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Introducing the Adobe Creative Residents: typographer Christine Herrin and filmmaker Sara Dietschy

The Adobe Creative Residency gives talented individuals the opportunity to focus on a personal project for a year. Meanwhile Adobe Create magazine explores behind the scenes, sharing the artist’s process and passion along the way.

In this article we introduce two of its current residents, typographer Christine Herrin and photographer and filmmaker Sara Dietschy. For more insights to their creative practice, and to chart their ongoing progress, head to Adobe Create.

Sara Dietschy – filmmaker and photographer

How did you become a filmmaker and photographer?

All throughout grade school I was making goofy videos and I fell in love with editing video. Once I graduated from high school I bought my own camera and started shooting and sharing everything – travel films, camera reviews and documentaries. I couldn’t get enough of it. Naturally photography also became a big part of sharing online. It’s always something that complements the story I’m trying to tell with video. 

Why did you apply for the Adobe residency?

It’s everyone’s dream job. One year to just create. No need to worry about freelance projects. It allows you the freedom to make your passion projects a reality. 

How is your residency going? 

The residency is fantastic. Not only do I get the opportunity to purely create but I also get to travel to a lot of events and conferences. I’m learning a lot and meeting amazing people. 

What project are you working on at the moment?

I am right in the middle of launching a new season of Creative Spaces TV. It’s a docu-series filmed and edited by me that highlights a behind-the-scenes look at an artist’s studio and their creative process. The third series starts 22 August! 

How does this project relate to your wider work?

Everything I do is kind of meta in that I’m always sharing my creative process and the processes of other film-makers, photographers, and designers along the way. I won’t always be doing Creative Spaces TV but it is very relevant to what I think I will always be doing – sharing the process of what I’m doing in life or what other artists are doing via my YouTube channel and other socials. 

A lot of your films are about sharing knowledge and inspiration – who are you inspired by?

I am inspired by so many people. All of my friends in New York City work so hard towards what they want in life. It’s a very inspiring energy to be around. Two specific people who have motivated me since day one are Gary Vaynerchuk and Casey Neistat. I admire people who not only put in the work but also build others up at the same time. 

Christine Herrin – typographer and graphic designer

What drew you to type? How do you continually challenge yourself to produce new work?

As a graphic designer I’m always drawn to type – I have a background in publishing, so I used to have to do a lot of typesetting for magazines. Hand lettering, however, began when I was in grad school for design. It was partly out of frustration that everyone was using the same fonts, and a desire to stand out, that I started experimenting with writing things out by hand and incorporating that into my work. I loved the warmth and handmade look it gave my work, and my style slowly evolved from that.

Lately, I’ve been really pushed to produce new work by the audience I’ve slowly built up with my side paper business. A lot of them are on Instagram and love paper and travel as much as I do. They’re always seeing if I have something new to sell or show them, and are super supportive! It’s fun and really encouraging, and also pushes me to make new things for them. 

Tell us a little more about your career in design to date.

I grew up in Manila, Philippines, and worked for a few years as a magazine writer/designer at a publishing house before moving over to the Bay Area five years ago to pursue a master’s degree in design. I’ve mostly been freelancing and designing my own paper products on the side. I’ve done design work with local studios and non-profits through various internships I’ve had over the years, too. A couple of favourite jobs I’ve had are designing books for 826 Valencia, the education non-profit founded by Dave Eggers here in San Francisco, and getting to work on design and lettering for the TED 2015 identity with local studio Albertson Design. 

How is your residency going? What projects are you working on at the moment?

The residency is going well! I’ve been working on some fun swag for upcoming events I get to be a part of, and that’s super exciting. (I love designing swag!) I’m also working on a line of paper products centred around the themes of exploration and documentation, and so far I’ve been playing with packaging a lot, thinking about how I want people to experience my products, and how they’ll come across on retail shelves. I’m trying to build out journals, stamp sets, and other fun paper things, and I think I’m procrastinating by thinking about how amazing I want the packaging to be before designing the actual product.

How does this project relate to your wider work?

This project is an extension of the work I’ve been doing on the side. Last year, I started a small side business designing stamp sets for scrapbookers and it had been doing really well. I knew I wanted to expand to different paper products and the opportunity to really build on that with the residency has been amazing. Looking back, almost all the work I’ve done in the past (whether self-initiated or client work) that I was most excited about was centred around travel and documenting everyday things. I took those two themes to build my residency project, and it all comes together really nicely.

Why did you apply for the Adobe Creative Residency?

I love my comfort zone. I know that if given a choice I’ll probably stay here forever. To me, the residency meant playing bigger, taking more chances, and putting myself out there, going way past my comfort zone – a challenge I needed to grow, both creatively and personally! I knew I needed external accountability and mentorship to step up and transition from freelancing towards a business with my own products, and the residency was a perfect opportunity for that.

What are your plans for the coming year?

I’m building out quick samples of the paper products I want to design, and really hope to test them out over the coming year (whether that means I give it to people planning to travel or I travel myself, ha ha!) and figure out how to make them all real through production, distribution, and all that. It’s going to be a lot of brainstorming and making. I’m also really excited to connect with like-minded people who love paper as much as I do – I hope this project can help me do just that.

Adobe Create magazine will be following Christine and Sara’s projects as they develop – keep up to date at www.create.adobe.com