A couple of weeks ago, I reconnected with a friend of mine and gave her un update on my last 18 months in Australia. After talking to her, I thought of sharing my thoughts with all of you. The unique (and not so unique) situation of this Pandemic, is that no matter where you are in the world right now, there are many chances you can relate to my reality, and by learning about it, I hope we’ll feel closer to one another.

Last year, we were in lockdown for nearly seven months. By the end of 2020, many people…


Recently, Dominique Falla asked me to be part of Typism’s new podcast series, and talk about the concept of inner compass. After the recording was done, I realised that the notes I prepared for our interview could be valuable for many designers in the visual communication field, and not only for the ones interested in lettering. Below are my notes for anyone who’d find that useful.

What exactly is an inner compass?

For me, an inner compass is a set of principles to guide you through life and work, and to help you understand what things work and what things don’t work for you.

It is…


“Privilege is when you think that something is not a problem because it’s not a problem for you personally” by David Gaider.

It’s hard for me to summarise the last few weeks. Discomfort, shame and pain while taking an introspective look at myself and acknowledging my privilege. Discomfort, shame and pain while learning, unlearning, and taking responsibility of my actions.

What now?

Be actively antiracist, and become a better human being as well as a better designer.

This month’s article is a collection of resources to help you reflect, do and undo, and act intentionally.

10 Steps to non-optical allyship by Mireille Cassandra Charper

1. Understanding what optical allyship is.

“Allyship that only serves at the surface level to platform the ‘ally’, it makes a statement but doesn’t go beneath the surface and…


My father recently asked me: “If you could travel back in time, where would you go?” I mentioned it to my dear friend Danielle Brodie and she brilliantly reflected “Back in time to when we had a dozen kids because contraception was not an option? Or when we couldn’t vote? Or when epidural and period cups were not invented?…”

Dad, I only want to travel to the future, where women’s safety, equal opportunities and representation is no longer a dream but a reality. Where men AND women support women.

The image above is a homage to all creative women who…


In honour of International Women’s Day, and in solidarity with women in Spain, I want to show my face and give my support to ALL creative women out there.

Photo credit: Peter Tarasiuk

Many people tell me that I’m always happy and smiley, but let’s make it clear: This is a personal decision I make every morning, and not a reflection of an easy and light-hearted life.

As a white woman born in the western side of the planet, I have as many reasons to be happy as to be sad, angry and frustrated.

I’M HAPPY because I consider myself extremely privileged to be surrounded by people who care about me and for being able to do what I love.


A few weeks ago I was approached by a client who asked me to participate in a pitch:

“This is a lifestyle focused range and aimed at all women… Think active wear, modern, cool, impactful, fun, graphic, inspiring. The designs must resonates with the brand. Please don’t use components that are not originally your own work.

I’ve been advised that we can only pay designers who’s individual works get chosen to go to print. The designs will then belong to us forever to do with as they will.”

My first reaction was to ignore the message completely, but a week…


First of all, I hope you and all your family are safe and healthy.

In the last two months many things have happened, and it seems like change is the only certainty.

My mood is a total roller coaster. I have moments when I’m truly enjoying the isolation, and the forced opportunity to slow down. I’m having long sleeps, cooking healthy meals, and almost feelings ecstatic.

I have other moments when I feel extremely worried about my parents in Spain, and I have nightmares about the possibility of them getting sick and me not being able to fly to see…


Last month, I started to teach calligraphy and typography at RMIT university. Like any new job, the first weeks have been pretty intense trying to be on top of everything, and trying to remember over one hundred student names.

Being surrounded by so much cultural diversity, have made me reflect on my own background and upbringing.

I grew up in a small beach town facing the Mediterranean Sea. At the age of sixteen, I had my first non-traditional meal at a Chinese restaurant, and I thought that this was the most exciting experience ever!

During my first year at university…


This letter was intended to go out in early January but this month, I changed my mind and decided to send it earlier to wrap up my year and reflect on the good, the bad and the in between.

A while ago, I listened to an interview with Tim Ferriss in which he talks about “The Jar of Awesome”. If you — like myself — have One Bad experience and Plenty of Good Ones, and feel like The Bad experience overpowers everything else, then you probably want to implement The Jar of Awesome in your life.

Recycle an empty glass…

Maria Montes

Barcelona born, Naarm (Melbourne) based multilingual, multicultural independent lettering designer, illustrator and calligraphy educator. mariamontes.net

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