'She Is' - A Modern Calligraphy Series by Yasmin Li

Date: 01 Mar 2019


Just in time for International Women's day, we're kicking off the month of March with an empowering Modern Calligraphy exhibition by local hand-lettering artist, Yasmin Li Designs

We caught up with her to chat about the inspirations behind her work, how she got into the world of hand-lettering, and her visions for the future. 


How do you gather inspiration for your work? What inspired you to create your 'She Is' print series?

I would consider myself quite a spiritual person, and so my faith is really foundational to a lot of my prints - it inspires and underlines everything I do. When I'm writing or painting words and phrases, this is part of my journaling process and helps me reflect, so I guess I'm inspired by my own thoughts and beliefs. Taking time out for introspection like this is something I believe everyone needs in their life. It helps me really connect with myself and fully process the good and bad that life inevitably brings.

I also have a huge passion for female empowerment, especially in the workplace. I'm keen to see more women in places of leadership and influence. This inspired my series of 'She Is' prints that are being exhibited. I think as women we often define or consider ourselves for what 'we aren’t' or 'haven’t got'. 'She Is', for me, was something I messily painted as I reflected on all things I am, and that women are. Women are so incredible and I’m excited to see women empower each other - and themselves - in this new movement of freedom. 


Can you tell us a bit about your background, and how you got into the world of calligraphy and lettering?

To be honest, it was by chance! I guess you could say I’ve always had a passion for stationery - or particularly, the feel of pens. However, my background is not the least bit creative; I studied a masters in Chemistry and now work as a Senior Analyst for a digital marketing firm, m7eaning.

That said, I’ve always had an eye and appreciation for detail and loved calligraphy, though it was never something I thought I could do. In a beautiful moment, I met an amazing Canadian hand-letterer (the broader term for calligraphy and brush lettering) who showed me her scribbles prints - I was in love. She taught me the basics of brush lettering, and something within me just jumped with excitement. I wasn't very good at it and knew I wanted learn more, so I did a one off workshop - like the ones I'll be hosting and Leman Locke - and now here we are. Since then, I've just practised by myself, escaping to my favourite coffee shop (Treves & Hyde) every lunch break. I've always done it for my own pleasure and never with a business incentive in mind.


Your exhibited works and classes focus on Modern Calligraphy, as opposed to other styles of lettering. What is it about Modern Calligraphy that appeals to you?

When I started this journey I was only interested in brush lettering, but I wasn’t able to find any classes at the time. I opted for a Modern Calligraphy course instead - but I'm so glad I learned this way around. Modern Calligraphy teaches you all the basics you need for any kind of lettering you want to pursue. I am so much better at brush lettering now because I nailed the modern calligraphy technique when I started! I would always recommend that beginners start with Modern Calligraphy and go from there.


What's your next project / how do you see your work developing in the future? 

I’m really keen to explore more messy and minimal designs, as I think this is where the industry is headed. Currently I work with brands doing pop-up calligraphy events in stores and hotels, but I’d really love to start partnering with brands to do more digital work, branding campaigns and so on. I'd like to spend some time playing around with different textures and materials to see how I can push myself creatively and achieve new styles. Depending on the feedback and engagement with my Modern Calligraphy Workshop, I would also love to launch some brush lettering courses in the near future. Let’s see what happens!


A Modern Calligraphy Series by Yasmin Li Designs is being exhibited at Leman Locke from 1st March - 11th April. Yasmin's first Calligraphy Workshop is running on 2nd March. 

Book onto a calligraphy class with Yasmin here >