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.
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.
My eldest niece is getting married later this summer. I was asked to make her wedding invitations a few months back and was very chuffed to be asked. Chloe wanted something that was special and personal for her and her fiance, Sean. At first Chloe asked me for a what sounded like a simple print on a card, and I was imagining doing a small linocut or screenprint, but things are never as straightforward as they at first seem!
She and Sean are farmers and animal lovers to the core. They work with sheep and have 4 working Border Collies as well as 3 pet dogs, one of whom has amibitions of a working life too. So when the brief began to emerge, of a design comprising both Chloe and her fiancé Sean, some sheep, and all seven dogs I soon realized that a single linocut print with all of these elements would not be feasible within the confines of a postable invitation size!
Chloe supplied me with endless photos of her dogs, sheep and of herself and Sean. The nicest portrait of the two of them was with a white horse, which then became part of the gang as well. I began sketching the dogs and preparing to make them into linocuts. For each dog I printed a small edition on 5” x 7” paper in black ink. It was lovely to work through all of the dogs and I could see each of their personalities even just from photos. I have met some, but not all, of the dogs which helped a bit, but now they have moved to a different part of Scotland I was confined to working from photos only.
My method was to print a linocut of each dog, two sheep and Chloe, Sean and the pony, then scan the image and then reduce it so I could make a composition of all the animals and people to fit on the 7” square cards I had bought to print onto. I planned to print these on my digital printer.
As well as the images, I worked on the wording and typeface of the invitations which would be on the inside of the cards. Typically, but without knowing, Chloe chose the version in a typeface called ‘Farmer’! It obviously appeals to the farming market!
Once I had arrived at the arrangement that seemed to be the best balanced, and Chloe was happy, I printed a few test cards. They were nice, but I was a little underwhelmed with the result after all the work that I had put into drawing, carving and printing all the linocuts. The digital print was not as nice as the hand made prints. The black wasn’t quite black enough. They looked quite flat.
I was probably being too critical. Chloe would probably have been happy with them as they were. But these were important invitations to be sent out to the whole family and lots of friends. They also represent my work. I wanted them to be the best they could be.
I knew letterpress printing could transform the look. The debossed prints can be so lovely with such a tactile finish. After a little bit of googling for letterpress printers I made an enquiry with Cotton Letterpress who came back very quickly and enthusiastically. Their work looked good from the pictures on their website and the video of the printing process. I was sold! I knew this would be the way to make the most of the work I’d done and give Chloe & Sean some invitations they could be really proud of. Soon we had finalized the optimum size and agreed a price to print the final number of cards, printed on 2 sides. We just had to wait while they were printed and posted out to us.
I am really delighted with them, and I hope Chloe, Sean and their guests will be too. Now I just need to find something to wear for the big day!
I can be commissioned to create invitations for your event. Get in touch to discuss your requirements.
There are a small number of limited edition doggie linocuts available to purchase at Calgary Arts and The Glass Barn at Isle of Mull Cheese. You can get a lovely lunch in both places.
When Denise Baxter got in touch to say she was launching a new recruitment consultancy business and needed a logo I was very happy to help. As is often the case with Denise, the time frame to make things happen was short. Denise is a bit of a dynamo, and she has rigorous standards. So while I was delighted to have the opportunity, I knew it would be a tough gig!
Denise wanted to make a complete change with her new company and gave me carte blanche to design a logo for her. Previously, she had a very safe corporate colour palette of blue and grey. I knew this didn’t really reflect Denise’s style, because although she is always the consummate professional, she is also a very lively person with a big heart and a wicked sense of humour. I knew she and her new business could rock a bolder look that would be different to the other brands in the market place, without looking totally out of place.
I knew that one of Denise’s favourite colours was raspberry pink. As she was the main asset of the company I wanted the branding to reflect something of her, so I knew I would build it around this colour. This wasn’t a colour that similar enterprises use, so it was a bonus. I teamed this pink with complementary greens and harmonising tones of the same pink.
The main function of the company is to search for candidates to fit job roles. Every potential candidate has a range of skills, strengths and weaknesses, and the perfect person for the job will have a sweet spot where they have a set of skills which align with what the employer is searching for. The Venn diagram seems to graphically represent this perfectly. Of all the ideas I pitched to Denise, this was the idea that resonated most with her.
There are little dots between the letters of the word IDENTIFY representing a pool of candidates. Most of them are pink with the one between the I and D being green – the perfect candidate who is identified and gets the green light for the job!
In record time, two formats of the new logo were approved and finalised, and put straight into use by Identify HR & Resourcing Solutions Ltd.
Denise and her team wasted no time in applying the logo to their new T-shirts!
Soon Identify had me designing business cards, flyers and some graphics for the new website. Recently, Denise even had a branded sweetie trolley at a trade conference, for which I designed the canopy. The trolley was filled with Pick & Mix sweetie bags in company colours and sealed with little branded stickers that promote their innovative new Pick & Mix recruitment services.
Denise is delighted with her new look and I wish her and her team every success.
You can check out Identify here
Read Denise’s testimonial here