Jessica Hische Will Teach You Design

Shawn 03.10.2014

I have a crush on Jessica Hische.

Not like that – I mean – I’m sure she’s lovely (and married). No, my infatuation with her is all business, specifically her designs.

Jessica Hische designs everything. From lettering and typography, to html and CSS, to crafting freelance pricing models – Jessica is on it.

I first came across Jessica via her Skillshare class – Lettering for Designers: One Drop Cap Letterform at a Time – and will soon join the other 5,600 students that have enrolled in her online typography tutorial.

In the Lettering for Designers class she illustrates how to create beautiful drop-cap letters (those HUGE capital letters at the beginning of book chapters), and walks fledgling designers through each step of the process – from research and sketching to digitizing and critiquing the finished product.

However, one cool class does not a fanboy make. So it was strange, but refreshing to see her name pop up just days later during some supplemental html research. My search for font styles and html tags led me to a particularly helpful – and well-designed – video tutorial called “Don’t Fear the Internet.”

In it, Hische – along with fellow coder and hubby Russ Maschmeyer – takes viewers through the steps of not only using CSS style sheets and common html tags – which are crazy useful when you’re troubleshooting code on WordPress posts – but to understanding how they do that voodoo that they do so well.

Thanks to Jessica and Russ, I now know what makes a web page look the way it does and how each element responds to a hierarchy of commands. I can open source code from pages I admire and see why it looks so darn good, then make my pages look the way I want. It’s a heady feeling.

The series is broken down into seven chapters, and is required viewing for any blogger, let alone designer. I got lost in the lessons and was pleasantly surprised when I realized this was the same “Jessica” whose work I admired on Skillshare.

So imagine my surprise today when a coworker sent me a link to an extremely thorough, yet conversational essay on the best practices for pricing your design work, written by – you guessed it – Jessica Hische.

The essay, The Dark Art of Pricing (read the short version here) changed how I think about pricing my work. The way it breaks down hourly models, and how important licensing concerns are when it comes to negotiations, is enlightening. Read it – you won’t price your work the same way again.

I only had one question (in two parts) after finishing this how-to for freelance pricing guide:

Who is this internet design phantom, and how can one person code, write, design, and produce so much great stuff?

Granted, I’m a bit of a design geek, so I’m easier to impress, but still…wow.

Freelancer Flowchart

Freelancer Flowchart – Jessica Hische

Jessica’s diverse skill set is inspiring as much as it’s confusing. Everywhere I turn she’s doing something else, and getting great exposure for it. I’m sure by next week I’ll have something new to add to my running list titled “”The Incomprehensible Jessica Hische” when I see her juggling 3D printed knives that she designed out of recycled milk jugs.


Born in Southern California, Shawn grew up surfing, eating In-N-Out, and growing his hair long. After graduating with a Liberal Arts degree from CSU Long Beach in 2005 he left the crowded freeways behind and spent the better part of a decade traveling the world living for stretches in Rome, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, and Brooklyn. He writes novels as well as copy, loves learning keyboard shortcuts, and plays his grandpa’s old lap steel guitar. You can hear his band at

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