Sweet FA!

Some new packaging designs I have created are now hitting the shop shelves. It’s always a bit of a thrill to see the designs you have made transformed from work on a computer screen to a real three dimensional thing you hold, touch and feel.

The product is a new range of organic, gluten free and vegan cookies named Sweet FA Gluten Free. It is so named after the initials of their creator Fiona Aitali. Fiona is the ‘Chief Biscuit Engineer’ at Island Bakery. She’s in charge of developing new products and making sure the recipes taste good. When she was diagnosed with Coeliac disease she could no longer try the biscuits she was making for Island Bakery. It made sense for her to develop a gluten free range that she could be proud of and, as it turns out, everyone else can enjoy them too whether or not they are gluten intolerant or vegan.

The design considerations were to appeal to a slightly younger demographic, with a sense of fun. With a name like Sweet FA, the branding couldn’t be too serious! So I went with bright poppy colours, dotty patterns and boldly confident fonts. The coolest thing of all is a nifty ‘drip off varnish’ effect (technical term which is nicer than it sounds!), which gives a spot varnish over the dotty background pattern and some of the other design elements. It’s hard to see in photos but it gives the packs a lovely tactility which adds to the special feel of the packaging.

Sweet FA logo

There are four biscuits in the range: Cranberry & Orange, Double Choc-Chip, Oat & Raisin and Peanut Butter.

You can follow Sweet FA Gluten Free on Facebook or Instagram. There will be a website coming soon but it is still under construction.

Photo credits Ella MacDonald

Recent Logo Design Work

I’ve just been working on a logo design for a client on Mull who has exciting plans to open a coffee and seafood sandwich kiosk next year. With their permission I am sharing an extract of the design (without the name).

I have really enjoyed designing this one! My client was inspired by a similar style they had seen online, but I had to make it totally their own. The design involved creating flat icons of the various elements that will feature in the business, such as langoustine, crabs, salad, coffee and bread, and of course the sea itself. I hope the logo will easily communicate what customers can expect once the kiosk is open.

The client is still to decide on the final colour, so the one shown here might not be quite the one that ends up going to press. However, it illustrates the kind of work I am able to do.

If you are interested in a logo design for your own business, do get in touch. I am happy to tweak or update existing logos for you, or to create something completely new. See below for a recent logo changes. The first client wanted to change the shade of pink in her existing logo on the left to a new tone that matched her new premises decor better. We also took the opportunity to update the font used in the logo without making it dramatically different.

And below, the client found that in practice she rarely used her full, long-form business title. She wanted to cut down the words from her original logo (top) to reflect the day to day way they referred to the company, and to make it visually display that in a much more punchy way (bottom). We kept the colour palette the same, but strengthened the overlapping circles by making them a little bolder.

I Love Mull

Volunteers MullA few months ago I was asked to design a logo and ID pass for the volunteers on Mull who have been delivering shopping to residents who are unable to do so themselves due to their health or age during the Coronavirus situation. The idea of caring for our community was foremost, and so having Mull in our hearts was the concept for that design. As if by magic, when I looked at the shape of the Isle of Mull, which I had done many times before without noticing, I realised that Mull itself, without too much imagination, fits the contours of a heart, slightly rotated to one side.

Very recently, one of the world’s most inspirational designers, Milton Glaser, died. Most people will not have heard of him, but I think nearly everyone will be familiar with at least one of his designs. The one I am thinking of in particular is the iconic I ❤️ NY design. Glaser provided this design, which he drew in crayon in the back of a cab in 1977, free of charge. The New York State Department of Commerce was trying to reinvigorate the city to encourage tourism and needed to brand their campaign. It was never imagined that the enduring popularity of the design would outlive the campaign by many decades.

In homage to Milton Glaser and following on from my design for the Mull volunteers, I have created a simple new design which will be used on some items of merchandise for sale here on my website and hopefully in other retail spaces on the island in due course. Initially I have had a small run of fridge magnets and car bumper stickers printed, and plans for T-shirts are being made now. If you are interested in retailing any of these items please get in touch.


Rainbow Prints

The rainbow motif is prominent at the moment, representing hope for the future as we all cope with the restrictions that the Coronavirus pandemic puts on us. I recently found a little time to make a few little rainbow linocuts.

I couldn’t resist making my own rainbow print. The print is made up of three overlapping blocks, in red, yellow and blue. Where they overlap the colours blend to make orange and green. Artistic licence allowed me to forget about indigo and violet! The ink took days and days to dry, so I’m just getting round to dealing with them now.

I have given a few prints as gifts, and they have been really well received. As the usual galleries where my work is sold are not open, I’ve added some to my online shop here. If you would like one I can post it out to you, or someone you’d like to gift it to, anywhere in the UK. Prints will be wrapped in a clear envelope with some stiff mount board to protect it from bending. They are priced £20 including postage.

The prints measure 5″ x 7″ and fit in standard off-the-peg frames for that size. There are only 22 rainbow prints in the edition, so once they are gone, they are gone for good! Each print is numbered and signed. Click to go to my shop.



Masked Heroes

Nowhere is escaping the impact of Covid-19, and that includes us here on the Isle of Mull.

I had made some simple masks for the staff in our biscuit factory who are still working, albeit at a lower capacity than normal. The picture above is one of those masks. Word of my industry had spread and I had a phone call before long from our local community trust (MICT) about helping to develop some standby surgical masks for use in the local hospital in the event that they ran out of their own supplies. 

A team of volunteers came together to research the efficacy of various fabrics and designs, and it was decided to opt for a design that would be a pouch to hold a HEPA filter fabric that one of the volunteers had sourced. The masks could therefore be washed and re-used, with the filter later disposed of each time.

I worked over the phone and internet with a lovely lady called Diana who developed the pattern itself. My job was then to make prototype masks and deliver them (at a safe social distance) to a nurse practitioner, who lives near me, for feedback. Three prototypes were made before we got to the final design. Then I had to prepare an instruction sheet for the making up of the masks so that it could be shared with eager volunteers who would sew them in quantity.

Despite my best efforts, I got some panicked messages from some folk who couldn’t quite follow the written and photographed instructions. So yesterday, I persuaded a somewhat grumpy son to video me making a mask every step of the way. I spent a few hours in the edit suite and then posted the results to my husband’s Your Tube account to help matters.

I thought I would share the link to the videos here, in case any of you, anywhere, feel the inclination to make a mask for a hero you know. Someone who is out doing your shopping, or delivering vital supplies in your community. There are a lot of heroes about these days, not just the amazing NHS workers. I am sure you know several!

Remember, masks are not a substitute for regular hand washing and social distancing, which we must all continue to observe. But if more people wear masks, the risk of the virus spreading is reduced. They are more effective at stopping us breathing the infection OUT to other people than at stopping us breathing it IN. Of course if you have symptoms of the Coronavirus you should stay inside!

If you wear one of these masks yourself, wash it at 60ºC after every wear, and use a piece of kitchen paper towel as a filter to improve its barrier.

My obliging husband models one of the prototype masks

You can view the pattern instruction sheet here:
Making a Pouch Face Mask Update