A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life of Dana Tanamachi-Williams

by Grace Bonney

DT DS Portrait
When I first heard about Dana Tanamachi-Williams, she burst onto the scene with some of the most beautiful chalkboard art and lettering I’d ever seen. Her work quickly became a favorite of brands and publications like The Ace Hotel, Tommy Hilfiger, West Elm, O Magazine and Time Magazine and last year she designed a line of products for Target. I’ve been inspired by not just her work and process, but her business vision as well. Dana has grown and expanded her business to include all manners of design and lettering and this fall she’ll release her first book, DIY Type (50+ Typographic Stencils for Decorating, Crafting, and Gifting), too! I’m always inspired by someone who has such a clear vision and tackles their work life with such creativity and excitement. So today I’m thrilled to share behind-the-scenes look at a day in the life of Dana, which includes a healthy does of stripes (the ‘official wardrobe’ of Tanamachi Studio) and watercolor drawings- two things I can never get enough of. Thanks so much to Dana for sharing her day with us. xo, grace

Click through for the full post after the jump!

DT DS 01
“I’ve been a french press girl ever since working at Louise Fili Ltd. I feel extra fancy today since we picked these strawberries from a farm upstate over the weekend! The cherries are in season and perfectly sweet.”

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“Time to pick out today’s outfit. According to my wardrobe options, I think the unofficial uniform of Tanamachi Studio must be stripes.”

DT DS 03
“Today, I have to hop into work mode earlier than usual, as I have a big deadline this week. Here’s my studio at the beginning of the day—nice and neat! Check back in the afternoon, it might be a mess.”

DT DS 04
“Here’s a sneak peek of a fun project I’m working on!”

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“Midday, I have to dig up some old sketches and take a photo of them for the Juxtapoz Magazine Instagram feed… which will then show up on the Design*Sponge blog. So meta :)”

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“I’m waiting for some feedback from a client, so I do a quick watercolor. This is one of my favorite hobbies and I try to do a couple each week.”

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“Here’s that messy desk I told you about!”

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“For some reason, I’m not super hungry for lunch (I will regret not eating a proper meal when 4:30 rolls around and I am hangry as hell) so I snack on a mango Chia Pod. I’m browsing through the first issue of Trouvé magazine, as Amanda so kindly sent it to me to review.”

DT DS 09
“SURPRISE DELIVERY! A messenger delivers the first stack of my upcoming stencil book, DIY TYPE, and I’m legitimately freaking out! No one’s around today, so I have to take a selfie with my computer. Sorry for the terrible quality.”

DT DS 10
“Later in the afternoon, I’ve got to quickly hop on the Franklin Avenue shuttle to catch up with a friend in Bed Stuy. On my way, I pluck some greens which I’ll use to make sunprints tomorrow.”

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“I’m usually at my friend Jessica’s every Tuesday evening for girl time, but she’s been in California for the last month. We finally reunite over wine and snacks in her backyard. Say hello, baby Reed!”

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“Brady (my husband) picks me up and we head to an izakaya on Vanderbilt Ave for some shishito peppers, skewers, and a rice bowl.”

DT DS 13
“We head back home and I fix us some drinks while Brady reads his favorite cooking books. A Negroni for him, wine for her. ”

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  • I find it so funny when she says, “I feel extra fancy today since we picked these strawberries from a farm upstate over the weekend!,” because here I’m living in Puerto Rico where the healing of our economy is in agriculture and yet most people still associate it with blue collar labor. I posted this article on the Facebook page of Mi Puerto Rico Verde so people can see that they have it all wrong.

  • I love love love Dana Tanamachi-Williams! I was inspired by her designs and presentation at the HOW Design Live conference this spring. I can’t wait for her upcoming stencil book to come out! I’ll be first in line :) Thanks so much D*S for sharing this!

  • I actually first learned about Dana on D*S a few years ago, when she was featured in “What’s In Your Toolbox.” I’ve been following her beautiful work ever since – so wonderful to see her career grow and flourish!

  • Dana is a design rock-star. I’m thrilled to learn of her upcoming book, and loved this behind-the-scenes peek into her process and future projects. Thank you to everyone involved in taking the time to share this — and keep on keeping on, Dana! :)

    Ps. When I’m feeling “extra fancy” I plan to purchase her book and use it towards my own projects.

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