Emily is a Saint Louis based lettering artist & graphic designer selling hand lettered products in local shops and online. She has collaborated on lettering projects with established brands. Emily is a design dork who has a love for typography heavy pieces of work. She has created a variety of Saint Louis based designs, some of which can be seen with our #314TOGETHER collaboration.

Photo credit: Joan Fisher 

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Black Otter is the art and design of Nathan Jeffords.

I am a senior graphic designer by trade with an emphasis in screen-printed design, small-business branding, mark-making, illustration, concepting, copy-writing, painting and most passionately, hand-lettering! I have tried over the last 10 years to develop a diverse and wholistic approach to style, pushing myself to adapt to what will be the best voice for my client. But, while the style and medium may differ depending on the needs, the underlying philosophy of Black Otter work is always present – balance. A balance of professional focus with personal human-to-human communication, between adventurous expression and thoughtful intention, and between listening and creating. This is how “Black Otter” came to be, it is a design philosophy that comes from a combination of the “blackletter” style of letterform and the sigil of my family crest. Blackletter letterforms are a balance between bold thick swaths and light delicate strokes. They have a visual duality that intrigues and engages the reader to look more closely at every form. Though the word is legible, it slows the reader from glancing over the word and encourages them to really see each character for its unique strength and beauty- to search deeper for the story in the otherwise mundane. While the river otter is the spirit of both who I strive to be as a person in life, as well as in my work. The otter understands the importance of “play” in everything they do, yet are still fierce in the face of adversity. They stand their ground by keeping a unified community and strong family, and yet they continue to explore constantly, turning stones and never settling in one place or way. They steward the world around them and sustain it with life. The river speaks, and they listen– “Be both, a passenger to the world around you, and the force that helps to carve it.”