Complex Lettering Compositions: An Interview with Vera Drmanovski

Feb 11, 2024
Vera Drmanovski

At the July Typism Summit 2023, lettering artist Vera Drmanovski demonstrated the importance of hierarchy, layout, symmetry, and colour in crafting visually captivating lettering compositions.

Afterwards, we interviewed Vera in a Q+A session and discussed the guidelines she uses to help balance her complex maximalist lettering compositions.


Vera Drmanovski has become a prominent figure in the lettering community, known for her intricate and vintage-inspired style. Her creative journey started in computer graphic design, but her discovery of lettering reshaped her career. She has since collaborated with global brands on projects ranging from book covers to apparel, showcasing her multi-layered and heavily detailed compositions.

In her summit talk “Creating Complex Lettering Compositions”, Vera dissects her creative process, focusing on the importance of hierarchy, layout, symmetry, and colour in crafting complex lettering compositions.

Here are some highlights from the summit Q+A session with Vera.

Q: Can you explain the importance of hierarchy and layout in your complex compositions?

Vera: I follow a six-step process that involves reading the quote aloud to identify emphasised words. Establishing a visual hierarchy based on these keywords ensures a balanced composition, allowing the essential message to stand out while maintaining harmony.

Q: Symmetry plays a crucial role in your heavily detailed compositions. Can you elaborate on how you achieve symmetry and balance within your lettering?

Vera: Symmetry brings order to my work. I use a trick—tucking two letters underneath each other—to create a pleasing effect. Framing a word with its first and last letters helps me maintain control over symmetry, ensuring a balanced composition.

Q: How do you approach selecting a colour palette to evoke specific vibes or eras in your compositions?

Vera: Colour selection is pivotal. I draw inspiration from vintage palettes and historical eras to set the desired atmosphere. Brightness and saturation contribute significantly to the mood. Darker palettes often evoke a vintage look, but I adapt colours to suit each project’s requirements.

Q: Your style embraces maximalism and decorative floral elements. Can you share more about these floral brushes and their role in crafting unique designs?

Vera: Maximalism defines my style. I offer floral brushes to fellow artists as a creative foundation, encouraging exploration and experimentation. Combining these brushes with other elements ensures each design’s uniqueness.

Q: Your pathway into book cover design is inspiring. How did you transition into this field?

Vera: I started by redesigning book covers for personal projects. Sharing this work in Spine magazine and through an article attracted attention from book cover directors. Active engagement on Instagram and reaching out to publishing companies furthered my projects.

Key Talk Takeaways

 

Hierarchy and Layout Mastery
  • Vera’s six-step process, involving vocal emphasis on keywords, enables the creation of visually balanced compositions. This approach ensures a clear message while maintaining overall harmony.
Symmetry and Decorative Elements
  • Symmetry is a crucial aspect of Vera's heavily detailed compositions. Her technique of tucking two letters underneath each other creates aesthetic symmetry. Using the first and last letters as an invisible frame allows her to control the composition's symmetry, bringing order to intricate designs.
Colour Palette and Mood Setting
  • Vera highlights the significance of colour selection in lettering. The brightness and saturation of colours contribute to setting the mood of a piece. While often using darker palettes for a vintage style, she adapts colours based on project requirements, drawing inspiration from vintage palettes and historical eras for desired atmospheres.
Quote by Vera Drmanovski, graphic by Ferlix Christian Campugan

Whether you’re a lettering enthusiast or an experienced artist, Vera’s approach is an excellent guide for creating breathtaking, complex lettering compositions.

 

Some parting advice from Vera: “Symmetry is a great way to organize your compositions and add order to the chaos”

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