Custom-made Mugs and Accessories for Software Developers. Made with Love by Nerds, for Nerds!
Founded in 2016 by nerdy couple Anja and Dan, Nerdlettering brings you custom accessories and drinkware for programmers, software developers, and coders alike.
We weren't happy with the generic mugs and mouse pads for software developers we found online. And we decided to do something about it.
So we sat down and came up with fresh & original designs and slogans for our developer accessories.
By buying a Nerdlettering product you're getting something unique, stylish, and made with a lot of dedication and effort. Plus you're supporting an independent maker couple. How great is that?
All of our products are custom-made and printed locally in the United States using state-of-the art Kornit DTG printers. Those bad boys provide amazing and long-lived quality, so you'll be able to enjoy your products for years to come.
These are the faces behind Nerdlettering:
Anja is a freelance graphic designer originally from Italy ("from italy import anja"). Print, branding and packaging design are her passion. She's the creative mastermind behind our custom, handlettered designs that she, well, draws by hand, in painstaking detail... You'd have to see this to believe it. Anja loves popcorn (salty!) and she can spend hours in front of Adobe Illustrator vectorizing stuff.
Dan is a software developer by profession and passion (== a complete geek). His favorite language is Python (wee!) and he's trying to teach the world how to write beautiful and clean Python over at dbader.org and on his YouTube channel. Because he has horrible hand-eye coordination and ball-catching skills, Anja doesn't let him anywhere near the actual design stuff. He just comes up with the nerdy slogans for our products.
How Our Products Are Made
Step 1: Idea Brainstorming
Before a new mug or mouse pad is born the first step is always to come up with a whole bunch of ideas and slogans for the design. This is basically a big brainstorming session and weeks of writing down random ideas on our phones. Then we put them all into one giant Google spreadsheet to decide which design ideas and slogans are worth moving forward to the design draft stage.
Step 2: Design Drafts
Once we've got an idea for a design we want to explore further, Anja sits down for a long time and comes up with several hand-lettered drafts for the design. This process can take a long time. Sometimes we'll quickly settle on a design after just a few iterations. And sometimes it takes days of experimentation to come up with an idea for a design that feels just right. This is mostly Anja's domain (and I think it's incredible watching her work).
Step 3: Vectorizing The Design
After we've got a handlettered "master draft" for the design the next step is to digitize what up until now was basically a painting or a pencil drawing. We've experimented with different methods, like taking photos with various cameras. But in the end we settled on using a Canon scanner to get a high-DPI scan of the paper-based design. Anja then imports the scan into Adobe Illustrator to turn the bitmap image into a vector format suitable for printing on our products. You'd think that these days "vectorizing" a bitmap image would be a solved problem but it is actually crazy how much manual work is still required to get a result that feels right. So this stage can take a long time to get right (And let me tell you, Anja is a huge perfectionist and super detail-oriented.)
Step 4: Adding Color
The next step is to take the vectorized design and to colorize it in order to get it ready for printing. Again we usually try out several color schemes before we settle on one or two that we like. Then it's time to export these files so we can send them of to our printer.
Step 5: Getting Test Prints Done
When we're happy with the digitized design master files we send them off to our printing partner to get a test print done. The facility we work with uses Kornit DTG printers that give a highly detailed and durable result. Getting the test prints made and mailed over to us takes another week or so.
Step 6: Selling It
Finally, after potentially weeks of work and back and forth with different designs it's time to put our new creation up for sale on the Nerdlettering online store. Whew... But once we see our latest creation live on the site and get the first sales notification (or hear feedback from you!) it always feels amazing. That's where all the hard work finally starts to pay off (both emotionally and financially).
Thanks for being a part of it!