Hiking the breadcrumb trail of food typography

By Jaime Applegate

“My ideas have always been bigger than me.”

In the second Spotlight Speaker Series of the year on November 8, Danielle Evans took us down the breadcrumb trail of her journey from art school to her coined profession, food typographer. It was a rocky road, and at some points she wanted to give up art altogether. Even her art teacher didn’t seem to have faith in her. Her drawings were good, but not great so she tried her hand at photography next. Then sculpture, then interiors, then design. Nothing seemed right. Finally, she tried her hand at typography and realized a passion developing. She loved the letterforms and how they conveyed an inherent meaning. Evans explains it this way, “there was a moment when things clicked – the breadcrumbs of my past brought me to this point.”

Evans decided lettering would be her specialty but she wasn’t able to find much work doing the type of design she wanted. With limited money and art supplies, she started lettering with different materials including food. Some of her ideas “just needed to get done” so she started producing the work she loved and posting it on Instagram under the handle @marmaladebleue. After just a few jobs, Target called and commissioned her for a project. After that, her career took off and she went on to do work for Disney, Condé Nast, and Bath & Body Works, just to name a few.

Evans captured the audience at the nearly sold out talk with her “dad joke” humor and inspiring story. She took us through many examples of her work, explaining her process along the way. She starts out with a sketch before getting her hands dirty with the ingredients – some of which she has been able to travel to different states to retrieve. Below is a sketch and final product using mined crab legs and claws.

One thing that stuck with me about Evan’s talk was this, “the work you covet, isn’t always the work you create.”

You can “covet” the design work of Danielle Evans, but that might not be the path you are supposed to take. You might even need to invent your own niche as she did with food typography. Evans did, however, recommend playing with your food and creating your own art if you are at all curious (just not on new marble countertops – they will never look the same!)

Finish out the Spotlight Speaker Series with us in 2018. You’ll even get to hear from one of Evan’s design idols – Tad Carpenter on May 16. You won’t want to miss it!