Friday 11 December 2009

Brown Paper...

I was sent this card by a friend, and noticed how similar it was to the types of materials that I have been working with. The brown paper background is a printed image, rather than actual paper. The letters are printed in matt and metallic and some are cut out. If my designs were going to be produced for commercial purposes, it is likely that the background would be changed for a digital image, which then had to colour printed onto it.
- M&S

Saturday 5 December 2009

Business Cards...

I have looked at some existing business cards for a bit of inspiration for the one I need to design. Most of the good business cards out there are clever or quirky in some way (these are usually the ones designers have themselves), but I need to design something that is clear, contains the correct information and ties in with the branding for the rest of the company. I found the majority of these designs listed in this web article; The Coolest Business Cards, which shows lots of interesting and quite unusual cards...

1. Retro Microphone
This is a really clever business card idea, but it does look a little bit like a comb. However, when you read the text it is quite clear, but there is limited information space on this type of card.

2. Stick Man
I love this - very simple and lo-fi but it makes an impact. The design is appropriate for the job it represents but something similar probably wouldn't be suitable for Cake&Co.

3. Pantone
Obviously suitable for a designer. It feels a little done, the actual design is very low key and easy. The use of an existing paper product and sticking something to it is quite interesting, but I think that it presents a much less corporate image.

4. Envelope
This it very interesting; the patch is representative of the companies logo, and is an extra something to have and think about. The envelope is quite lovely, and it looks like a lot of thought has gone into how the brand is represented.

5. Label
The idea of designing a business card that represents your business is sort of cool and clever, but also a little tacky. In a way it is sort of obvious and unimaginative.

6. Orange
Very clean and simple design. The overall design is quite eye catching, and it feels very fresh. This is also a simple printed design, rather than having something else attached to it - which would be expensive to produce.

7. Seed Packet
This business card is spot on. The job is represented very clearly and cleverly. I think that a card like this is very appropriate
for certain types of business, but sometimes a business card just needs to be a business card - especially if you need quite a lot of them produced.

8. Google
This is obviously for a designer of some form. It is a good idea, but really says nothing about the person, job or type of work they do.

9. Paulabirdy
This is a lovely illustrated card, and quite appropriate for the job. The simplicity, but slightly personal touch is great because it creates a more friendly feeling toward to the person it is given to.

10. Parks
The leaves are very appropriate, the colours are also suitable, but the inclusion of blue makes it a bit more interesting and breaks a stereotypical idea of using green for environment based industry. The quirky illustrative element brings across a warmer and more friendly feel to the brand.

11. Viewzi
A see through card - totally appropriate for the phrase they are using on the card, it makes sense.

12. Speciality Catering
This is a bright and engaging card. The contact information is comprehensive and clear. The illustrations are a little bit clip art-esq but the striped background and use of expressive type gives the card a very friendly overall feel. The impression I get is of business that is new, and not corporate in any way.

13. Stamp
Having a stamp made and using random bits of paper to print it onto. Totally appropriate for a environmentally friendly company, but the impression is less corporate. I have seen this type of "card" idea several times now, and I think that it could become overused, and used for inappropriate businesses that just think its a clever idea, but don't see the representations that go with it.

14. Jungeshachtel
This is quirky - the middle section is like a zip/perforation that you have to open to reveal the contact details. I have no idea what type of business it represents, but my guess would be a designer. The idea is clever, but I am not sure that it says much about the person/business themselves.

Clever idea, but the bit mark is not believable. If you are going to do something like this then it should look right. It looks like the chefs hat has been replicated and cut out - the concept however is a strong idea.

16. Rhythm Kitchen
This is bright and colourful, though it only uses two colours. This is a smart move for producing business cards that are effective but cheap. The impression is of a fun and vibrant brand and people that are friendly and engaging to work with.

Thursday 3 December 2009

What goes on the back?...

I have looked at the reverses of several cosmetics to discover the information that is included on them. There are somethings that have to be there by law, and others that are just good sense! I have highlighted the main items on the labels I have found, below...

Wednesday 2 December 2009

Loyalty Cards...

I have been asked to design a loyalty card that fits in with the overall branding for Cake&Co. I have looked for existing loyalty cards that you get in places like Nero or Costa, though they seem few and far between. The majority are very simple, printed on both sides, and generally just have some form of image that is stamped or crossed off to indicate that a beverage has been purchased. These images are the examples that I was able to find...

