Nestled in the high corn of rural Illinois, you’ll find the farmhouse that’s home to Magpie Paper Works. If the foundry’s owner and sole designer, Jessica McCarty, isn’t tucked inside designing typefaces, she’s more than likely out chicken wrangling and apple picking.
Jessica left behind agency life in 2010, opting instead to create her own studio. Her first font, Saissant, a rough, kinetic calligraphy script, was a non-traditional typeface that was almost instantly very popular. “I created Saissant,” she says, “because I was working on a client’s project and needed a font that looked truly handmade and wild, only to discover that there weren’t really any options available at the time. Being a good Midwestern farm-girl, I figured that if I couldn’t find what I was looking for, I should make it instead. The rest was history!”
The self-taught designer approaches each project with a strong background in calligraphy and typographic illustration; a toolset that brings a hand-lettered feel to each of her typefaces. This is especially true for Jessica’s best selling font, Ondise: a calligraphy font with robust Opentype features and a warm, fresh and charming vibe.
Jessica says that she’s seen her fonts used in everything from logos and wedding invitations to West Elm catalogs and even in the movie adaptation of The Great Gatsby. “It’s wonderful to have full creative freedom,” she says, “and I adore collaborating directly with clients to help them get the most out of their font purchases.”