Ryan and Rena Martinson first established a print and web design business in Madison, Wisconsin, in 2004. Within a few years, the studio changed direction slightly, becoming a collaborative studio for Ryan’s type design and Rena’s fine art. In 2014, the pair moved their operation to sunny Sanibel, Florida, and have remained there since.
While Ryan is entirely self-taught in the field of type design, his work through Yellow Design Studio has been nothing short prolific. His type designs have been licensed for product packaging and national campaigns for numerous companies that include Chilis, Dr Pepper, Modelo, the San Jose Sharks, Corona, Yuengling, and Cutwater Spirits, just to name a very select few.
With our contemporary love affair with all things vintage, it’s little wonder why Yellow Design Studio has been so successful with its typography. Ryan’s work tends to favor rich, organic texturing – the kind that makes lettering appear to be decades or centuries old. He feels that textured typefaces have more character, although many of his distressed typefaces offer “clean” versions for those designers who might prefer them.
Although Ryan is a self-taught type designer, he got his start working as a graphic designer who, like many before him, found a fascination with typography and eventually made the career switch to pursue his passion full time. While working in graphic design, he studied countless typefaces – specifically the small details that made one stand out more than another, even if those differences were subtle. Even though every new idea essentially builds off of existing ideas to a degree, finding a new angle for the approach is what will make the final work stand out the most. Ryan enjoys current trends but doesn’t necessarily cater to them; when given the choice, originality is what he strives for.
A key characteristic of his work lies in its weathered, distressed appearance. To achieve this, Ryan spent a great deal of time immersed in research and experimentation in an effort to achieve authentic results. He studied antique books and prints, experimenting with different tools like rubber stamps and rollers to get the look just right. Toward the beginning of his career, he favored working with real-world tools but as time went on, Photoshop became his texturizing tool of choice.
Beyond texture, Ryan always keeps a font’s usability in mind during the design process. Having worked in graphic design himself, he’s able to put himself in the customer’s shoes. Versatility is important so he tries to envision what features they’d use or want, including ligatures, stylistic alternates, and texture levels.
Looking at Yellow Design Studio’s body of work, it’s clear that Ryan adores what he does. He loved graphic design, but he has a lot more creative freedom working in type design. He generally doesn’t take client projects for that reason; given the choice, he prefers to be the one making all of the artistic decisions in every project.
One of his most recent releases through Yellow Design Studio is Draft Natural, a “handmade and barrel aged” letterpress superfamily of fonts. Strong sans serif architecture is available in three distinct texture styles for incredible versatility. The complete family is comprised of 56 letter sets with a realistic grain texture that adds a touch of warmth and authenticity to every design project.
The range of weights (Regular, Medium, Bold, Black), four widths, and texturing styles make Draft Natural perfectly suited to design projects of all kinds, including product packaging, merchandise, apparel, logos, website designs, headlines, subheadings, book covers, album art, menu designs, posters, marketing materials, and social media imagery. It’s ideal for branding and identity projects that need design cohesion across multiple media types and sizes.
In addition to the base fonts in four widths and four weights with italics for each, the hi-res subfamilies were designed specifically for use in large display sizes, so your billboards will look just as awesome as your flyers, product packaging, and business cards.
Built with the utmost flexibility in mind, Draft Natural is packed with OpenType features like case sensitive forms, fractions, double-letter ligatures that prevent duplicate texture in adjacent letters, scientific inferiors, ordinals, superscript, tabular figures, oldstyle figures, contextual alternates, titling alternates, and stylistic alternates. Draft Natural extends multilingual support to Basic Latin, Western European, Euro, Catalan, Baltic, Turkish, Central European, Romanian, Pan African Latin, Dutch, Afrikaans, and Basic Greek for global accessibility.
Right now through June 13, 2019, Draft Natural is on sale for 80% off of its regular price so it’s a fantastic time to add this family to your font collection!
Yellow Design Studio currently offers 28 products through YouWorkForThem. If you love working with type designs with a lot of texture and character, visit their portfolio to view the rest of their work and bookmark it so you won’t miss any of their new releases as they arrive!