When it comes to her designs, Heather Hardison carved herself a very specific niche. A letterer and illustrator, she specializes in sign painting with her work echoing a vintage sort of aesthetic that has sadly been neglected when we were introduced to plastic and neon signs.
Born and raised in North Carolina, Hardison graduated from College of Design at North Carolina State University in 2009, with a degree in Art & Design. After graduation and with little prospect of getting a job in the midst of the financial crisis, she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to pursue a creative career.
“I knew I needed to learn more, and specialize to kickstart my career, so I sought out an apprenticeship at New Bohemia Signs to learn about lettering and sign painting,” she later recalled in an interview with The Design Kids. “I slowly grew my sign painting and illustration skills in tandem,” she adds.
Her intuition proved right and job offers came pouring in. “These days I keep busy with my illustration and sign painting jobs,” says Hardison. “But I’m always looking for ways to bring those skills together. So far, murals, and food packaging have been two of my favorite ways to accomplish that.”
Her tip to other aspiring creatives? Find your voice and refine it, instead of following style trends. “When work is all about style, it’s not that interesting,” she notes. “It also becomes dated and oversaturated very quickly. Style is sort of like an Instagram filter that can be applied to the work; it’s very surface level.” Take a look at some of her timeless pieces in the gallery below.