Dominique Falla is a woman known for many talents. You might know her because she is the founder of the Typism conference, or you might have seen some of her string art pieces on Pinterest or maybe you have even seen her speak at TED talks. Whatever you’ve heard, there’s a lot more to discover about her. Dominique has published some books and worked for clients like Google, Penguin Books, and Woolworths. She has given me an insight into her process, inspiration and what she’ll be working on for the rest of the year below.
You have such a wealth of experience – how do you even explain what you do to people who ask?
How did you get started, and what’s your most important piece of advice for people who want to get started in the design industry?
I went to Swinburne University for four years, pre-computer and learnt how to mark-up type, use bromide machines and generally create a design and finished art by hand. The transition to the computer came quickly after that, but I am always grateful for the years spent designing “by hand”. My advice would be to learn those traditional skills because pretty soon a robot with a computer can “design” a page layout or a website, but hand-crafted typography and images will be much harder to outsource. The design industry is always undergoing massive changes. Find a way to stay on top of these changes, but don’t be at the mercy of them.
Can you describe your process when creating a piece of tactile typography?
Once the client approves, I usually vectorise the lettering in Adobe Illustrator, buy all the materials and make a start. My methods are quite slow and laborious, so it is very meditative when I’m making a piece. I watch a lot of movies on my laptop while I hammer nails or wind string. Then I photograph the piece, clean it up in Photoshop and send it to the client. I don’t suggest digital is better or worse than analogue methods; I am fairly fluent in both and I go between digital and analogue all the time.
How do you find inspiration and stay creative?
My students keep me in touch with the latest and greatest trends, and I am addicted to Instagram and Pinterest. I also like to travel, and so I take a lot of photographs for inspiration as well. I love walking round art materials and craft shops on my regular “artist dates”. I am often inspired by the materials themselves. If I see something I can use I might buy a lot of it and make something from there. I once took thousands of free Dulux swatches from hardware stores, just because I liked them and ended up making a pixel portrait which was shortlisted in a Dulux colour prize.
You have many side projects – which are your favourite? Is there one that takes priority over everything?
I am also writing a book called Creativity Fitness which explains how to juggle all these creative projects, build your creativity fitness and get major things done while being “too busy” for anything. I have taught myself how to be extremely productive and time efficient, so I felt it was time to write down how I do it because people are always asking me “how do you find the time to get some much done?”. Creativity Fitness will be published at the end of the year by Balboa Press.
What are you working on this year?
I’m working on launching the site and a hand lettering challenge in the middle of the year, so if people want to get in the door now, foundation memberships are available right up until the site launches. I’m keeping it very affordable because I know a lot of people at the beginner stage are usually students, so if they sign up now, they can get two-years access from launch day for only $1 a week.
Want to know more about Dominique? We collected a bit more information about her, including more work, links to her website (including blog) and social channels, as well as a few videos. Check it out.