1. Nero
This is the first thing that springs to mind when I think of a loyalty card (maybe I buy too much coffee from Nero?). The design is very simple, the images that are crossed off are views of empty cups from above, which is quite clever. The colours are specifically taken from the branding, and are complementary, so the design works quite well. The design is one sided, the back is usually reserved for advertising a new product.

2. ?
No idea where this loyalty card is for, but it is quite nice. The design feels very christmassy, but the overall layout is quite suitable. The squares are very clear, and can easily be shown to be crossed off. 20 seems like a lot of coffees to buy to get something free! The design looks very large, probably excessively so as the design could be double sided.

3. Costa
This design is quite interesting - the squares are very plain, and a little boring. The design on the front is friendly and inviting. The colours are nicely complementary, and the text stand out. Overall this design is endearing and engaging.

4. Xpress
This design is pretty awful. There is no real explanation as to what the card is for and overall it is a pretty dull design. I think that it is probably for a one off, and quite low quality coffee shop.

5. Harbourside Coffee
This design is a little over the top. There is space for advertising, the logo is quite large and on both sides. I think that all together there is a bit too much going on here, the design could be much lower key and less cluttered.

6. Food Secret
This seems to be more of a voucher than a card, but never mind. The design is actually quite good - the circles are contained within a sort of speech bubble, which is friendly and speaks on a more personal level. I get the impression that this may not be a chain of coffee shops, but a stand alone shop that takes care with it's advertising and branding. The colour is minimal (probably just one colour and the stock) which is a cheap, but effective way of producing a simple piece of brand product.

Wednesday 25 November 2009

Shop frontage...

The shop front gives a very important first impression of the business, which means that it needs to present the brand in a strong way. Part of this brief is to put together a basic idea of what the shop front could look like, to demonstrate how the branding elements will be used.

The research images below are of existing businesses, coffee shops mostly, that would present themselves in a similar way to Cake&Co.

1. Candy Cakes, London
This is a very bright and exuberant shop front. The colours used are those from the brand logo, and used A LOT! The green is quite overwhelming, but would really stand out on the average high street. I really like the idea of displaying the cakes in the window, but they're just out - not very hygienic!

2. Billy's Bakery, New York
This is quite a plain shop front, but it is quite homely and quaint. The colour is a pale cream, which compliments the logo really well, and allows it to stand out.

3. Primrose Bakery, London
The illustrated logo looks really great on the window. The colours are quite pale but they stand out quite well because they are totally opaque. The shop is painted yellow, which is bright and eye catching and complements the pink and white logo quite nicely, and keeps the feeling sort of light and quite pretty.

4. Maison Blanc, London
The logo is type, but quite illustrative and expressive. The design is repeated on the front of the shop, and the awning...why? That seems a bit weird, but the addition of colour is good.

5 Millies Cookies, UK wide
This is a gorgeous and bright shop design. It works really well because the simple stripes using the brand colours, but they dont overpower the shop front. The design is very modern and contemporary, but the logo has quite a retro feel. It is an odd combination, but it works because the contrast is overly strong. The brightness and pattern really makes the shop eye catching and quite unusual.

6. Hummingbird Bakery, London
This chocolate brown exterior is quite appropriate - it is very chocolaty! The name is written in a pale gold above what looks like patterned woodwork. The window display is low key but very pretty and enticing, they are showing their products and packaging, which creates an all round feel for the brand.

Tuesday 24 November 2009


I have had a look online for different types of gift bags. I am planning on designing bags made of paper, but there are other options, so I've had a look:

Clockwise from left:
1. These white bags are made from paper, but have low shine vertical silver stripes running across them. The handles are made from stiff twisted paper, which means they stand up. The silver tissue sets off the shine in the paper. Overall the design is very low key but it isn't specific to any one occasion, which makes it versatile and very commercially viable. For those who appreciate the elegant and stylish, and anyone who wants to give a gift wrap suitable for any gender.

2. These are quite interesting christmas bags. The design is not conventional but it works because of the colour combination and the aesthetics of the bag. The tissues uses the same colours as the design, which helps to give it a more christmassy feel. The illustration is a little limiting, it would mainly appeal to women, and probably those over 30. Overall the design is a bit tacky, but it will appeal to someone!

