Letter Rip

Letter Rip

Letter Rip is a monthly gathering for people in Birmingham who like to draw letters. The event is free, and we’re spelling out all of the details below. 

Nolen Strals, Associate Creative Director at Telegraph, is an organizer of Letter Rip, along with Jacob Schwartz, Senior Art Director at Industrial Strength Marketing, and Brandon Watkins, Co-Founder at Yellowhammer Creative. Nolen quickly befriended Jacob and Brandon after moving to Birmingham, and they bonded over a shared love of hand lettering. 

While living in Baltimore, Nolen participated in a lettering group called Baltimore Letters. The casual social gathering consisted mostly of people with lettering as part of their profession. Nolen, Jacob and Brandon wanted to organize a similar event in Birmingham, and a text conversation led them to naming the event “Letter Rip”. They slapped the energetic pun on a poster to spread the word, and the first meet-up commenced at Yellowhammer quickly after. 

A post meet-up survey following the first Letter Rip gathering showed that most attendees wanted to learn more about lettering. Since then, meet-ups have covered basic foundational elements of lettering and psychedelic lettering. 

Though they’ve covered the basics, beginners are always invited. Letter Rip welcomes all skill levels of fellow designers, non-designers, friends, strangers, co-workers, and anyone else interested. 

“So often the creative world gets stratified or hyper competitive,” said Nolen. “We want Letter Rip to be a space where your job, your employer, and even how much skill you have with lettering, doesn’t matter.” 

One of the main goals of Letter Rip is to build a sense of community among creative people in Birmingham. In the marketing world, the word “community” is commonly thrown around as an empty buzzword. Through events like Letter Rip, the word “community” becomes a real thing, benefitting more than just the lettering skills of those who show up.  

“We don’t just have to help people who we work with at our day jobs,” said Nolen. “We should be helping the entire creative community because that makes Birmingham a better place for all of us.” 


What are the deets for Letter Rip’s next meet-up? 

Details for the next Letter Rip meet-up are still in the works. They will post on Instagram when plans are finalized.  (Instagram:  @letter_rip_bham )

Do I need to bring my own supplies to Letter Rip? 

Drawing tools and paper are provided, but you can bring your own supplies if you want. The only thing you must bring on your own is an open mind, as this (sadly) can’t be provided for you.

What’s the agenda for a typical Letter Rip meet-up? 

Most meet-ups start with a short slide presentation. After that, there’s doodling, socializing and learning. It’s a casual event, and the agenda is evolving. In the future, they hope to have more inspirational presentations in addition to the current workshop-ish setup. 

How can I support Letter Rip from afar? 

Merch doesn’t exist yet, but they plan to sell shirts soon to raise funds to improve the event. They’ll advertise the shirts on Instagram ( @letter_rip_bham ). Also, you can see if your city has an event like Letter Rip. Getting involved with creative people where you live is a great way to build and support a sense of community.