Meet The Maker: AV Typography
Amy Vann is a hand letterer and photographer. Amy runs a business called AV Typography selling a range of prints and cards. I was lucky enough to interview AV Typography about her work and products.
Hello! Thank you so much for letting me interview you. How are you?
Hi Rhiannon! You are very welcome. I’m very excited to be a part of your blog!
Tell us a little bit about your background.
Hello! I’m Amy, the owner and designer behind AV Typography. I’m 16 years old and live in Cambridge at the moment but am venturing towards the South-West later this year. From being little I’ve always been a maker, a creative person and as I’ve grown in both life and education this has always guided my choices and shaped my way forward. I’m happiest when I’m creating and have found passion in the work I’m doing with lettering and illustration, and am determined to continue to let that be my guide as I move forward. Let’s see where it takes me!
I adore your business. What made you decide to set up AV Typography?
Thank you! I wanted to turn the things I loved doing most into a job I knew I would adore - something that didn’t feel like work. My love for lettering began in 2016 as a hobby and kind of just fell into a business from there. A great way to start a business I think! I started experimenting with design ideas and card ranges naturally formed, bringing me to where I am now.
Why did you call your shop AV Typography?
Oooh that’s a difficult one. AV stems from my initials and at the time of starting my business, when I was just 13 years old, I was focusing purely on typographic work so it made sense to call it something that fitted with that.
How has your creative process changed since the start?
My style has developed so much from when I first started sometimes I internally cringe at previous work. After a few years of seeing my most popular designs fly off shelves, and the learning process with the designs that perhaps haven’t worked so well, I’m starting to finally find a creative process that works for me and I love. I’m much more experimental with my designs now and am adding lots more colour and illustration.
How did you manage to learn and hone your craft?
Lots of practice, and lots of mistakes. The amount of paper and sketchbooks I’ve been through is unbelievable but totally worth it. Without mistakes, I wouldn’t have my style and portfolio of work today.
Have you always been into craft and design?
I’ve always been creative, loved drawing and had a different perspective on things. My mum has always encouraged me in my endeavours and taught me that I can do anything I put my mind to. One of my favourite quotes that I was told by her growing up is “You have to be yourself in a world that is trying to make you like everyone else.” This has always guided me to follow my own style and creative approach to life.
If there were no resource restraints, what would be your dream project?
This is a tough one. Right now my focus is expanding stockists and wholesale but one thing I’d love to do is enlarge my work to fill studio spaces, walls, murals or even windows, in cafes or small businesses for example. I’ve done signage before and to see things even bigger would be amazing.
What equipment do you use for your work?
For the majority of my work, and especially custom pieces, I tend to work digitally with the Apple Pencil and iPad Pro. It’s taken a lot of mastering to work digitally, but I still love using the classic brush pen and paper too! More recently I have started to experiment with pattern, illustration and acrylics where I use a mix of equipment, from fine liners to thick swathes of acrylic.
What tools or materials could you not live without?
I couldn’t live without my ever growing set of brush pens and my Apple Pencil. The mixture of using both medias gives me the freedom to create designs on the go, without my studio at hand, or outside in the natural environment where I can feel inspired by my surroundings.
Why has social media been an important platform for you to use?
Instagram is the main social media platform I use and it allows me to showcase my work to people across the world! I feel social media for my business is so important as I can reach a wider audience and show ‘me’ and the story behind the business. 90% of my custom work comes from social media so it’s absolutely key to growing my brand. I’m slowly but surely increasing my following with people who simply love my work and in turn I love sharing recent projects and custom pieces I’ve been working on!
Who inspires your work?
I don’t think I necessarily have ‘someone’ who inspires my work. I’m inspired by the world around me, the people I meet and I’m always spotting those unusual things that other people would perhaps miss. One of the slightly unusual things about me is that I can spot new colour palettes in everyday things, or on my travels (even if that’s just to the end of the road some days.)
Do you have any favourite pieces of work that you adore at the moment from your shop?
