Friday, May 24, 2013

inspiration...Into the Wild with Scout's Honor Co.

Happy Friday!

I am so excited to have Annemarie of Scout's Honor Co. share how nature inspires the beautiful work she does for her Vermont stationery and design company. We met a couple years ago when I asked her to lunch to hear her story of how she jumped from a full time job to starting her own business. I love that her brand has such a strong point of view and a natural hand to the illustrations—she does everything with pen and paper! Now that I no longer living in Vermont, I live vicariously through her gorgeous Instagram shots and her growing product line of cards and posters.


inspiration imagery courtesy of Scout's Honor Co.

Why did you decide to start Scout's Honor Co.?

I have always loved paper and have dreamed of starting a stationery business for as long as I can remember (while most kids sold lemonade, I sold handmade cards). Growing up, I was really into lettering while not really knowing what it was or understanding that it was a genre of its own outside of calligraphy. A few years back, lettering started showing up more and more in the design world. It all just sort of clicked and I finally knew what direction I wanted my work to go in (which prior to that, was admittedly all over the place). I started practicing on the side, took on a few projects, and launched Scout's Honor Co. in early 2011. I wanted to create a paper company that was filled with hand-lettering and illustration and that celebrated classic Americana, adventure, and exploration in a new way. I feel like I'm just getting started!

Nature seems to be a big inspiration for your brand. What aspects of nature inspires you and how does that translate into design details?

Nature in itself is incredibly inspiring... you really cannot outdo Mother Nature when it comes to color, shape, and texture. As a designer, however, what really fascinates me are all of the systems that humans have created to help classify, navigate, and enjoy the great outdoors. I am talking about trail signs, maps, guide books, symbol systems, and so on. They are designed to serve a clear purpose - but in their simplicity and straightforwardness - end up being really beautiful. Many of the systems have a hand-made element to them as well, which I love. In terms of how that translates into my own work, I am constantly trying to figure out how to take these classic ideas and make them fresh.... put them in a different context, write them in an unexpected lettering style, make them a bright color. I have also learned a ton about editing from these systems... they remind me to pare things down and keep it simple.

I really love your The Adventure Begins poster and have it displayed in my office. What messages/art do you have up in your office to motivate and excite you?

Thank you! Love hearing that. I am grateful to work in a shared office space called Three West Collective in Burlington - so from the get-go it's already filled with motivating people. In addition to that, I like to surround myself with vintage finds, graphic art, and bright colors that inspire me... artwork by Tom Slaughter, Jim Mezei, and Neuarmy / vintage finds from local antique stores, including an old American flag, naval epaulets, and lots of letterpress blocks spelling out my biz name and initials / vintage paper goods from Three Potato Four and Paper Pastries / wood boxes fromVermont Farm Table that I use for storage and display. When I need to buy supplies, tools, or storage for my office - I try to get something beautiful and well-made that will last a long time. If I stick to this rule, most everything around me can hopefully be inspiring. 

In terms of a specific message, I am releasing a new "Get outside" print in my summer collection that I think I made just to remind myself! Hah! It's easy to get sucked into computerville for far too long.

Do you have a favorite spot in Vermont where you like to go to think and/or design new product?

Oh man, so hard to choose! I feel lucky to live in such a beautiful state where inspiration seems to lie in all directions. Being in Burlington, I love knowing that I can be on the shores of Lake Champlain within minutes. It's a wonderful place to take in the view, soak up all the nautical goodness, find some peace, and people watch. It's a large lake so you can seek out a quiet experience or a lively one, depending on your mood. Shelburne Farms is one of the most magical places in Vermont... it's impossible to leave there uninspired. The mountains are a great place to get away as well and offer an active connection to nature through all seasons. Stowe is my home mountain. One of my favorites things to do, however, is to just get in the car and drive. Vermont is full of hidden gems so I'm bound to find a new place I've never seen before, a beautiful barn, or some incredible signage. I am happiest when out exploring, taking photos, and looking for typography inspiration. Vermonters seem to have mastered the art of the simple, hand-painted sign which makes me endlessly excited! 

What do you use to create your sketches?

After much trial and error, I think I've found a set of supplies that works well for me. Here are my current favorites:


Sakura Pigma Micron Pen : I use the 01 weight... perfect for fine details and refining larger sketches.

Sharpie Pen (Fine) : This is my everyday go-to. It's a great weight for drawing larger lettering styles and also works well for writing out supporting text (it's not too fine so it scans nicely). I like that the Sharpie has a strong tip that does not bend easily like other brands (perhaps I am pressing too hard?! haha).

Prismacolor Premier Double Ended Art Marker : This is the newest tool in my kit and I love it. I've been using the thicker, chisel tip side to try out a new lettering style for my upcoming summer collection.

General's White Charcoal Drawing Pencil : These are so fun to play around with and a great alternative to chalk. You can get a bit more detail with them, plus I love their cedar casing. I use these when I need a break from the computer and just want to mess around (i.e. create Instagram messages with them!)


Clearprint No. 1000HP-4 Fade-Out Design and Sketch Vellum (grid) : High-quality, translucent vellum grid paper. Makes all the difference.

Borden & Riley #234 Paris Bleedproof Paper for Pens : Really smooth, awesome paper for pens + markers.

Canson Pro Layout Marker Paper : Quality marker paper that is more readily available in local shops when I need to stock up fast.

Strathmore 300 Series Tracing Paper : Great for layering and adding elements to existing designs.

instagram: scoutshonorco
twitter: ScoutsHonorCo

Thank you so much, Annemarie, for sharing your inspirations and thoughts on nature!

Enjoy today.

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