3. These purple paper bags are clearly designed for no specific occasion. The design is simple and very graphic, devoid of any type! The important thing about this design is that uses colour, and lots of it. The colour palette is quite unusual but it creates a very bold design, which makes the present look exciting.

4. This is a very thick paper bag, made with cord handles. The bag is totally plain, the colour appears to be some kind of pale gold (possibly not metallic). I realise that this design isn't exciting or special, but it is always important to have bags that are just plain so that they can be used for any occasion, and suit anybody.

5. This bag is made from thin frosted plastic. The handles are made from a double layer of the same plastic. The pattern on the bag is simple, but pretty, not really suitable for a male audience. The fact that the bag is see through means that it will require tissue paper inside to conceal the gift, this means buying an extra piece of packaging, and therefore might not appeal to the customer.

6. This think paper bag has twisted paper handles like the first set of bags. The colour is bright and bold, making it eye-catching even though there is no pattern or design. A bag like this can be reused - unlike wrapping paper which is ruined after one use. Gift bags are usually quite expensive, a bag like this wont cost as much as one with a printed design, or one that uses foiling or coatings.

Saturday 21 November 2009

Pockets & Pouches...

I have decided to per sue the pouch idea as my final-ish design for the cosmetics packaging. I have therefore been looking into products that are packaged using similar formats and materials. I have used The Die Line and Lovely Package to find these examples of pockets and pouches that are used to packaged products effectively:


Method - noted for their already sustainable packaging - have created this pouch as refill for their hand wash. They are clearly aware that the plastic bottles they currently sell their products in have more than one use in them, and providing a refill option is more eco-friendly. The full colour images denote which hand wash the refill is for; they originally had a patterned clear plastic pouch (below), but have changed it to white to make it more readable. Creating a substantial bottle and refill option would be suitable for some of the Boots Expert product range, but not all of them.


These are 'single-serving' packages which are easy to dispense and essentially leave no wasted packaging. The tear off tops make the product easy to dispense quickly, rather than cutting. The shape is also appealing and an ergonomically suitable shape for holding. This type of 'one-shot' design could be useful for some of the Expert products, for example, the Soothing Scalp Lotion which comes in separate sachets in a box.


These fruit pockets are really suitable for kids as they are easy to open and dispense. They are also intended as one-shot drinks, so the disposable and non-wasteful packaging is great. They are also easier to pack in lunch boxes as they are much flatter. This would also mean that they are easier to pack for transportation and would take up a lot less space than a bottle, as the shape tessellates better. The printing onto these pouches is very bright and clean- it is good to know that such results can be achieved with such a soft and malleable material.


This pouch solves the problems with brown sugar bags that tend to split easily. The pouch stands up on a wide base, and reseals with a zip-lock seal. The clear packaging showcases the product inside, and the reverse out text is really strong. Overall the product is very strong, and solves a genuine problem. The idea of letting the product show through is really strong, and would work really well for coloured or textured products.


These thin metal bags are designed for the herbs to be grown in. This solves the issue of packaging the product and then buying something else to grow it in. Homebase do a product that is basically the same, and it actually works pretty well. The metal is a clean and easy surface to screen print onto.


These are similar to the sugar bag. A resealable pouch that minimises the use of materials, but keeps the product fresh and contained. This pouch is opaque, allowing the printed design to really stand out. Using a foil or coated metal is a good way of keeping the produce fresh, but the print finish is also great, really suitable for a detailed design.


This a non-resealable pouch that uses a cardboard folding label top. This allows the printing to be done onto the card, and the pouch left totally clear, making it easier to recycle. This is great for sauces, soups etc, but wouldn't be ideal for cosmetics.

Tuesday 17 November 2009

Direct Mail...

One of the products I have to produce for Cake&Co. is a mail shot. Direct mail is a really great way to target local people, increase sales, and advertise promotions. I have tried to find some interesting direct mail, though that is proving hard. I want my piece to be simple - probably a standard A6 format, an to be engaging by using colours, and providing more information than basic 'this is our promotion - hooray!'

This is the most interesting piece of direct mail I could find - It is quite clever, the message is clear, but the printing and size is very simple. Unfortunately this is the most interesting piece I could find, which I think is saying a lot.

