Growing your local audience can bring many benefits as freelancer and artist. And doing things with love and a feeling of hand-crafted-ness can get you noticed and—hopefully—shared.
Early this year I set a goal to create a hand lettering print for the city of Louisville. The idea was to make a real, meaningful connection with my local audience and create a beautiful piece of art that the locals could appreciate and take pride in.
Although there’s never a clear-cut path to connectivity, here’s how I created a custom print for Louisville, which helped me grow my local audience and, ultimately, made a product locals want to buy.
Setting Up Goals
This project started after living in Louisville for over a year and thinking of some ways to create custom artwork for the community. I spent some time visiting different areas of the city, parks, local shops, galleries and thinking about my audience and uncovering the project’s goals.
- Hand letter the words Derby City (Louisville’s local name)
- The design has to make the locals feel proud, happy and represent the city’s culture and history
- Spark my audience’s interest
- Grow a local audience by sharing my work and engaging with the community
- Create a product my audience wants to buy
With a set of goals and vision, I moved to paper. In my first round of sketches I explored composition with the goal to find the right balance. I drew some guidelines and sketched the letterforms based on a brush style script.
The final sketch was traced and inked for refinement, but rather than aiming for complete accuracy, I left the design with some imperfections to show the gesture of the hand and its beauty.
My ideas was to create a piece for the community and make my art reflect my own life, beliefs and love for Louisville.
Sharing Your Work Online
It’s very important to share your process with your audience. This is going to help to spark interest in your work, showcase your experience and create meaningful experiences with you or your brand.
I started by sharing my process on Instagram to build up some buzz and attraction.
Minutes after posting this shot, I reached over 100 likes and was creating some real engagement. A few days later, I put out a second process shot and promised my audience a limited run of letterpress prints.
Hey guys! I'm excited to announce that will creating a limited run of letterpress prints featuring my Derby City hand lettering design. Prints will be pressed with love locally. Stay tuned for the official release. Like and comment if you will like to have one of them! Thanks for the support! #lettering #letterpress #handlettering #derbycity #louisville #prints #art #sharelouisville #goodtype #buylocallouisville #shoplocallouisville #louisvilleky #mylouisville
My goal with posting another shot was to show people the beauty of the process and the care that goes into creating a hand lettering design. This is a great method to take your audience behind the scenes and turn your followers into stronger supporter members of your community.
Digital Version and Printing
Hand lettering has the ability to communicate emotions, especially because of the amount of time, attention and craft behind each piece of artwork. The rhythm and charm of the handwritten word is something you want to keep, even when working in a digital environment.
I worked on finding the perfect balance between analog and digital to keep my material organic and stay true to my original hand lettered sketch.
The final design was sent out to be letterpress printed at HoundDogPress, where I met the guys behind the press and made a real-life-connection. Working locally was another way to add special layers to a relationship—Collaboration and trust.
By the launch of the print, I saw a huge growth in my Instagram followers, made a real, meaningful connection with my local community, partnered with local gallery owners that were extremely interested in my work and landed a freelance client that was looking for a custom hand lettering design for their business.
Growing your local audience doesn’t have to be hard, do it by working on personal projects that show that you care for the community. People will notice.
If you are interested in Derby City letterpress print you can find them these at these local galleries. Reverly, Gallery K and Coffeehouse, Block Party Handmade Boutique and CRAFT’s Gallery.
P,S.—If you enjoyed this post and want to spread the love, share this post on Facebook and Twitter and let people know about the Derby City letterpress prints.
Leo Gomez Studio