One Minute With…
Hi Drew, thanks for taking time to chat with One Minute With. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
Sure thing! My full name is actually Bryan Andrew Melton but for some reason my parents have always called me Drew. I’m from Grand Rapids, MI and I really enjoy working with letters.
Walk us through a typical day in the life of Drew Melton.
Wake up, have 3 eggs with some coffee from the press pot. Make my bed and brush my teeth. Open the ol’ laptop and check my email, which is a terrible habit, then I start on projects. This usually entails a lot of drawing and redrawing. Throughout the day I check my email way too much sprinkled with a little extra Twitter here and there. All of the sudden it will be 6:30 and I will have no idea what I’ve accomplished during the day.
How did you get into design?
In high school (I was home schooled) I started dabbling with website design and development. I had a connection with an internship in town at a web design firm (no longer existing). They took a risk on me and I’ve been digging deeper ever since.
How do you approach a new project? What’s your creative process like?
LOTS of drawing. I am really bad at mind mapping or working through any sort of official process. The best way of explaining my process comes from an interview with Mike Perry, when asked about his process he responded (loosely translated), Basically I create a lot of pieces right off the bat. Great work tends to come out of all of the piles of work. For me, the more I create, the better my chances are at coming up with something decent. I feel like 1 out of 10 pieces that I make actually has some quality to it.
You run The Phraseology Project – Tell us a bit about it, and what inspired you to start this project?
Ok, so I was pretty much broke and I had zero clients around December of 2010. I had been doing really generic graphic design for business clients and I was feeling pretty burned out. I kind of hit a creative bottom where I started to realize that I wasn’t making anything that I would be proud to show my children someday. Ever since college my love for typography and lettering has been growing. So I just started drawing letters… All the time. It gets hard to just make things without a reason so I started looking for a way to turn this into a project. I had the idea of having people submit words or phrases that I could practice lettering on. I created a small simple site with a web form and called it The Phraseology Project (this was my girlfriends idea for the name). Within a week I had 80 submissions! The project is 1 year old and it has had 20,000 submissions since!
Lettering is evidently your strong point – Would you ever consider making a font? Is there a big difference between lettering and type design, do you think?
Absolutely! I am so young and inexperienced. I have a lot to learn about typography before I even think of heading in that direction. Not to mention, a type treatment and a font require completely different skills. One being a bit more logical and the other one being a bit more free.
If, in some Freaky Friday-like situation, you could live the life of another designer, illustrator or creative, for a day, who would it be, and why?
Have you seen Simon Alander’s work?! The dude is a freaking god when it comes to lettering and typography (and so many other things). I would trade just to understand how his mind works.
What design tools could you not live without?
Dot Grid notebook from Behance, STAEDTLER pens and pencils for sure along with tracing paper…. Oh! And a scanner. Couldn’t live without it.
And finally, what tips would you give to anybody who is looking to get started in design?
Stop trying to change the world and get practicing. Great work is always preceded by practice. You don’t have to be the best to get started and put your work out there. Admit it when you’re wrong and move on.