Through this series, Community Spotlight, we are highlighting a range of designers who inspire us with their boundless imagination and resilient spirit. We hope that in doing so, they too will bring inspiration to your doorstep.

This week, we had the pleasure of getting to know Audrey Perry, an empowering digital lettering artist who creates beautiful, thought-provoking designs. Her lettering pieces are enough to brighten up anyone's day and talking to her about her inspiration and design journey certainly did ours!

Q: Audrey, can you tell us about yourself?

I'm a graphic designer who specializes in hand-drawn letters and illustrations. I've spent the last year building a licensing portfolio that I hope to share in the near future. When I'm not lettering, reading or parenting, I'm likely cooking. Food is such a huge part of my culture. We don't just eat food together, we also make it together. I love that I now get to share that tradition with my husband and son. I also have a dog, but he never helps in the kitchen.

Though I currently live in North Texas, I was born in the Rio Grande Valley, which is along the Mexico/US border. I'm incredibly proud of my Mexican heritage, and love to share pieces of it in my work. I come from a long-line of makers. My maternal grandma was always making and selling crochet pieces. After she passed, my mom gave me some of her pieces to keep in my office. Having her art close feels like having her close.

Q: How long have you been with us as a Design Cutter?

I first discovered Design Cuts through the hashtag #designcutscommunity. Some time after I started using the hashtag, a member of the DC team reached out to me and offered to send me a few products to try out on some of my lettering pieces. I instantly fell in love with both the products and the genuine kindness from the DC community.

Q: What was your graphic design journey?

I've been designing my own greeting cards for as long as I can remember. From markers and construction paper, to Word Art and Adobe Illustrator, I've just always used what I was able to access. It was a hobby that manifested in basically every job I had since I was a teenager. Even if the job had absolutely nothing to do with design, I found a way to incorporate it. In 2016, after giving birth to my son, I made the decision to quit my job in business management to raise him full-time. As a new mom caught in the postpartum haze, I found it difficult to measure personal success. Everything I did was baby-centric, and I just needed something that was completely mine. It was at my husband's suggestion that I started what I intended to be an anonymous Instagram account. My goal was to create and share something every day. The anonymity didn't last, but the habit did. I did that for a year and unintentionally found a community of some of the best people I've ever met.

As far as my signature style, I think that is still in progress. As a person and an artist, I'm not the same as I was 2 years ago, and neither is my art. We're both constantly evolving. It's a journey that I hope to be on for the rest of my life.

Q: Can you describe to us your design process?

I have two completely opposing methods for designing, depending on the purpose of the piece. When I work on pieces for my licensing portfolio, I set specific parameters. The parameters will look something like this:

  • Desert scenes
  • Motivational copy
  • Monoline or sans serif
  • Warm neutral color palette
  • Texture, texture, texture

Working like this helps me to stay on track and work quickly. It's a discipline I learned from a course I took on art licensing with Ilana Griffo and Katie Johnson.

For personal pieces, I keep a note on my phone of quotes or thoughts that I'd like to illustrate or letter. Every so often I take a scroll through the note and see if inspiration sparks. When it comes to personal pieces, I try to avoid forcing things. Those are the pieces that mean the most to me, even the silly ones.

Q: Where do you find inspiration for your work?

Well, apart from scrolling through my notes and sketchbooks, basically everywhere. I hope that's not too cliche, because it's the truth. I read a lot and listen to music. I'm inspired by the arts. But also, my kid and parenthood. Becoming someone's parent has been a real catalyst for learning myself in ways I never had before now... especially since the kid is so much like me. Those things manifest in my work... lessons I'm learning, or more likely, re-learning.

Q: What design are you most proud of?

I imagine the answer to that will change over the years, but at this moment it's a piece I did at the end of last year. It's not part of my portfolio, it's just something I did for me. It says, "It's okay to cheer for someone doing the same thing you're doing." This was one of those thoughts I had sitting in my notes for a long time. One of my absolute favorite things I've gained through this community is genuine support. I've met a few good friends on this journey who are in the same or similar industries as me, and they are some of my loudest cheerleaders. They get it, they know how hard it is to put yourself out there and dedicate time to learning something new. I celebrate them, too. I know that their wins are not my losses, because we are not in competition. We're on the same team.

Q: Where do you hope to be in 5 years' time?

In five years, I hope I'm looking at my own designs displayed in some of my favorite stores.

Q: Which graphic designers do you look up to?

Gia Graham (@iamgiagraham) is someone I admire as both a designer and a person. She's genuine in her art, firm in her boundaries, and witty af. When I'm scrolling, I know what pieces are hers even before I see her name. She's iconic.

April Moralba (@crashboomdesigns) has been a long-time favorite of mine. She's just so good. Take a look at her Instagram feed and you'll know exactly what I mean. Artists don't owe anyone peeks into their process or inspiration, but every time I get a glimpse into April's, I feel incredibly privileged.

Q: What's your top tip for other designers?

When someone (whose opinion you value) compliments your work, write it down and keep it near you. Read it back when imposter syndrome tries to take residence in your mind.

Q: What are your favorite DC products to use?

Basically anything by Shoutbam. I have purchased three of their Procreate brush sets, downloaded all of their freebies, and was lucky enough to test the set they just recently launched with Debi Sementelli. So yeah, I'm a fan.

Thank you, Audrey, for sharing your story with us. If you would like to explore more of her lettering designs or show her some love, you can head to her Instagram!