Local graphic designer and hand lettering artist Caroline Staniski started her own business to express her creativity and share it with the Gainesville community.
In 2016, Staniski graduated from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. She wanted to go to graduate school to teach and do graphic design, and was accepted into the Masters of Fine Arts graphic design program at the University of Florida. After being in the program for a year, she realized she wanted a program that was more tactical and would teach her more than just graphic design so she took a leap of faith and switched to the Masters of Science in Entrepreneurship program at UF.
“That’s where I found myself as a person and a business person because I just totally dived into meeting people, collaborating with people, and getting involved with the community.”
When Staniski first started design school in 2013, she joined the American Institute of Graphic Arts. Through that organization she was able to connect with a lot of professionals from the design community and build relationships. She stresses the importance of networking and advises others to start at a young age.
“It is most important to do entrepreneurship as a student because you can take the most risk. You don’t have many responsibilities at that age.”
Over the past couple of years, Staniski’s business has grown and she has worked with several Gainesville businesses, including Exactech and SharpSpring, designing invitations, mural work, specializations, and illustrative work. The secret to her success is subtleness.
“I usually try and give out something beyond a business card, like a sticker that has my Instagram or website on it. It is very subtle so that it’s not in your face, it’s more like here’s a piece of me and my brand to look into in the future.”
Staniski first practiced hand lettering as a hobby then transitioned it into a profession. To master the skill, Staniski would copy font variations and styles until she could do it from scratch. She credits her growth and passion for hand lettering to Jessica Hische, a professional artist and type designer.
“I met her back in 2013 and that’s what sparked me to want to be like her when I grew up. She is like the queen of hand lettering.”
Staniski never saw herself pursuing hand lettering as a child, but her family was always really open with her expressing her creativity from a young age. She advises parents to always support their children’s passions and interests.
“I think parents should allow their children to be able to express themselves through what they do best. So if their child loves graphic design, then they should create a safe space for them to express that and get their hobbies out.”