January 8, 2016

Typography fabric names

Typography fabric by Jessica Jones

Several people have asked about the weird-looking words used in one of my latest fabric prints. Other conversations have revealed that not everyone has heard of the famous quick brown fox. So let me demystify the names of the fabrics in my new Typography collection for Cloud9 Fabrics.

In the land of typography, “specimens” are examples of typefaces in use. Specimens show text set in paragraphs and headlines to give a feel for the overall texture of a typeface and what the various characters look like. Here are lovely pages from some specimen books. I thought it would be funny to take “specimen” more literally and show hands daintily holding up individual characters as if to inspect them.

The classic Swiss typeface designed in 1957. This fabric is made with Helvetica, cut into pieces. Bet you can’t guess what phrase I chopped up.

Script typefaces are based on the connected lines in handwriting. This print says, “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” If you weren’t forced to type that sentence in typing class, you might not know it’s the classic pangram that uses every letter of the alphabet. It’s been around for a long time. My Helvetica print is also made from this phrase, though you’d never know it.

Lorem Ipsum
It’s the placeholder text that designers use in ads and brochures before we get actual copy from the client. Lorem Ipsum has been in use since the 16th century. It looks like Latin, but it’s nonsense. You can generate paragraphs of it in design software programs or on this website. This is inside-joke fabric. Designers snicker every time something appears in public that still has dummy text in it. Whoops, somebody forgot to switch out the copy.

I hope you know that those squiggly characters are called ampersands. If you didn’t, now you do.

Any single character—an individual letter, number, punctuation mark, or dingbat. For example, an “A” and an asterisk are both glyphs. In this fabric, “123” is not a glyph. It’s three glyphs, but that’s okay. Mostly I just like the word “glyph” and it reminds me of a movie scene that made me laugh really hard.

Wood Type
Once upon a time, before modern printing methods, letters were carved out of wood, arranged to form words, inked, and sheets of paper were pressed onto them. Prints often looked a little irregular or distressed. The characters in my fabric print are not distressed in the least, so Wood Type is sort of a misleading name. However, fabric designers have to name their prints something, and this print reminded me of that era when it was popular to use a crazy mix of different typefaces all at once. A time to which we’ve returned!

FILED UNDER: Recent work

January 5, 2016

Free bookmarks: download and print


My latest fabric collection for Cloud9 Fabrics, Typography, is now in stores. It’s covered with words and letters. Know what else is full of words and letters? Books. Maybe you need some printable bookmarks designed to match these prints. Just download the PDF, print on card stock, and trim out the bookmarks. If you’re an overachiever, you could laminate them, punch a hole, and make a tassel from embroidery floss. Download the file here.

FILED UNDER: Downloads

July 16, 2015

From the drawer of unused concepts

Logo design branding ideas

I was digging through old files and came across these logo concepts for a jewelry company. Every branding project generates several versions that aren’t selected, like these. Sometimes I can repurpose a good idea in a different job, but that doesn’t happen often since every project is so customized for a client’s unique needs. Most of the time the designs never see the light of day. So here’s your day in the sun, little logos. Enjoy it before you go back into storage.

FILED UNDER: Recent work

July 1, 2015

Work featured in 200 Best roundup

Luerzer's Archive packaging book

My packaging for Maverick Chocolate Co. is included among the work featured in the new Luerzer’s Archive 200 Best: Packaging Design Worldwide book. It’s 270 pages of gloriousness! Hat tip to the other designers; their stuff is amazing. I’m honored to be included.

FILED UNDER: Design news

June 22, 2015

Time Warp fabric in action

Jessica Jones Time Warp bark cloth fabric

It’s been lots of fun seeing what people are making with my bark cloth fabric collection designed for Cloud9 Fabrics, a manufacturer of textiles for the home sewing market. This line is called Time Warp, and the retro, midcentury-themed prints are inspiring some very cool dresses, bags, and upholstery. Find it online or at a store near you.

Follow the links to see more pics of these projects: Dress by A Million Dresses; Chair by J Caroline, Tote by Anna Graham (she links to a free tutorial), Dress and bag by Grandma G, Dress by Emily G Clothing.

FILED UNDER: Recent work

April 24, 2015

A short interview

Terry’s Fabrics, a UK home furnishings retailer, has posted a quick little interview with me. To see thoughts from others, check out their entire Designer Insights series.


