As right-brain thinkers with nine-to-five jobs can attest, keeping your creativity flowing after—or before—work hours can be personally rewarding. While client work is often creatively challenging and fulfilling by many accounts, it might not always be the exact creative thirst-quencher you’re looking for. That’s where personal projects come in. Whether your passion is photography, writing, screen printing, extra freelance work, illustration, branding, or even dog walking, side projects offer a different sense of satisfaction.
That brings us to Allegra Fisher, a lead designer here at Moment. She’s worked with clients like American Express, Bloomberg, and Philips and previously was a designer for Third Ward, at Bureau Blank, and earlier in her career, a work scholar at Aperture. While all that experience has contributed to Allegra’s serious design and consulting chops, so have her side projects. She helped create the identity for a friend’s designer menswear brand, is designing a forthcoming cookbook of recipes from a Syrian refugee, is an avid reader, and regularly attends the ballet.
In addition to all of that, once a year, Allegra finds time to design and print a new letterpress calendar edition. As a designer and strategist that primarily works with and creates digital tools, Allegra says it’s cathartic to work with paper and ink. To find out more about Allegra’s calendar project, I asked her a few questions and to share a some photos.
How long have you been creating your calendars?
2017 is my sixth year of letterpress calendars.
The first calendar for 2012 was a set of four prints for winter, spring, summer, and fall. Each season had a pattern I designed and the months were displayed in a fairly traditional format. Since 2013 though, I’ve done the full year on a single sheet at the same size. I’ve become more playful with what gets identified, like the days of the week. For example, 2014 had the months in vertical columns that were aligned to the days of the week. For 2016 I bolded every Sunday even though the days all flowed together and for 2017 there are no markers or indicators of the days of the week.
What’s your fascination with calendars?
I am interested in time, especially the discrepancies between how we experience it and how we record it. Over the years the calendars have become more abstract and less useful as a tool, in contrast to how we use calendars every day. If you are interested in learning more about the history of our calendar, this is a good place to start.
I am also interested in repetition so an annual project has been a great way to challenge myself to find new ways to visualize the same content. Hanne Darboven has been a big inspiration to me. Right now I have no plans to ever stop making calendars and I would love to continue to explore ways to mark time—making a clock is a dream project of mine.
As a designer that mostly works digitally, why’d you choose letterpress?
I learned letterpress in college and have always enjoyed the process. An annual project gives me a fun way to continue to print now that I am less connected to it in a day-to-day way.
What’s driven you to keep it going for so many years?
I give out the calendars as gifts to family and friends every year. This past year I was a little behind schedule on finishing them and a few people reached out concerned that there wouldn’t be another calendar. It means a lot to me that friends have saved the collection as it grows and look forward to the next one each year. I love going over to friends’ apartments and seeing how they choose to display them. Some have them framed, some pinned up on the refrigerator, some circle important dates like their kid’s birthday, or some show them all side by side. I love the range of how they get displayed or used.
Allegra’s calendars aren’t currently for sale. Your best bet is to befriend her, or, better yet, become her co-worker (Moment is hiring) and she might just pencil you in for 2018.