Jessy Agle, Katrina Ricks Peterson, Rachel Cardenas Stallings and Natalie K. Stallings are four creatives, but first and foremost they’re friends. Annoyingly, Jessy is based in Oakland, Katrina in Utah, Rachel in San Fransisco and Natalie in Los Angeles. Rather than be bummed out about their separation, the group decided to collaborate in order to keep them close. The result is Scary Sugar, “a collaborative art piece,” now housed as a publication. It keeps Jessy, Katrina, Rachel and Natalia in touch despite the miles in-between them and in turn, they’re keeping the rest of the world in touch with a who’s who of wonderfully talented women to keep an eye on.
Scary Sugar is the name of the project, “but also the theme,” Katrina, a designer at Actual Source, tells It’s Nice That. Arriving at the idea through a stream of consciousness exercise, each designer wrote down what was on their mind and once shared, “a lot of similar threads appeared,” the designer continues. “Many of the most intriguing topics dealt with apparent dualities: secret entrances and exits, the physical/the mystical, etc. All of these were distilled into Scary Sugar.”
Weaved into each of these themes throughout the book “is our shared experience as women in creative fields,” Katrina and Jessy explain. This experience is a mutual feeling of a need “to balance our personal expectations for ourselves with what society expects of us as female artists and designers.” In turn, Scary Sugar is a reaction to this feeling, purposeful in its “nonsensical-sounding title” to reference the beginnings of the book, the various backgrounds of collaborators, “as well as an exercise in embracing all aspects of one’s self, especially the contradictions.”
To design their opinions, a tone of voice of the four creatives, and also the work of other female artists they want to champion, the group explain that the internet was a huge part of the design process, particularly for communication. “Everyone lives in different parts of the US, so we felt like that could become part of the design of the book itself,” coming to life through the inclusion of “screenshots from google hangouts convos as a design element and referenced lightbox style image carousels in the layout,” they say. “Basically, we wanted to subtly hint at out process in a visual way.”
More directly, design themes and thinking are evident in the publication’s representation of chromophobia, the fear of colour, wanting “to subvert that in a way by making almost every page full colour,” says Katrina. “This was one of the biggest design challenges for us since both of our professional design backgrounds has typically led us to approach colour in a more restrained way.” Contrasts also appear in the trio’s typographic choice contrasting “the more utilitarian Untitled Sans with the quirkiness of Self Modern to reflect the duality of the overall theme.”
To nab a copy of Scary Sugar yourself you can head to the Actual Source site here.
About the Author
Lucy joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In October 2016 she became a staff writer on the editorial team and in January 2019 was made It’s Nice That’s deputy editor. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about new and upcoming creative projects or editorial ideas for the site.