Tommi Sharp (center, in yellow) is Senior Graphic Designer at vanillashake and a TypeThursday regular.

Better Letters Together: Tommi Sharp

Before and after success stories from TypeThursday (6 of 10)

Once a month in cities worldwide, TypeThursday raises the baseline on letterform design and use through friendly, moderated, group discussions of type-centric works in progress. Up to three designers present for advice from their chapter’s “type superfamily,” i.e., the letterform lovers and experts who gather to talk type over drinks. Here’s how TypeThursday helped one presenter’s work ascend.

Kara in discussion with Michelle about her lettering project at GoogleNYC

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Tommi Sharp is a Senior Designer at vanillashake, a branding and creative studio. She’s enrolled in Type@Cooper West’s Extended program and spends most of her free time sketching letters. Tommi presented to her local chapter, TypeThursday San Francisco (TypeThursdaySF), in search of guidance on bespoke type she developed for a children’s vitamin brand logo.

In-progress visuals Tommi presented at TypeThursdaySF.

Project background

Renzo’s makes children’s vitamins that are easy to take and contain no sugar or artificial flavors.

The team at vanillashake was tasked with creating a simple, modern and fun brand that reflects Renzo’s values and stands out from the crowd. Tommi was responsible for developing the logotype and logomark.

What was working?

Tommi felt the logotype and mark were successfully communicating the spirit of the brand. She also liked the flow created by the logotype’s rounded, sans serif letterforms and playful swashes.

What was challenging?

The project had started with a purely type-based logo, modified from an existing typeface. When the team decided a symbol would inject some much-needed fun into the identity, the new mark — which they loved — did not mesh with the previously developed type.

Tommi was confident that custom lettering that took cues from the symbol was the best path to unity, but she felt a fresh set of eyes was needed to help catch stylistic inconsistencies.


In a presenter’s words: Tommi’s TypeThursday experience

After Tommi introduced her piece to the crowd, the TypeThursday Dialogue Lead opened the discussion to the floor for attendees to share their expertise and observations. At TypeThursday, group discussion is always constructive, revolving around form, process, tools and techniques. Of the experience, Tommi says:

Speaking at TypeThursday feels less like a presentation and more like a conversation. I took away some great bits of insight that were helpful in the final round of revisions. One glaringly obvious thing that I had completely missed was that the apostrophe in the logotype was facing backwards. That was an easy fix!
Another great comment was about the face symbol. Some of the features, such as the eyes, looked visually heavier than the rest of the symbol, and the intersecting lines created weight problems as well, and would look nicer if they were subtly tapered in. I made these revisions and was very happy with the final result.
I’ve found the type community in San Francisco to be very kind and welcoming. The social aspect of TypeThursday is pretty fantastic. Getting a fresh take on my work has been very valuable.
Informed practitioners like Design Director Alonzo Felix ensure effective input from the audience.

At TypeThursday, Tommi was treated to something we don’t always get from a BFF, grandma, or the adjacent cubicle: type-centric feedback from informed and diverse perspectives. Our events attract everyone from professors to typeface designers, to even UI designers and illustrators! Some attend to listen. Others jump into the conversation. And all attendees, from presenters to observers, benefit from the open exchange of knowledge.


We’re moderated and educated, but always sans sheriff

TypeThursday prides itself on awesome advice and equally good vibes. Our Dialogue Leads help turn attendees’ feedback for presenters into a conversation. No snobbery. No design police. Just a room full of knowledgeable letterform lovers helping one another do the best work we can. Submit your work to a TypeThursday near you.

Get to know Tommi: Follow her on Instagram

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