Inspiring Designer: Lily Boyce of Lily Paper Co.

September 23, 2016 by Erin Behan

Lily Boyce officially started her hand-lettering and calligraphy company, Lily Paper Co., in early 2015 in Washington, D.C., but, looking back, she now realizes that she'd "been doing lettering my whole life without even realizing it," whether doodling, fancifying her study notes, or, as a kid, getting creative during art nights with her mom, an artists and architect.

Inspiring Designer: Lily Boyce of Lily Paper Co
Boyce's "aha" moment came about four years ago as modern calligraphy and hand-lettering started to pop up everywhere from wedding invites to company logos to inspirational home chalkboards and be replicated ad nauseam on Instagram and Pinterest.

"I thought, Wait everyone else does this too? This is so cool. I should really hone my skills and see where I can take this. So it was just an easy transition to turn it into something that I made a little more professionally," Boyce says.

Inspiring Designer: Lily Boyce of Lily Paper Co
A graphic designer who specializes in data visualization (infographics, charts and graphs) for a nonprofit group, Food & Water Watch, during the day, she began to work on her hand-lettering nights and weekends, taking a calligraphy class with Laura Hooper and experimenting with her own style.

"When I first started I tried to be really whimsical and fun and to create a quote-on-quote style, but I quickly realized that that just made things look worse," she says. "You just have to follow how your hand already wants to move and not force it into a style you haven't mastered yet. It's just sort of a continuation of how I really write."

Inspiring Designer: Lily Boyce of Lily Paper Co
Soon her friends started hitting her up for help with save-the-date cards, envelope addressing and "all the little details that go into a wedding." Lettering and custom artwork came next, as did the official launch of her company. As her wedding clients had babies, birth announcements happened too. Boyce has done custom wall art and restaurant menu and chalkboard design, among other projects. See her Instagram for updates on recent work.

The personal side of calligraphy and lettering also appeals to Boyce. "Handcrafted goods are always going to be loved. We are humans. We're tactile we want to feel it and hold it," she says.

For lettering, whether alone or over photos, Boyce starts with her sketchbook, where she draws and finalizes an inked version. If she needs a digital file, she'll then take a photo of it with her iPhone, edit it in Photoshop or use Illustrator to clean it up. But she says it's the feel of the calligraphy nib on paper or the grain of the paper itself that really inspires her work, even if technology is how it all comes together or how it gets shared.

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Erin Behan

Written by Erin Behan

Erin Behan is an L.A.-based writer and editor who considers fine paper one of life's little pleasures.


Visit Distinct Papers to buy high-quality paper or card stock for your next project or to find the right copy paper, correspondence stationery and envelopes.


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