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Passion Projects

Illustration by Jessica Levitz

Charming pen-and-ink drawings, playful lettering, and sophisticated marketing materials populate the portfolio of American University alumna Jessica Levitz. After graduating from AU in 2010 with a double major in graphic design and communication, she spent four years working as a graphic and user interface designer for Yelp and other San Francisco tech companies.

In 2014, she opened her own freelance graphic design business, June Letters Studio, and today her illustrations and designs can be found in the pages of publications including GQ and Vanity Fair.

Can you describe your design style?

My style is handcrafted, feminine, thoughtful, and a bit whimsical.

Where do you draw your inspiration?

From everywhere! I am inspired by my surroundings in the San Francisco Bay area, nature, vintage memorabilia, Pinterest, creative friends, art history...the list goes on!

If you could illustrate anything, what would you pick?

In my dreams I would have an illustration on the cover of The New Yorker. But in reality, I would love to design, illustrate, and hand-letter a book someday soon.

Describe your typical workday.

Usually I start with graphic design tasks in the morning, and switch to illustration, lettering, sketching, and brainstorming in the afternoon.

What advice would you give to young, aspiring designers?

Always have a side project or passion project. While working at tech companies for my first few years out of school, I always made sure to make time for practicing my illustration and lettering skills. Now as a full- time freelancer, those skills are a huge part of my regular work. If I had never taken on those side-projects and shared them on my blog, I might never have found such an artistically fulfilling career.