I know because I asked: An interview with Frances MacLeod

Frances is a fantastically talented letterer, designer and illustrator based in Chicago. Since releasing her typeface Abraham Lincoln with Lost Type, she has since gone on to work at Leo Burnett, designing campaigns for A-list brands. She’s attended 3 of the 4 Field Trips, and we’re pleased to have her join us in Vancouver later this month. She also enjoys fruit roll-ups and gushers.

Name Frances MacLeod

Where do you currently live and work? Chicago, Illinois.

What discipline do you specialize in? Lettering, branding, pattern design, snacks.

Frances giving a talk at An evening with Lost Type, after hosting our trip to Chicago. You can see her speak in Vancovuer next at Type Brigade in Vancouver.

What’s your typical day like? I work in the Department of Design at Leo Burnett, a pretty big advertising agency based here in Chicago. Most days involve sleeping later than I intended, dry shampooing my hair, then grabbing coffee at Intelligentsia in Logan Square before joining the other sardines taking the train downtown for work.

I eat greek yogurt at my desk (I rotate flavors depending on my mood, just got pretty into this blueberry one that has chia seeds in it), read a bunch of blogs, and work on whatever’s on my plate. Our group isn’t dedicated to one specific client, so I end up working on projects ranging from really big campaigns to pro-bono to internal initiatives. Lately we’ve been eating lunch together as a team in our corner of the office because we Genuinely Enjoy Each Other.

In the afternoons I check in on projects and work some more. Sometimes I get a snack (often an ice cold LaCroix and 25 cent box of lemonheads from the convenience store downstairs, but a soft serve ice cream cone when the mood calls for it). On free evenings, I get dinner with friends in Logan Square or head to my studio space to work on personal/freelance projects.

How did you first get interested in typography, lettering, and type design? I read an esteemed text from the American Girl Library around age 10 that opened me up to the possibilities of lettering and typography. I practiced my handwriting in middle school, but it was halfway through college before I realized the things I liked to draw for fun could be a focus in my work.

One of Frances’ patterns for Design*Sponge…as leggings!

So… How do you feel about Hobo? I had largely neutral opinion of Hobo (kind of like “Do people really use that for stuff?”) until James T. Edmondson took it upon himself to revive it. Now I’m trying to find a project worthy of it.

What’s your favorite breakfast food? I love all the foods, but what I really appreciate in a breakfast restaurant is potato versatility. Give me options, show me you care: hashbrowns (patties, shredded, smashed), home fries, tater tots. The potatoes make the breakfast memorable. An example: I always forget what I ordered at Bakin and Eggs, but absolutely every time I get their house potatoes because they are remarkably terrific (they’re also sprinkled with herbes de provence, I know because I asked).