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About

McLetters Type Foundry and Design Studio is owned and operated by Tom McAuliffe. Here is his story:

It all started in kindergarten. I remember sitting in the corner of the room, not interested in anything anyone else was doing. All that could hold my attention were the colors and forms of a laminated sheet that was taped to the inside of a fire-escape door. On the sheet were the flags of the world. I remember being fond of Brazil, and drawing it over and over again with colored pencils.

Throughout my childhood I was always pulled towards drawing. In elementary school I would write peoples names in various ways, and then go home and draw little cities in my bedroom. In middle school, my friends and I would walk to the library after we got out to go eat chicken wings and play football on the town green, but what I really looked forward to doing was searching up NHL logos on the internet and try to re-draw them.

Then in high school I became obsessed with the graphics of ESPN Magazine (rest in peace, no longer in physical publication) and creating mock-covers involving pictures of my brother.

I entered college as an economics major, convinced by my mom that that was the best option. Yet after seeing my friends’ design homework one day, I decided to switch to a communications degree. Shortly after, I got the opportunity to join a student design group on campus, which was run by a guy named Tyler Finck.

You may or may not know him. He makes all kinds of fonts and logos for people and companies (he’s done many of the labels for Ithaca Beer Company). It also was the first time I’d seen a full-grown adult with the habit of creating things outside of work, just for the fun of it. He’s made his own music, album covers, websites, and all sorts of design content. Over the course of a year, I would sit in his office for hours at a time peppering him with questions, whether he liked it or not. He’s certainly one of the most responsible for the path I’m on. He taught me how to make fonts, how to get a website going, and how to understand what looks good.

One summer, I took an internship in Boston working for a design firm. It was cool, but there wasn’t nearly as much creative control as I was used to with personal projects and freelancing.

This is why I’ve opted to establish my own studio. More freedom, more control, I don’t have to wear pants, perfect.

Please reach out if in need of design or advice. 🙂

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– Tom McAuliffe