Jessica Hische is a lettering artist, illustrator, author, and self-described “avid internetter” who needs no introduction. She has become as well known for her side projects as she has for her client work and some of her clients include Wes Anderson, The United States Postal Service, Tiffany & Co.,and Starbucks. She shares openly what it's been like going back to work after having her first baby, managing personal and client expectations, and what she loves most about her work. It was an absolute pleasure talking with Jessica and her interview is filled with insight and inspiration. Enjoy!
I know you have a million different projects on the go at any given time. What's keeping you busy at the moment, what are you working on right now?
It’s a little complicated at the moment. I was working on a campaign for the Oscars which ended up getting killed. They were looking for a really loose style and the work I was turning over was just too tight for them. The creative director and I got along like gangbusters though, so it was a lot of fun to work on, but ended up killing my calendar for a month.
Right now, I’m working on an ad campaign for a hospital. It involves me doing watercolor paintings-that’s really out of my comfort zone which I’m psyched about! I’ve been feeling inspired to take on more challenging work. Pushing myself to do more interesting, and weird stuff since I’ve been back to work. I’m a parent now, but I’m not a brand new parent anymore, so getting back into the workflow and trying new types of work has been fun.
I'm also working on a couple of logo projects that are finishing up. I try to only take one logo project on at a time. I want to devote as much as I can to the client when it comes to a logo and their branding because it’s an emotional process for everyone. I just did a poster and catalog cover for a show here in San Francisco at the Letterform Archive. I've been trying to do flocking on them and finding printers that do flocking still was harder than I thought it was going to be. It's like a psychedelic poster that's going to have pink flocking on it, that fuzzy texture.
On top of that we just bought a house, so I moved last month!
Do you plan how many projects you take on around different things that you know are going to be going on? For example, speaking engagements, moving etc.
For sure. When I have a lot of stuff going on, it's difficult to keep my schedule as busy as I would like it to be. I'm one of those people who is most productive when I have a little too much to do. If there's any holes in my schedule, I will fill them with leisure [laughs]. I will find a way to have a two-hour lunch with a friend.
Speaking and travel is the hardest because I have to warn my current clients that I'll be unavailable for a certain amount of time. I've tried working while traveling and it's just miserable. You just can't really be in some hotel on the other side of the world doing work when there are tertiary events to go to. A lot of the reason conference organizers invite you is so you'll actually interact with all the people that are there. It's one of the reasons why I love speaking at events as well.
It's fun to go on stage and talk about yourself, but it's more fun to meet new people and students all over the world. It's really enjoyable and inspiring for me. So if I go somewhere and all I do is go on stage, come off stage and then sit in my hotel room to finish up a project, it's not really worth it.
When I'm planning around speaking engagements, I end up having to do quite a bit of buffering. I’ll tell a client that I won't be available that week, so we need to finish the project up the week before. It's just about managing expectations with clients and being really honest if I’m not available. There are a lot of people that try to ignore whatever they have going on personally, but I think it's important to talk about the realities in your life when it comes to scheduling things. It's a normal part of life.