry, Pedagogy, Black Design Organizations, and Design Activism.


Dr. Dori Tunstall on Respectful Design: Models for Diversity, Inclusion, & Decolonization

As outlined in our Racial Justice Commitments, we recently embarked on an iterative journey to debias Mozilla’s user research and design processes. As part of that process, we have invited Dr. Elizabeth (Dori) Tunstall to share and discuss with us her approaches to decolonize design and institutions – and how Respectful Design plays a lead role in that.


Happy Birthday Alphabettes!

Last month of September, we celebrated five years of Alphabettes.

“Five YEARS?! While the past six months feels like 20 years, it can’t be possible that we’ve been cultivating this tiny plot of the internet for that long, can it? And yet, here we are”. Read the blog post by Amy Papaelias.