A Night with Dana Tanamachi

There are few events that will pull me out of comfy North Dallas on a Wednesday night, but the monthly DSVC (Dallas Society of Visual Communications) meeting is one of them. DSVC always invites a guest to speak at their meeting and they could not have chosen a better one to wrap up their spring session. Dana Tanamachi.

Dana, once a UNT (University of North Texas) student, now hails from Brooklyn, NY. Dana started out of college like most of us – in a job she was unsure of, but working hard either way. After a short stint with a magazine publisher, Dana fell into designing broadway show posters (incredible stuff!). It was in leaving her broadway gig that Dana hooked up with renowned designer Louise Fili. Working with Fili, Dana focused on the design of restaurants & packaging.

Nothing was ever enough and Dana not only put enthusiasm into her jobs for Fili, but she also put her heart and soul into any odd job that passed her by; from hand embroidering birthday bunting for Fili herself to dipping into charitable skateboard design – Dana did it all. As quoted from her lecture, “I was always finding an excuse to work with my hands.”

However multi-talented, Dana’s biggest asset was her hand-lettering skills. Dana had always been a major typography fan and that screamed through her work. Today, Dana is working exclusively as custom chalk letterer. With Dollar Store chalk and a wet rag, she is undeniable on the board. Dana works with out a projector. Check this out:

In watching a handful of Dana’s videos, I noticed the number of times she would erase and re-illustrate the letters. It was all about practice – every time. I learned a lot from Dana during her guest lecture, but most importantly — as creatives, we need to strive to keep each other humble and teachable in our craft. Never deny a lesson, never hesitate to ask.

See more of Dana’s work, in action, here.

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