Typography and food — one quick glance on Instagram and you’ll know that these are the two things that people love to post the most. Millions of photographs are tagged worldwide under these categories, and it seems like there’s no stopping on the growing number of images that we see on our feeds that feature everything artsy and beautiful about typography and food. But despite the rather saturated internet, we found one artist that stands out from what we usually see online: Becca Clason, an artist who uses food and various elements to create illustrative designs and interesting sets of typography masterpieces.
Based in Northern Utah, Becca is a lettering artist and stop-motion animator. She creates works for brands and does her own prop styling, photography, editing, and post production. She works from her home studio at a cabin in the mountains, where she and her husband lives.
As a kid, Becca has always loved drawing and painting. She took art classes and loved creative projects in general, and has been drawn to explore various medium with her friends — from scrap booking, photography, and even creating handmade valentine cards.
However, when she entered college at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, she decided that she wasn’t going to major in art. Back then, she was still unaware of that graphic design was a profession, so she decided to become an advertising communications major. Fortunately, the course required a minor in graphic design, which ultimately led her to discovering what graphic design really was.
She started her career in New York City, working for an advertising agency, but later on realized that what she wanted to focus on was graphic design and typography. After switching jobs, she started to learn about hand-lettering and quickly fell in love with the craft. “[I] knew it’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I started practicing on the side whenever I could,” she shares. Over the years, she sketched, practiced, took lettering and calligraphy workshops and classes. She even had a chance to teach and host her own classes.
As for stop-motion, she never really took any classes for the craft. It’s self taught and she pretty much learned from trial and error, as well as through tutorials that she found online. By 2010-2011, she started taking freelance jobs on the side for her friends and family, as well as for some small businesses. She started working with bigger brands and ad agencies in 2014-2015. By that time, she also signed up with an artist rep, which took her career to another level. In August 2015, she took the courage to finally start freelancing full time, and the experience, as she puts it, was “busy and a lot of fun”. Clearly, Becca is a proof that being happy and enjoying your craft will bring you to a lot of places.
ON WORKING WITH FOOD AND CREATING HER WORKS
When asked how she discovered her love for working with food, she told us her story back when she was still living in Los Angeles and how the idea was sparked with her vegetable garden.
“One day after picking a big load of vegetables to make some fresh salsa, I set everything on the kitchen table, and then on a whim, I arranged the vegetables on the table to make the word “fresh”. I styled some leaves and the rest of the vegetables around the word to make it look pretty. I had so much fun bringing my lettering into the three-dimensional world that first time, and I’ve always loved art directing photoshoots, so I was hooked.”
From then on, she started to create more food lettering projects on her own time just for fun. She said that she was ‘having a blast with each project’, and that she ‘enjoyed challenging herself by using new materials for her typography’.
“When clients started hiring me to create similar food lettering projects, everything just kind of took off,” she said.
Becca told us that “food is a universal thing enjoyed and used by people everywhere. Also, people are delighted when they see something used in a creative and unexpected way. I think that food lettering mixes the two of these so that it’s something that people really resonate with and enjoy,” and we couldn’t agree more.
ON HER CREATIVE PROCESS
Working and taking in different hats for projects is, admittedly, something that one can find as a huge challenge. We asked Becca on her creative process, and how she juggles multiple role for projects and clients, and here’s what she told us:
“When I’m working with a client, I first get the rundown of the creative brief or the project. Then I create a couple of sketches for them. Once a sketch has been approved, I then go to work to bring that sketch to life. I buy or collect props and materials for the photoshoot and set up my camera, and then start creating. I art direct my shoots as I go, shifting a word more to the left or adding more props to the corner, or whatever it is. I usually take a few photos of my process, and then some more when the design is completed.
I don’t have a hard time shifting from one to another, because to me, it’s all part of the process and the project. All of it flows together in its own order.”
Some of her inspirations on food lettering were Sagmeister and his Kickstarter campaign for “The Happy Film”. She says that she finds the use of watermelon slices and arranging it on ferns very clever. “I’ve thought a lot about that watermelon typography since then.”
Another inspiration was a food typography magazine ad that she saw while on a doctor’s waiting room. The ad was for a granola bar, and the lettering was created out of oats with strawberry accents. “I hadn’t every seen anything like it, and I loved it so much that I tore it out and took it home with me to put in my inspiration pile. I told myself that I’d make something like it someday,” and create something like that she did. She created her own take on food typography and was able to produce various works that brands and audience alike loved and adored. That piece of inspiration is something that she really looked into, and in fact, she still keeps that ad as a reminder of the spark that it started within her.
Undeniably, food typography has become more popular in advertising over the years. As Becca continuous to see it, she recalled her inspirations and decided to try it herself. She had a strong background on hand-lettering and art directing, and she knew that she had a chance if she try it herself. “I took a big step away from the computer at that point and haven’t looked back,” she recalls.
HER MESSAGE FOR ASPIRING CREATORS
“Don’t expect to have a big break or be well-known shortly after graduating from college. I had full-time design jobs for eight years before I had enough freelance business to start doing it full time. I still have a lot to learn as well as improvements I can make. Five years from now you’ll look back at the work you created when you graduated and think that it was terrible, because you’ve improved since then. Ten years from now you’ll look back at your five-year mark and realize that you’ve come even farther, so keep pushing yourselves and keep learning from whatever source you can, whether it’s a workshop, an online class, or a tutorial. Use Instagram to promote your work and to make connections with other designers, and continually think about self-initiated projects you can start or collaborations you can do with other creative people.”