Creating Visual Harmony Through Typographic Exploration and Juxtapositioning with Epi.to.me

In this interview, Singapore-based graphic designer Melina (@Epi.to.me) talks about her unexpected journey into the industry and her penchant for bold, sonically-led designs.

For young, budding designers, the calculated and precise (even in its most chaotic, experimental forms) world of graphic design can be daunting at first. Melina, the Singapore-based graphic designer behind the Instagram account Epi.to.me, “who had very little confidence in the field,” would know that feeling very well.

Epi.to.me graphic designer

“I try to live by this ‘progress over perfection’ motto,” she says. This philosophy immensely helped her personal development, especially when her projects didn’t meet expectations and she was faced with creative blocks. Instead of giving up on her projects, she learned to appreciate the beauty of a work-in-progress and understands that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be shared with the world. Initially, she hadn’t planned to pursue a design career. “I graduated design school thinking it wasn’t what I wanted to pursue. I just didn’t have the ‘eye’ for it back then, and I barely passed my final-year projects,” shares Melina. “ However, the inception of epi.to.me redirected me back to the design path.”

As she was in a transitional phase between jobs, Melina realised that it was probably best to hone her design skills rather than start anew. This led her to create a personal space to practice design and nurture her mental well-being with motivational reminders. This daily practice and interaction with other inspirational designers ignited a newfound passion within her, leading to consistent posting and a growing sense of belonging. 

Epi.to.me graphic designer

Over time, her style has evolved through relentless exploration and experimentation, as she believes that sticking to a specific style can be stifling. “I don’t think there’s value in being in the same limiting box all the time,” says Melina. “With more experimentation, you will discover some methods and processes that you like or don’t like, taking those you like along with you and making them a part of your flair. You have to allow your voice to emerge organically.”

That said, if you look at Melina’s body of work, you can find stylistic alignment in all her work while having a space for experimentation and visual range—specifically in her typography choices. She enjoys juxtaposing big, bold fonts (inspired by Studio Peter van Langen from Amsterdam) with intricate details and small text and finds that technique to work best with her favourite classic sans serif font, Pangram Pangram’s Neue Montreal. “It’s just a very reliable font, works when it’s small, and is even better when it’s blown up,” says Melina, whose other favourite bold fonts are Anton and Rockstar. “I’m always on the lookout for fonts that work especially well with tight tracking for maximum impact. I’ve always been a sans serif gal, but recently, I’m starting to develop a liking for thin serif fonts such as Garamond Premier.”

Epi.to.me graphic designer

As for her palette, she gravitates towards bright, contrasting complementary colours over pastels. This comes as no surprise, given her admiration for Bráulio Amado’s lighthearted and vibrant work and his capability to “transform an unsuspecting iPhone snap into an artwork.” Another designer who inspires Melina with contemporary type and visual combinations is the Beijing-based design duo Menslies, known for their music flyers. 

Much like the duo, Melina is a music enthusiast and prioritises music-related projects such as album artwork and tour posters. “I think it’s the way the music itself serves as fuel for inspiration; it’s always pretty smooth sailing when discussing with clients a direction for the design they’re looking for,” shares Melina. “Usually, I end up having my client’s songs as my earworm for the next few weeks because of how much I play them on repeat during my designing process, and I love it! It’s also always a fulfilling experience to collaborate with clients who share the same passions.”

Epi.to.me graphic designer

For her upcoming projects, Melina looks forward to expanding her portfolio by collaborating with emerging artists and guiding them in shaping their artistic direction from the ground up. In addition to her love for music, Melina seeks inspiration in various locales—nature spots, bookstores, magazine shops, and record stores. These excursions prompt her to step away from her work momentarily, enjoy her surroundings, and jot down her musings for later exploration. And given her love for nature, nowadays, Melina is eager to incorporate real bits of nature into her personal projects through analogue techniques such as printers and scanners. She shares, “a flower’s organic structure is something I want to experiment with as I wish to explore more visual-led designs, especially for prints that I would want in my own living space.”

Thank you Melina for sharing your journey. Keep up with the latest of her work through her Instagram @epi.to.me

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