Drab verbiage

Staci Janik

{{ videoLinkButton.text }} {{ videoLinkButton.text }}

You may not know the name, but you may recognize her work. Atlanta-based typographer and graphic designer Staci Janik has created custom type, designs, and illustrations for various restaurants and small businesses in Atlanta, and MailChimp, the email marketing service provider that’s 7 million users strong. Whether using Adobe Illustrator®, a letterpress, or a pencil and pen, her unique aesthetic always shines through. “My style is 50 percent whimsical with minimal visuals and illustrations of the clumsy persuasion, and 50 percent meticulous layouts, grids, and typesetting,” Janik explains. “I try not to be too serious, but I also try not to be too playful.”


Medium: Typography
Location: San Francisco
Date: 2015

That design style was perfect for adding typographic flourish to Dolby® patent language displayed on the walls of Dolby's legal services department. “The goal was to make the type contrast with the language. So visually, you have this neat thing to look at even if you decide not to read it. Eventually I was able to use certain fonts and words to give subjective cues for the interpretation of the patent without being too complex,” Janik says. She may have broken some self-subscribed rules of typography — for Janik, good typographic design is “a critical interpretation of a message’s meaning” — so she had to force herself not to spend too much time trying to understand the patent language and have fun with it instead. In the end, the once-drab verbiage was elevated to a beautiful work of art.

And after having let loose, she let the analytical side come back out a bit, keeping that balance in check. “I'm interested in language and how ephemeral it is. I like seeing how that changes when you design something.... The language is captured visually and becomes observable,” Janik shares. “Some people will see the patent wall every day,” she says, and she wonders what it will become visually to them.