In Hawaiian, kaha means to draw, make marks, turn,or surf. The same letters make up the last name of designer Teri Kahan, and it’s no mere coincidence: Kahan loves to draw, and a passion for the ocean and the spirit of Hawaii (where she once lived) inspires her life and artwork.
Kahan developed an artist’s eye and a fondness for nature while growing up in Southern California. At 14 she discovered Speedball pens, and her graphic talents were nurtured in art classes throughout high school and college. While others were joining sororities, Kahan found kindred spirits in the Society for Calligraphy and The Friends of Calligraphy. By the ripe old age of 22, Kahan had started her own graphic design business.
Kahan’s graphic services began with restaurant menus and hand-painted posters and soon evolved into corporate print, apparel, and web communications. In 1988, Toyota Motor Sales commissioned Kahan to develop an alphabet based on the Lexus logo. The experience prompted her to send some of her hand-lettered logos and headlines to ITC. The creative collaboration of Kahan and ITC led to two typefaces, Cherie and Surfboard, and two illustration fonts: Connectivities (relationship images) and Holistics (images of spirituality).
Soon after launching her business, Kahan obtained a California Teaching Credential and began teaching lettering and design part-time for Golden West College. Since then she has traveled widely, teaching workshops for various calligraphic societies, conferences, museums and colleges. The courses Kahan teaches range from pencil to pixel, encompassing both traditional and digital color, lettering, drawing and design.
Kahan is not only an award-winning designer but a fine artist as well; she has exhibited at the prestigious Festival of the Arts in Laguna Beach, California. Her most recent fonts, Puamana and Kahana, were released in 2004.