Courtesy of: Terrys Fabrics

FILED UNDER: Philosophy

February 20, 2015

Big typographic wall art tutorial

DIY typography wall art

I’ve been waiting to find something wonderful to hang on the empty chimney wall in our office. I finally got tired of searching and painted a DIY placeholder. It will do the job until I either win the lottery or find an affordable, huge… something. After posting a photo on Facebook, I had requests for a tutorial, so here’s how to make your own “wonderful” typographic wall art.

You will need:
A 30″ x 40″ canvas or other surface to paint on
Graphite transfer paper
Ballpoint pen
This downloadable template:

Tiled version (Sixteen 8.5″ x 11″ pages with 0.75″ overlap) OR
– Single page version (30″ x 40″ if you can print this big!)

(Do not use file for commercial purposes or financial gain; personal wall beautifying only.)

What to do:

1) Print out the template PDF at 100% size.

2) Tape the sheets together to form one large template.


Graphic tracing paper

3) Trace letters onto a canvas using graphite tracing paper placed under your template. Drawing the lines with a pen and ruler will help you keep track of where you’ve traced and keep your lines straight. Taping the papers to the canvas will help keep the design from shifting.

Trace the outlines

4) After tracing, go back and beef up any hard-to-see areas. It’s no fun painting when you can’t see your lines!

5) Paint the design in your favorite colors. I’ve used both artist acrylics and latex house paint with good results on canvas. Depending on the quality of your paint, you may need two coats to get perfect, even coverage.

How to make typographic wall art

6) Hang your wonderful masterpiece.

Typographic wall art tutorial

Typographic wall art tutorial

FILED UNDER: Downloads, Tips

February 17, 2015

2015 Oscar bingo and printable party kit

Free Oscar bingo game with printable ballot

To receive next year’s free bingo game by email, sign up here.

My free Oscar® bingo game is back by popular demand. For seven years running, I’ve made a game you can play while you watch the Academy Awards telecast at home. It’s lots of fun, and has even been featured on ABC TV. Grab these goodies before the Oscars this Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015!

How the game works:
There are 20 different game cards in the downloadable bingo file. I take care to arrange each card carefully; the bingo cards are not randomly generated. I’m aiming to make a bingo not too easy but not too hard.

– Save the PDF to your computer
– Open it in Adobe Reader
– Print the number of pages you need.

The first person to mark off five squares in a line wins. It could be a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line. There’s no freebie in the middle, so you’ve got your work cut out for you. Give fun prizes to winners at your party or play long distance with friends by text or tweet (#oscarbingo; I’m @howaboutorange).

Like every year, my big disclaimer applies: Someone might get a bingo ten minutes into the telecast, or maybe your group won’t have a winner at all because my psychic powers have failed this year. Fingers crossed!


Printable Oscar party kit

Grab the bingo game:

Bingo game PDF (FREE)

For maximum stylishness, I’ve designed a pack of decorations and a ballot to go with the bingo freebie. Make your viewing party the best ever!

Matching printable goodies in my shop:

Oscar party printable pack of decorations
Just the matching ballot
Just the place cards
Just the signs
Just the bottle labels


“OSCAR®” and “ACADEMY AWARDS®” are registered trademarks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

FILED UNDER: Amusements, Downloads

January 22, 2015

Beginners and experts

Design experts

Source: Shunryu Suzuki

FILED UNDER: Philosophy

December 18, 2014

P is for Protein

Institute for Protein Design

The University of Washington’s Institute for Protein Design (IPD) is the first of its kind, founded with the aim of designing a new world of synthetic proteins to address challenges in medicine, energy and technology. The institute came to me needing a distinctive logo of its own that harmonizes with the University of Washington’s new branding.

To start, I surveyed standard illustrations and diagrams that researchers are used to seeing. I learned that the current way of representing the 3D structures of proteins was developed by a scientist named Jane Richardson. Her illustrations were the jumping-off point for the logo development.

Some early ideas:

Early logo concepts

Because a logo should be a simple tag or identifier for an organization, not a detailed illustration, our goal was a stylized mark that’s eye-catching, clean, and can be easily reproduced at large and small sizes. The first option above had the best response, but was deemed too much like a DNA helix.

So I kept the colorful, transparent, folding effect but turned it into a “p” for “protein.” We experimented with flipping the “p” over to add a “d” for “design,” and I also drafted another version of a “pd” made from looping shapes.

Later rounds

We also evaluated four potential color palettes that included the UW’s signature hue, a dark blue-purple.

Color palettes

In the end, the single “p” won out for its simplicity and was paired with the university’s brand typography. The violet and blue color scheme was selected to coordinate with the school’s tertiary palette for a fresh, energetic new look.

UW IPD logo tote bag

FILED UNDER: Recent work

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