I’m loving my ‘Love Me Not’ card collection at the moment but my absolute favourite card right now is ‘You Make me Smile’.
What do we hope to see in this up and coming year for your Instagram and your work?
I’m currently exploring a range of different design compositions and colour palettes for an exciting new card collection to be released soon. I’m also working on a few brand new products (eep!) and some more print designs! On Instagram I’m hoping to showcase more of the lovely custom pieces I get through as I normally don’t have the chance to share anything before sending work off on super tight deadlines to clients.
What are you currently working on?
For custom pieces, I’m currently working with Cambridge based Gourmet Brownie throughout 2019 on an exciting project for their delicious brownie boxes creating hand lettered postcards for their special events and key dates throughout the year! I’m also excited to be talking to a tour company about some new summer signage, and am just finishing a branding project for a new ice cream company.
In the studio I am developing a new card range, making a new selection of my up cycled Celebration Flags, working on prints and some brand new products.
What’s your typical working day?
I’m still in education for the moment and will be heading to college next year, so my typical day ends with me working in the evening! I get through emails and admin when I get home (which I weirdly love) and check off my most important tasks before having creative time where I can design and illustrate. It means I have to juggle more in a general week and I’m always kept on my toes but it’s worth it as I love what I do.
What’s been the biggest struggle in getting your business off the ground?
Juggling studying and my business has always been a challenge. I never have enough time to get my brand name out into the world and work on all the little details behind the scenes like SEO and follow up calls during the day. Getting my cards into stockists has probably been the toughest part so far but one of my big goals this year is to be able to work with lots more independent shops across the country, as well as hopefully some of the bigger names leading the way with card publishers.
Do you have any exciting plans for this year?
I’m taking my GCSE’s in June and I’m changing location to the South West of the UK which is exciting and will bring new adventures. It’s very much a year of change! Work wise I have some magical new products and top secret exciting custom services I’m working on this year but I can’t yet share with you. You’ll have to just wait and see!
What are your career plans with your online shop?
I’d love for my online shop to fully support me self-employed by the time I finish A levels. I realise that’s a big goal but one I am working towards. I’d like to develop my own website shop alongside my Etsy shop and maybe start to blog about my experiences in this journey of being a younger business owner and what I’ve learned along the way. It’s just about time, hard work and patience to get there.
What advice would you give to people looking to define their own style?
Trust your gut and practice, practice, practice! Your style will naturally form with time and one day you’ll look back and not even necessarily realise you’ve found it! I’ve found it’s all about trusting yourself, having faith in your own work and seeing where it leads to. Eventually you’ll get there!
Do you have any advice for anyone starting their own online shop?
I love being on Etsy but feel it’s very hard to get found and ‘stand out’ with so many other awesome makers being part of the same network so keep persisting at it. The thing is that we are all winging it to a certain extent, and the whole online shop ‘process’ is new for everyone so sticking with what you feel is right for you, keeping up with all the algorithm changes (as much as anyone can!) and learning new skills along the way to support yourself is my best advice. And don’t forget to take a break - it can be very intense and full on when you are determined to make something work for you, but self care is essential. I’m a huge yoga fan and make sure I take time out just for me to keep that up. It brings me balance in ‘the busy’.
What’s next for AV Typography?
Within the next 12 months, my product range will be expanding and I’m aiming to have my own website with a shop where everything is easily accessible and in one place. I’m also looking to increase my custom work, both on a commercial basis with small businesses, and with publishers I hope. Longer term I’m excitedly looking at exhibiting at trade shows such as Top Drawer where my cards, stationery and growing range of products would be more accessible to both small independents stores and some of the larger brand stockists across the globe. I won’t be taking that big step until I’ve finished my A-Levels but am already dreaming up master plans!
What's the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given?
Always push yourself out of your creative comfort zone. I’m usually most comfortable lettering and illustrating with a pen in my hand but my art and design studies have pushed me to consider other media and ‘let go’. Turns out, some of my best designs have come from letting go of my own expectations and pushing myself to try something new.