Drew Melton is a Los Angeles-based letterer, graphic designer, and occasional illustrator. He and his wife just launched Anchor Paper Co., a new collection of beautiful stationery. Each design is hand-lettered by Drew and pressed into premium cotton paper and it's is just gorgeous. Although I'd seen Drew signature swashes before, but knew nothing about the man, so I pinged him to see if he could share some insights with us.
You live in L.A., but you're not from L.A. Where have you lived across the country?
So far just Grand Rapids, Michigan (my hometown) and Los Angeles, California. Oh, I also lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma for about 3 months!
I have to ask. What were you doing in Tulsa?
Haha—I had a really random internship at a church their through a friend. At that point in my life I was willing to do anything and live anywhere. It was the best/worst summer of my life.
Has Los Angeles influenced your work?
Absolutely yes! People seem to believe that there is no culture in LA. However, living downtown has been an amazing eye opener for me. When you live in a densely populated area you have to bump into, look at, interact with, and expose yourself to things you wouldn't normally seek out. Everything from graffiti on the side of a building to a pop-up shop in the arts district. There is just a lot going on. It's chaotic and comforting to me all at the same time.
You're a designer, letterer and illustrator. What would your alternate profession be you weren't in visual communication?
Entrepreneur. I hate that word but I absolutely love business.
We love the work you did for Mercedes Motoring. How did that project come about?
Okay so to be clear, that project was not for Mercedes corporate. I was connected with this company through a friend. They find vintage mercedes vehicles with less than 30,000 miles and completely deconstruct the vehicle and detail every part before putting it back together. They are some of the most beautiful cars I have ever seen. These posters were meant to be giveaways with some of the more popular models they sell at the shop. I still haven't seen them in person yet.
Mercedes Motoring sketches
What's the most fun thing you've worked on recently?
Definitely the Herb Lester Project. I've also been doing business planning with Blumer Associates and I have to say… For the first time, I'm working with business people that really inspire me creatively!
Your passion for art and design started young, but how young?
When I was in High School I interned doing website design and that gave me the courage to apply to an art school nearby. In college I wasn't specifically aware of lettering or typography as its own entity but I do remember always doing reports or design studies on Herb Lubalin. His work was so bold and beautiful. It was art to me. His letter forms kicked my ass.
Who is your mentor?
Jake Weidmann is one of the most inspiring people I know. I wouldn't say we are close enough to call him a mentor but his approach to work and life has really changed the way I approach work. He has been generous enough to spend some time with me whenever I'm in Denver. Aside from Jake I have some really talented friends that I share my work with for critique and inspiration. They are honest and supportive. Having great people like them around keeps me going for sure.
Jake's work is beautiful, I can see why you're inspired. What're you working on next?
I am currently the most excited about my very first font! The whole thing started because someone told me I need to check out the Glyphs App. So like most things—I turned it into a project—I have been spending 30 minutes a day (sometimes a lot more) working through this font and I feel like it's almost ready for the world! It's one of the most fun things I've worked on in a while.
The other thing I'm really stoked on are some menu guides for Herb Lester Associates. I've been a huge fan of theirs for some time now. They are so easy to work for. They really want you to do work that you can get excited about it. It's been great! You can check the designs out here.