Pensacola, Florida
Sunday December 17th 2017

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Pensacola, One Letter at a Time

By Shelby Smithey

Twenty-six weeks ago, Pensacola-based graphic designer Veronique Zayas decided to take on a project to both work on her own skills and do a little exploring in her city.

The result is Local Letters—a self-motivated Pensacola love project, which uses the alphabet to name a significant Pensacola staple, landmark, or element of historical significance that hopes to give a peek into its soul.

“It’s not only a design project, but in some ways a mini-branding exercise rooted solely in hand lettering,” Zayas said. “It’s a peek into the past of this gem on the coast and, selfishly, an excuse to go out exploring to learn a bit more about everything that makes Pensacola so great, one letter at a time.”

Zayas, owner of branding company HatchMark Studio, said that she’s always doing side projects to work on her design skills. For Local Letters, she wanted to push herself to do more illustration and hand lettering work.

“This project was an opportunity to play with letters and illustration a bit more, and plus I’ve always wanted to do something with a Pensacola focus,” she said. “I’ve seen local design projects before, but nothing specific to Pensacola.”

Zayas said that she dug around online, on the Pensapedia page and around town to help her find just the right landmark for each letter.

“This project forced me to dig deeper into history, where I started to find these hidden gems of Pensacola,” she said.

Zayas said that she had known about the big ones, like Downtown Pensacola and Pensacola Beach, but some were a surprise that took some research.

“For letter ‘K’ I chose Kupfrian’s Park which was a popular recreational area built in the 1800s near Pace Boulevard,” she said. “The park had a history with horse racing which was a big surprise to me.”

Zayas said that she also enjoyed tackling the letter “T” for Trader Jon’s.

“The resurgence of Trader Jon’s and the exhibit in the T.T. Wentworth Museum is incredible,” Zayas said. “With all of the military history associated with it, I was definitely geeking out. That one was a treat to check out.”

Letter “H,” the Hadji Shrine Temple, a fraternal organization, was also another landmark that Zayas said she didn’t know too much about.

“To find out about the work they do in the community was such an interesting thing to dig into,” she said.

Zayas said she was also excited to learn about the USS Oriskany, the largest artificial reef in the world.

“For a few letters I had to play around a little bit,” Zayas said. “For example, ‘P’ was either Palafox or Pensacola Beach, so Palafox became letter ‘D’ for Downtown which makes more sense. I had to shuffle with a few more including ‘S’ which I made Saenger Theatre, and used Seville for letter ‘O’ for Old Seville Square. There wasn’t too many of those luckily.”

Zayas said that for the final letter, she chose Zarragossa Street.

“I always found it interesting that there are different street signs with two different spellings,” she said. “The name actually comes from a Spanish town.”

Zayas’ company offers branding services, which she said, boils down to working with a business to help them figure out who they are and where they want to go.

“We then work on building a brand system to help them communicate that to their internal employees and ultimately to their clients—existing ones and new ones they want to attract,” she said. “To express who they are and the value they bring through their messaging and visuals. Setting the path for a cohesive brand from that point on out.”

Zayas said that HatchMark Studio grew out of her freelancing for herself.

“We specialize in branding and brand development, which goes beyond the logo into the digital presence and how a company’s brand message comes across,” she said.

Zayas has been in Pensacola for three years now and lived in Dallas for about 10 years before moving here with her family.

“We were looking for a change, and when my husband got a job opportunity to work here, we rolled the dice and got incredibly lucky,” she said. “We really love it and are here for the long haul.”

Check out Local Letters at hatchmarkstudio.com and keep your eyes peeled for another Pensacola-related project from Zayas on her Instagram @hatchmarkstudio.
Select prints now available: hatchmarkstudio.com/shop