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Gemma O Brien

Gemma O’Brien is an Australian artist and designer specialising in lettering, illustration and typography. After studying Design at the College of Fine Arts in Sydney, Gemma worked as an art director at Animal Logic, Fuel VFX and Toby & Pete before deciding to fly solo as a commercial illustrator in 2012. Her typography work takes on a variety of forms, from calligraphic brushwork, illustrated letterforms and digital type to large scale hand-painted murals.

She splits her time between advertising commissions, gallery shows, speaking engagements and hosting hand-lettering workshops around the world. Her clients include Adobe, Volcom, Heineken, Kirin Cider, QANTAS, Heinz, Angus and Julia Stone and The New York Times. A number of her projects have been recognised by the  New York The Type Directors Club with Awards of Typographic Excellence. In her spare time she travels and draws puke puns on barf bags for the Spew Bag Challenge.


Gemma O'Brien.

Place of Birth:


Currently Living in:


Train, bus, bike, or other:


What's the most important object in your studio?

Hand-painted sign from a tree in Mt Glorious.

Paper or Plastic?


If you could resurrect one no longer living person to have lunch with, knowing you will have to return them to the grave right after coffee, who would it be?

Sarah Eaves – the second wife of the illustrious typographer John Baskerville.

Preferred method of dealing with an encounter with an acquaintance whose name you can't remember.

Distract with a flurry of riveting conversation and then ask their middle name!

Why don't you flip the tortoise over, Leon?

Do you make these questions up Mr Holden?

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Enough to start a fire!

Favourite client so far?

Bob Hawke – what a legend.

Favourite imaginary client?

Jerry Seinfeld.

How does your mother describe your profession?

Probably more articulately than I do!

Coffee or tea?

70% Coffee 30% Tea.

What's your earliest drawing memory?

Drawing my pet chook Rosie when I was 5.

How do you prefer to spend your mornings?

Still awake from the night before!