Chiara Perano: Q&A On Modern Calligraphy

Chiara Perano is the master of modern calligraphy and is soon to run her workshop in calligraphy writing at Platform (read all about that here). Chiara’s calligraphy style is hugely sought after, due to her elegant, modern letter forms and loose scripts in a variety of mediums. We caught up with Chiara to hear all about her company, Lamplighter London, and to get some tips on limbering up our letter writing.

Lamplighter London

Tell us a bit about Lamplighter London.

I started my design studio, Lamplighter London, nearly four years ago. We create beautiful artwork for events and brands, with hand drawn calligraphy and illustrative elements. We work on an amazing variety of events, from weddings to VIP parties, fashion shows and intimate soirees. We create special stationery for events from bespoke invitations printed on luxurious papers with stunning finishes, with calligraphy details and envelopes, to hand-printed murals, menu design, signage and hand drawn maps. I love personalising the stationery for my clients, really getting on board with their vision and implementing it in the design.

Two girls doing calligraphy at a desk

What’s your background?

I graduated 8 years ago and worked as a freelance illustrator and designer. I started getting requests for bespoke invitations, which mixed my style of hand drawn lettering and illustrations. I decided to learn calligraphy in a more traditional way so that I could apply it to my designs, and it all sort of came together in an idea for a studio based on personalised and bespoke wedding and event stationery. I didn’t know at the time that the calligraphy side of things would take over! I do still work with a few select clients each year to create a full bespoke stationery suite – often for weddings – and it includes so many elements, from save the dates to favour tags, wax seals, right through to thank you cards, all in a coordinating design. I love creating these and really going to town on special designs and printing finishes.

How did you get started in business?

I always knew I would work for myself, it just took a while for things to settle into the right niche for me. I have self-starter parents, which helped when launching my own business. My first few weddings turned into meeting some great event planners, which lead to working on amazing events, and connections just happen if you work hard! Workshops was always a natural progression, I am a self taught calligrapher and now work with really high end clients, so it’s nice to offer people the chance to try it out, and bring that handwritten element into their lives.

Cup of coffee and a pad and pen

What can we expect from your upcoming workshop at Platform?

We are running a series of special modern calligraphy workshops, to celebrate the launch of Nib + Ink, my new modern calligraphy book. The book is a guide to learn from and we thought marking the launch with workshops in a beautiful space like the Platform gallery is the perfect celebration!

Attendees will have the chance to practise and learn modern calligraphy, work through exercises and have a go using neon ink too. Each guest will take home a personalised modern calligraphy kit, and will be treated to an indulgent afternoon tea spread, featuring finger sandwiches, salted caramel brownies, meringue drops, scones with lashings of cream and jam, as well as bubbly and infused teas. They will also be able to buy the book on the day.

The space itself will be transformed into a unique calligraphy wonder room, featuring neon calligraphy, an amazing ombre envelope and lettering installation, gorgeous florals, a wave of hand-printed stars and ink splatters and beautiful string lighting.

nib and ink

What’s next for you and Lamplighter London?

The launch of Nib + Ink book is definitely the most exciting project of the year! We’re also working with a range of amazing clients over the next few months, and have just finished up a big job on London Fashion Week, which has been an incredible, buzzy experience.

What’s your interiors style?

I love statement furniture and specifically the mid-century modern style which I like to mix up with natural texture and tactile materials. I like to bring the outside in with greenery, plants and flowers.

We want to do what you do! Any tips for how to get started in modern calligraphy?

You’ll need a pen, nib and ink. Some good quality writing paper is also necessary, and then you can start learning letter shapes. There’s definitely a back to school feel about writing out your drills and exercises – in a good way! Work through the alphabet, learning the shapes, and you’ll notice an improvement.  My book Nib + Ink has all the guides to getting started; from letters and inspirations, to how to hold the pen and dip ink, plus directions and size guides – you just need to practise! Once you get the hang of it, calligraphy is a great pastime and super enjoyable.

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