GD – Jessica Harkcom

Jessica Harkcom

Artist Statement

This project is a redesign of all fifty state welcome signs, balancing consistency with personalization. Highway signage is typically consistent and follows a system for multiple purposes. The colors are important because that’s how they group by category, and the text size and font is important to make it legible when a car is quickly driving by. As a nation, we tend to be very individualistic, and I wanted that to show through these signs by personalizing them to the state, while still keeping them “United” as a cohesive system. It was important to me when creating these that a sign for Texas, which was inspired by western signage gives off the style of a western saloon sign, was different to a sign such as California, which was more inspired by its carefree nature. To achieve this, I lettered every state name until I reached the desired composition where I then moved onto creating the illustrations so I could finally piece everything together digitally. To make them consistent, I utilized the typeface Helvetica as a basis for all the lettering, as well as the staple for the typography on the signs. In order to make them different, all the illustrations were based on different important elements or symbols of the state, as well as the lettering that was inspired by each state as well. 

(Click to Read)“The United States Welcome Signs, A Cohesive Re-design”, book, 2020

About the Designer

Jessica Harkcom is a Graphic Designer from Laurel, Maryland who studied at York College of Pennsylvania. Along with her major, she also picked up a minor in Fine Art that focuses on hand making. Her work has been shown in the Cora Miller and Brossman galleries in Evelyn and Earl Wolf Hall on the York College campus. She has a love for all thing typography, lettering, patterns, and doodles that she often utilizes throughout her work. 

Pecha Kucha Video