The founder of Lindsay Letters channeled a childhood love of design into a thriving art and calligraphy business. See what inspires her beautiful hand-lettered pieces.
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painting with calligraphy quote retro phone accessories
Credit: Lindsay Letters

Lindsay Letters began with a 2009 foil print that blossomed into an online shop of prints, canvases, mugs, and even blankets. But Lindsay’s love for art started long before with a calligraphy class at age 10. Her inspirational prints range from short and sweet messages (“So far, you’re doing great”) to quotes that fill an entire page (“Some days call for fancy macarons and some days call for eating ice cream straight out of the container”). Either way, they’re totally relatable, and she has something for every design aesthetic. We talked to Lindsay to find out what powers the woman behind the pen and paintbrush.

How would you describe your design style?

Whimsical, balanced, intentional, hope-filled, meaningful, and inspired!

Who or what are inspires you?

I am inspired by people who persevere. Everyone experiences obstacles in life. However, when people step beyond those obstacles to do what they love, that really inspires me! Creatively, I look for inspiration in creative fields other than my own. When I'm looking for inspiration, I can always find it through experiences like pursuing antique malls, travel, nature, good talks and laughter, enjoying fun new restaurants and cafes, and, of course, flipping through the pages of Better Homes and Gardens!

What are your go-to colors?

I'd say my favorite color has to be yellow. Not especially light yellow, but chartreuse, mustard—I just love it! When antiquing, I'm always drawn to the pink stuff. There's something about the varying pinks used throughout the decades that is just so charming. The fine folks in the '50s discovered soft pinks way before the millennials did (sorry, guys) and they rocked it.

The walls in our house are warm gray, emerald, and white. Sea Salt paint by Sherwin-Williams will always have a special place in my heart. Blush will always to me be the most soothing color of all, and it's on the walls of my studio (Moxie by Behr!). In my paintings, I don't stick to a specific palette, but I do try to be very thoughtful about my color combinations. For lettering compositions, give me basic black and white any day.

What's your favorite piece of design advice?

My biggest piece of advice is this: The survivors are the innovators. I started hand-lettering when the pool was very small. If I constantly looked around at the world of calligraphers now, I would be so overwhelmed with feelings of worry and inadequacy. But 99 percent of the time, I'm not. I love looking at things differently. And when I look at the success of my friends, I believe this is the shared trait. Evolve. This could be offering more, honing in more, or learning more, but you cannot both thrive and stay stagnant.

What has been your biggest design challenge?

I'd say that my personal style is, in general, more eccentric than many of the people I aim to serve. I understand that it's one thing to see something and love it, but another to want to invest in it and incorporate it into your space. It's fun for me to take the design sense and gifts I have and channel them into the homes of the people I'd like to serve. Finding this balance can be challenging, but it's also one of my greatest privileges!

What is your proudest design moment?

It would most definitely be every time I see a collection come together. The photo shoots Laura Kathryn and I do together feel like payday—to see the completed pieces printed, to get to style them (one of my favorite parts!) and to envision them in people's homes is just so rewarding. Professionally, it is such a blessing to have been a part of calligraphing the covers of my friends' books, most recently Shauna Niequist's Present Over Perfect and Myquillyn Smith’s Cozy Minimalist Home.

What are your favorite sources for decor or supplies?

Thrift, thrift, and more thrift. Anthropologie and the East State Antique Mall [in Illinois] will always be my happy places! I also really like H&M Home and Etsy for unique finds. As far as supplies, I'll take whatever I can get. Once I created an entire collection with Target acrylic craft paint. Never think that you need expensive supplies to let your inner artist shine!

How has your style evolved over time?

As the years have gone on, I've found great freedom in striving for a goal of perfectly imperfect. I'm less concerned with getting it right, and more concerned with making work that's engaging. It takes away so much pressure!

What are you working on right now?

Right now I'm working on creating art for this year's holiday collection! We shoot in August, and the collection launches on Halloween night. This always marks the beginning of what truly is the most wonderful time of the year for Lindsay Letters!

How do you make projects kid- and family-friendly?

Being a wife and mama is always at the center of my heart and mind. It's my mission to create art that will bring people life and hope! I think surrounding yourself with positive words can be a real game-changer. My mother-in-law encouraged me to actually read my canvases and prints out loud to my daughter. I had a lot of anxiety when my kids were newborns, but walking around my house rocking them, whispering words of life and encouragement over them (and me!) brought me so much peace. And now we read them together. It's my hope that this can happen in many of my customer's homes.


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