I thought I would start with the positives of having or creating a niche for yourself because at the start I didn't really see any negatives. But later on in the series I will address the negatives as they came.
From when I started hand lettering with ink and brush I instantly saw it as something that I could really focus on and make my own. Since I was basing the style on my own handwriting style I also was in the mind set that it was my own, and my own only. But as soon as I started I knew I really wanted to mix both my new skill with my love for the fashion/design industry. I didn't want to have just one without the other.
The same year that I started hand lettering, I had also launched my personal style blog jas+mine as a hobby. My main audience was already sassy women who loved aesthetics and fashion so I really wanted to cater and create my design/lettering work also for that audience. I wanted to create for people like me, and for brands and people that I thought were magic. I saw my future working self getting into magazines, helping with look books and editorials. Little did I know that would happen a lot sooner than originally thought when I started.
Finding your niche
How I found my niche was really by looking around and looking for a gap in markets or mixing skills with audiences that have possibilities. I would really suggest to look for niches that aren't currently explored and really focus on that to make a name for yourself. I would also say just to look at what you are truly passionate about and what gets you excited as that will push you & your work. Once you have an opinion or a point of view - run with it.
Getting Work from that Niche
Once you have figured out that you want to work in a niche market, and you know what yours is then you really have to focus marketing your work to that audience. There is no point putting up work for bridal invitations if you want to work in surf culture magazines if that makes sense? If you have no work - take every spare second you have to explore personal projects to your own brief that fit within your niche then share it with the world. Every commission for me started with me hand lettering project in my room for my own pleasure.
Pros of Having a Niche
There are a few great advantages of having a niche. If you don't have prior contacts it makes getting yourself or your work out there on social media a lot easier. You are able to directly address your niches audience with relevant content. Marketing your work is made 100 times easier because you have a focused target market.
The dreaded "where do you get your inspiration from?" question....
"Inspiration" is everywhere & anywhere for different pieces. When I am thinking about lettering certain pieces it is normally the message or content that inspires me. If we are talking about finding inspiration for content I always think a lot about my thoughts; what are other people talking about (insta captions are sometimes gold) I want to create lettering around content that is at the end of the day relatable and current. I get inspired by the cliche quotes people say which have no relevance or that in my opinion should be altered so I like to alter them.
An example of this was in 2014 when I saw a whole lot of Instagram accounts talking about how busy they are and how they don't sleep and that fetishising of being busy really annoyed me. The famous quote "Find what you love and let it kill you" came to mind and this time after seeing all the posts I knew I had to change something about it. So I illustrated the quote "Find What You Love & Let It Thrill You" For me that is probably the best example of where my content inspiration comes from.
When talking about aesthetic inspiration at the moment I love thinking about how my lettering would look if I had no knowledge or skill. Like a child painting on a canvas with his fingers in too much paint so it sort of drips. That flawed lettering is really inspiring me lately. I also am being inspired by experimenting with different surfaces and tools to see how that influences my work.
Inspiration comes best when you're playing, experimenting & wandering.
Hope I have not rambled too much, I tend to make the mistake of writing these late at night when I have too much on my mind.