Born and raised in Russia, Olga Zakharova is an illustrator and typographer who divides her time between living in Latvia and Thailand. Her nomadic spirit is drawn toward nature, a primary source of inspiration for her work, relying on carefree lines that imbue a strong element of whimsy and amusement.
Much of her recent illustrative work has focused on maps, although they’re certainly not the type of maps you’d keep in the glove compartment of your car. Olga began seeing creative maps on book covers and wedding invitations, of all places, and it made her realize that there was a market for that genre of artwork. Paired with Olga’s signature illustrative style, map drawing was clearly a perfect match for her artistic talents and her love of travel. Her work incorporates the most notable locations, buildings, and streets of historic cities, creating unique illustrations that perfectly capture the essence of the locale. To say it is her passion is an understatement; given her gallery of map illustrations, it’s a calling.
Her typography shares a similar character and attention to detail. Olga prefers to achieve an organic feel by drawing her letterforms with ink on sheets of printer paper, digitizing them later on. Her process begins with a series of sketches — pages and pages of them, in fact — until the soul of the design fully reveals itself. At that point, she traces all of the characters into Illustrator, picking and choosing her favorite versions of each glyph to complete the entire set. This stage often involves crafting short words and phrases to see how the characters mingle with one another before they are converted into their digitized forms.
While Olga sometimes knows exactly what name she will give to a font, occasionally the name turns out to be something that must emerge naturally through her design process. “Naming fonts for some reason is one of the most exhausting parts of the font-making process for me,” she said.
One of her most recent releases on YouWorkForThem is Cutout, an aptly named display font that, as its name suggests, was created over “a few hours with scissors,” as Olga joked. “Well, it wasn’t that easy, but I really love the result.”
Cutout is an abstract and rough caricature of lettering, featuring shapes that are easily recognizable yet boldly original. Playful and irrepressible, Cutout is an energetic choice for poster layouts, book cover designs, apparel, branding, advertising, and any project that wants to create a joyful and easygoing impression.
Cutout features stylistic alternates for additional versatility, with multilingual support that extends to Basic Latin, Western European, Baltic, Turkish, Central European, Romanian, and Pan African Latin languages for worldwide accessibility.
Olga offers ten products through YouWorkForThem and we’re excited to see more of her upcoming work. Visit her portfolio to take a look at all of her handcrafted products, purchase your favorites, and keep an eye on her — she’s an incredible artist and we know her future releases are sure to be just as amazing.