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Bradley alumna rebrands Peoria: Tamms brings hand-crafted lettering art to city

Chelsie Tamms started her business, Lettering Works, while she was still a student at Bradley.
Photo via Letting Works Instagram

Tucked away in the Warehouse District of Peoria is Lettering Works, a custom lettering and design company. The business offers its clients a chance to have personalized hand-lettered artwork crafted for whatever needs they may have.

Owner Chelsie Tamms, who graduated from Bradley in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in graphic design and a minor in marketing, said she did plan on staying in the area after graduation. But when Tamms started Lettering Works last year, she realized she had an important reason to stay.

As a student, I never imagined I would live and work in Peoria after college, Tamms said. I became involved with both the art and entrepreneurship communities in the City of Peoria my senior year. The connections that I made throughout that time ultimately led to me staying and starting my own business here.

According to Tamms, she was always passionate about the art of hand-lettering, but had to practice to gain the skills she has today.

In high school, I created hand-lettered designs for my art classes while I learned the Adobe Creative Suite programs. Once I learned them, my high school art teacher still encouraged me to use my lettering in my work, Tamms said.

Tamms said she started learning about entrepreneurship and participated in several competitions to sell her product much later in life. Tamms participated in the New Venture Poster Competition, for which she earned third place, Brave Pitch and Project Springboard, for which she earned first place for both, and was given the Presidential Award at the Student Scholarship Expo.

In addition to the responsibility of running the business and creating art for the clients, Tamms also offers workshops to help others learn how to create their own hand-lettered art. Tamms said the workshops fall into her overall vision for Lettering Works.

My goals for Lettering Works include creating meaningful and engaging designs to help amplify my clients’ and projects’ causes, educating the community through lettering and branding workshops and spreading positivity, Tamms said.

Some of the clients she does work for include the City of Peoria, the Peoria Riverfront Museum and Jenna Scifres Handmade Jewelry. Tamms has also created several Snapchat filters.

Though Tamms said Lettering Works is firmly placed in Peoria, there is potential of growth elsewhere.

I would love to expand Lettering Works to other cities and be able to help build city and community pride in other places, Tamms said.

Lettering Works is located on 820 SW Adams St. To look at Tamms previous works and see what the business offers, visit

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