23 February 2020
4 Mins Read
Yemi Fetch: The Making of a Lettering Pro
Yemi Fetch, school-trained as a mathematician-statistician, but now a revered lettering artist, creative designer, author and facilitator at Orange Academy.
Due to speech impairment, Yemi started learning design at a very tender age, as an escapist means to express himself without the burden of speaking with his classmates. Whatever challenge it meant for a child to rely on art for self-expression, Yemi took up that gauntlet and fashioned it into a profession. And so, with the help of videos, blog posts and other digital resources, the professional journey of one of Nigeria’s finest creative designers was set in motion.
A professional designer of over 10 years, Yemi has been featured on Abduzeedo and Envato Tuts+, among others. He has worked for famous brands like Bet9ja, IKEDC, Queen’s Danish Biscuit and Honeywell, and has worked with the likes of Purple Crib, SuchBrand, Lexain, Femi, and Jide Odukoya.
He started out as an Art Director at SevenSeries Idea where he worked for 5 years with an active supervision of print design. Afterwards, he moved on to start his Lagos-based Freak Creative, where, as Creative Director, he researches brand stories and crafts captivating custom lettering that resonate with the target audiences.
Yemi Fetch believes design is meant to solve communication problems, enable brands to control their narratives and allow people to share their stories; painting thoughts and imaginations on canvas. “Design fills a huge communication gap.” he says, “For me, empathy should be at the core of every design.” Specializing in lettering and how it evokes emotions and shapes perception—how it influences behaviours and meaning—Yemi is convinced that the future of typography is bright and promising.
In a quest to find a balance between the practical and the theoretical, Yemi doubles as a design instructor. In that capacity, he interacts with younger designers and habitually challenges them to be curious, meticulous and be interested in the business of design. “You’re not a cat; curiosity won’t kill you” he says. Some of the useful texts and blogs he recommends for upcoming designers include: Thoughts on Design by Paul Rand, Lettering Daily, Ellen Lupton’s Thinking with Type, Type Gang, Good Type, Design is a Job by Mike Monteiro, Handmade Font, Typematters, and most of Malcolm Gladwell’s books on strategy.
Both as teacher and participant, Yemi Fetch’s design process runs through a similar thread: first he receives inspiration, then he identifies the problem, and then he makes sketches to conceptualize his solution. By the time he takes the work through further refinements and illustrations, what follows is a final application of treatments.
Predictably, Yemi draws inspiration from people like Paul Rand, Becca Clason, Hermann Zapf, Steven Bonner and Chris Do. “People inspire me to create because I create for people.” He says. “Also, cultures and environment inspire me.”
He wrote his first book, Lettering Pro, to get more designers to focus on Lettering. This Yemi Fetch, weird and sarcastic, cannot himself focus on any work without his headphones on.