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Gemma O’Brien

Designer & Artist


Over the past 10 years, Australian designer and artist, Gemma O’Brien, has taken her passion for typography and built a flourishing career around drawing letters. Her bold type, expressive calligraphy and detailed illustration can be seen in advertising campaigns, editorial publications and large-scale murals in galleries and interiors around the world. A number of her projects have received the Award of Typographic Excellence from the New York Type Directors Club, in 2015 she was recognised as an ADC Young Gun and in 2016, named one of PRINT Magazine’s New Visual Artists: 15 under 30. She has collaborated with numerous global brands and publications including Apple, Adobe, Westfield, Volcom Stone, Oreo, QANTAS, L’Oréal, Entertainment Weekly, Playboy Magazine and The New York Times. Beyond her commercial work, Gemma O’Brien is a regular speaker at international conferences and also hosts hand-lettering workshops at design schools, agencies and events.

Session: The Cult of the Handmade in the Digital Age

Despite starting her design career in the digital age, Gemma O’Brien fell in love with typography in the letterpress studio. Since then, she has become well-known for her love of analogue techniques: calligraphy, illustrative lettering, and large-scale hand-painted murals.

For Gemma, the growing commercial demand for hand-lettering sparked an interest in the lure of the handmade and the value of craft and authenticity in a digital age.

At PromaxBDA Asia 2018, Gemma will tell the story of her big break in the design world, reflect on how technology shapes her process, and consider how working by hand can reconnect us to the core of humanity.