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Featured Shop: Seven Seas Design Co.

Kelley Johnson April 10, 2024 · 5 min read
Seven Seas Design Co.

is a Creative Market shop that specializes in fonts. Today we have the pleasure of getting to know Karen Smith, the shop owner behind Seven Seas Design Co. SevenSeasDesignCo2 Hi Karen! Let’s start things off by having you introduce yourself. My name is Karen Smith, I currently live in Dahlonega, Georgia with my husband and three kitties. I am the owner of The Seaworn Sail, as well as the Creative Market shop Seven Seas Design Co.. SevenSeasDesignCo1 SevenSeasDesignCo6 What has the journey of becoming a creative professional looked like for you? I’ve always been creative. As a child I drew a lot, and won several young author awards for my stories and illustrations. I’ve painted and sold my artwork, made stained glass panels and lampshades, made jewelry, and dabbled in photography. I’ve made websites (my own and some freelance), and worked a lot with Photoshop and Illustrator. Today I make block print linens by hand, letterpress stationary on an antique Chandler & Price letterpress, and of course fonts and graphics that I sell in my Creative Market shop. I always have some sort of creative project happening and I frequently bounce between them. SevenSeasDesignCo3

So, you sell both physical and digital products. Did one lead to the other, or were you always interested in both? Block printing (which is one of the oldest forms of printing) led to my interest in other types of historic printing processes such as letterpress. Once I got my printing press, the design aspect sparked my interest in calligraphy, which in turn led to an interest in fonts. I had wanted to make my own fonts for a long time, and I finally had a good reason to sit down and learn how to do it.

As for other types of digital products, I have been working with Photoshop and Illustrator for years, making graphics for my websites and designing logos and tags for my business.

SevenSeasDesignCo4How does selling physical goods compare to selling digital products?

Selling physical goods is very time consuming, and there is always an overhead to worry about. I can spend a huge amount of time locked up in my art room working on linen orders, or in my basement working the letterpress. The beauty of working on digital products is that I can grab my laptop, flop down on my couch, and do my work right next to my husband if I want to. That is a really awesome perk of digital work! Your fonts are all beautiful! Do you have any fonts that inspire you? There are many fonts that inspire me. But I find that when I fawn over a certain font that I like, or look too much into what is popular or trendy at the time, I end up stuck in a creative rut. In the beginning, when I was first learning, it was harder for me to create a totally unique look. I was more focused on trying to learn how to connect the letters, kerning, and the code behind it all. My first font took me around three months to create, full of trial and error. But now that I’m getting better at it, I think my creativity is getting better too. SevenSeasDesignCo5 I no longer have to focus on all of the technical aspects of creating fonts, so I’ve really been able to let my creativity shine through. I feel my most recent font, Caleigh, is a good example of that. Lately my inspiration has been coming from real handwriting. Real handwriting is beautiful and unpredictable. SevenSeasDesignCo7

Do you have any specific area of your work that you enjoy the most? Sketching out the design is the part I enjoy the most. Whether it be a new design for a block print or inspiration for a new font, just sitting down with my sketch pad and a pencil is my favorite. Sometimes I’ll be working and I’ll suddenly envision something great, or something will inspire me. At times like that, I’ll drop everything to open my sketchbook and draw it out before it leaves me.

â€I’ll drop everything to open my sketchbook†Yes and yes! Do you have any other artistic mediums that you enjoy experimenting with?

I would like to get better at traditional calligraphy, flourishing, and drawing with a regular nib pen and ink. I also like to experiment with Shibori fabric resist dyeing techniques, and would like to learn more about it at some point. What effect has Creative Market had on your business? Creative market has changed my business for the better. I have been able to earn money in a way that I never have before. I can work at my own pace, do what I’ve always felt I was meant to do, put pencil to paper, and then release my work. That work then goes out to a community of other creatives who can continue creating with that product. It’s actually pretty cool. Do you have a favorite Creative Market moment? I think having my shop approved was probably my favorite moment. Just knowing that someone at Creative Market looked at my work and said, “Yes, she has potential.†That made me feel good. Okay, to wrap things up, do you have any advice for current or future Creative Market shop owners? I’ve found that my best product thus far, is one that I feel is unique from all the others. Go for different and unique, that will set you apart from the rest.

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About the Author
Kelley Johnson

I’m an ex-schoolmarm who is excited about all things creative. Photography makes me smile and when I find a new-to-me dress that fits just right, it makes my day.

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