I know that my client does not want the mail out to cost a lot, so the design will probably be quite simple but hopefully represent the brand in a good way.

Monday 16 November 2009

Decorative Type...

The basis for this design (poster) is quite different to what I am producing, but the use of multiple type faces is similar to the style I have been working in. The use of craft paper as the background is complimentary to the type; it doesn't draw attention away from the design, it also enables it to have more of a texture and natural look, and obviously it is quite appropriate for the vintage rough and mis matched feel the whole piece has.

I have been considering using craft papers in my paper product design work, and I think that this shows how effective it can be.

Flat Pack...

I have been investigating products that are reducing their packaging in clever ways. I found this product - 3.38 is designed for the purposes of taking liquids on an aeroplane. 3.38 fl.oz or 100ml is the maximum capacity of any one liquid allowed in carry on luggage, and these products have been designed with that specification in mind. They are also made of Polyethylene and polypropylene - both 100% recycled and can be recycled together using a low energy process. All in all, this is a product that is perfect for the environmentally conscious traveller (pity it doesn't offset aeroplane carbon emissions too!).

Found at the

Saturday 14 November 2009

Boutique Ranges...

Paperchase are brilliant when it comes to creating ranges of products that use a continual design. A range usually consists of one of every wrapping product in the same design, and possibly some in different, simpler designs that use the colours from the main boutique range. The range below is christmas 2009, and they have done a great job of creating a range that is suitable for a range of products, and showcases the design to its best.

I am intending on creating a range similar to this, but probably containing a wider range of products and using one main design, and a lower key pattern design. Boutique ranges are quite popular, and the products usually sell quite well, and they area bought as a complimentary set. I do feel that my designs may work quite well as stand alone products, but a boutique range will strengthen the overall design, and make it more commercially viable.

Paperchase Grunge Star Christmas range:

Bakery Branding...

I came across this piece at Phrizbie Design. They have produced an entire range of products for a Dubai based bakery. This is very much in the same vein as the items and style of work I am intending to produce. I can see from this range of products that they have kept the continuity running throughout the brand, but managed to stop it from looking the same. This is something I need to consider for the range of products I am producing, as well as making sure that it still presents the brands values and personality.

Sunday 8 November 2009

Christmas Colour...

I have been asked to consider the colour combinations that I could use for the christmas wrap, card, bag and accessory designs. I have been looking at some christmas websites to find some less traditional colour combinations, but that still have a richness and festive feel.

Silver and Purple

Orange and Warm Brown

Frost: Blue, Silver, White, Grey

Cinnamon and Aqua

Berry: Plum, Purple, Red, Maroon

Thursday 5 November 2009

Bread and Coffee...

I came across this packaging design work for Joe and Dough (ie. coffee and bread) on a packaging design website. I like the general feel of the design, but it seems like it could be much more playful and interesting. The take-away bag is getting there with the illustrations, but the bread box is boring as hell! This design does not seem to have been refined a lot, and the colours are quite an obvious choice...overall I think that so much more could be done with this brand, it does not need to be so stayed and dull.

Tuesday 20 October 2009


I have been experimenting with woodblock type, and using mismatching letterforms. I have found a few examples that have helped to inform my design work, as well as provide a but of inspiration. I also feel a little spurred on by these designs, as they are so simple but beautiful, and I know that something really great could come out of this experimentation.

I found these images at, and a google search for 'woodblock type'

Cosmetics Galore...

I have found a new packaging website that I never knew existed! I trawled through it for a while a found an array of cosmetics packaging that I felt could help me to develop my packaging design work for Boots Expert (which I feel has stalled a little).

All of these images are from Packaging of the World

Monday 19 October 2009


I have looked at the restrictions on the sizes of letter/parcel for certain stamp sizes and the cost of exceeding these. The image below shows the sizes acceptable for the stamps. I want to make sure that the majority of the cards I design will be able to be sent using a first or second class stamp, and not a more expensive option.

Bob's Your Uncle...

I visited the Leeds City Museum last week, to kill some time whilst waiting to meet a friend and I came across these cards in the gift shop. I like that they are very simple in their use of colour and type, but the phrases/greetings are the main focus, and allowed to take centre stage. These designs work because they are not too dressed up or over the top, there is a balance between design and meaning.