Berlin, ah Berlin. So little time and so much learned. Berlin is a city that breathes art, freedom and history, and I’ve never seen anything like that. This was my first time in Germany, and I spent my birthday there with some amazing friends that went there to visit, so yes, Berlin has a special place in my heart.
First of all: history. The Berlin Wall, its fall and World War II. German people have a lot to learn from their past and I believe that respect for others no matter their beliefs was the most important lesson. I noticed that in Berlin you can literally be whoever you want with minimum chance of being judged for that. And yes, this is scary, but I confess that I learnt a lot about self confidence with that. Freedom is scary, but if you remember your principles it can be paradise.
For this lettering, I kept thinking a lot about adding history to it, for the obvious reasons I mentioned above. But I’ve decided to begin with graffiti, because this style is one of the most seen around Berlin. Graffiti is the voice of artists, and artists do what they do because they have something to protest against or something to say. Graffiti is not a synonym of a dirty and dangerous city, it’s someone trying to change the world in their own way. Graffiti can be beautiful if you think beyond it, and when you see these drawings on pieces of the Wall around Berlin, you can notice that these artists had A LOT to say when the wall was still up. So yes, in this case, graffiti can represent the history of a city.
Here are some examples:
If you’ve seen my work, you can notice that graffiti is something completely out of my style, I love curves and ornaments (and sometimes geometry). So yes, this was really difficult for me.
I started to search about gothic calligraphy, and then how it has changed to approach an urban style. Then, I searched about some artists that have already made letterings in that style, like Jackson Alves and Luca Barcellona, with the help of my mentor Lygia Pires – she has a similar style to mine and has already done this kind of stuff. I confess that after looking at their styles and looking at my own reference artists (like Jessica Hische and Martina Flor), it got easier to do something with quality. Not easy, but easier.
This was the sketch when I first started:
With that sketch in mind, I had no idea of what I should put around the borders so I left it for last because, always remember: one step at a time.
And now, it was vector time. I tried to vectorize another sketch [the one below], but I noticed some mistakes so I went back to the sketch. As I told you in the last article, going back to sketches when everything is vectorized shouldn’t be a problem.
Once the vector was finally ready (no borders yet), I jumped to the colors which were inspired by graffiti. I knew that the colors needed to be really strong and I was sure I wanted shades of red along with something really dark (like dark blue or brown). I really liked the blue-almost-black background with red and yellow for the lettering. I think it representes the strength of Berlin as much as the German flag.
After all of it, I still felt that something was missing, when I remembered the meaning and strength of Bauhaus. With all its geometric style and all its history, I couldn’t believe that I forgot one of the biggest art academies in the world. So, I made some tries of geometric frames, with much differ from the graffiti, to represent it. This is the result:
I just wanted to say that this lettering was something I never tried before, and Berlin really stole a huge piece of my heart. I hope I could inspire you in some way with this story as much as Berlin inspired me, leaving something inside of me for the rest of my life. Danke, Berlin. You were amazing.
If you have any other questions about something I didn’t say here, you can send me an email or reach me on social media!
You can see the entire project here!