Browsing Category


Branding, Design, Projects

Branding Bars Part 1

May 31, 2016

I was approached at the end of last year by Li Peng Monroe, whose fledgeling business needed a brand. Her company is Jasper and Myrtle Chocolates and at the time, she was experimenting with flavours and blends, buying equipment and building a pod in her Canberra garden to set up the business.

Jasper and Myrtle is so-called because it reflects an Australian enterprise. Li Peng is from Western Australia, where jasper is a commonly found semi-precious stone, and her partner, Peter, is from New South Wales, where myrtle flourishes. The aim of the company is to source beans from around the world, roast them and use them to produce chocolate that is delicate and subtle, with complementary and unique flavours.

Li Peng’s brief was initially for a logo and a packaging concept that reflected the words NATURAL, AUSTRALIAN, RETRO and ORIGINAL. After research and sketching, I was able to present three distinct branding concepts to Li Peng.


Concept 1 was feminine with an AUSTRALIAN bias and a RETRO slant, based on the colours of jasper stone and myrtle leaves. The colour palette used on the mood board lent itself to pattern, which would then be translated onto the boxes. For the logo itself, the ice cream colours worked well with a 3D lettering effect, the centrepiece of which was the ampersand, which would act not only as a link between the two words, but as an icon in its own right. Li Peng loved the ampersand and the potential for the colour scheme.Logo2

The second concept I presented was very much based on the words AUSTRALIAN and NATURAL, but this time with a modern take. My research led to a mood board that showcased the typically Australian colours of sand, red stone, ocean and bush with a modern twist in the use of simple shapes.


Using the mood board as inspiration, the logo concept I came up with utilised the simple shapes of the jasper stone, myrtle leaf and chocolate bean as icons, placed within diamond squares and put together in the formula jasper+myrtle=chocolate.Logo1

My third concept was based around the ideas of NATURAL and RETRO, taking away the colour, but concentrating on natural materials and textures, with a splash of copper to make the logo stand out. Li Peng was drawn to the string and brown paper and loved the idea of the copper foiling.


This concept led to two logo designs. One used a combination of upper and lowercase serif lettering with a stylised “+” instead of an ampersand and a contrasting retro sans serif typeface for the tagline, which has since been modified to read “bean to bar handmade chocolate.” The other took a circular form, reminiscent of a wax seal or ink stamp with a strong typeface contrasting with a script.


It took Li Peng a while to decide, as she was very keen on the use of the retro ampersand in Concept 1, but in the end the copper foil and brown craft paper won over, and she opted for the horizontal logo with the simple tagline in copper on a charcoal background. This was printed onto heavy craft paper for her business cards.

In part 2, I will outline the process of taking this natural concept and using it as inspiration to design the packaging for the initial eight flavours of chocolate that Li Peng produced (all of which taste divine, I can reliably inform you!) I’m very excited about the end result and can’t wait to share it with you.

Branding, Projects

A Little Bird Made Me

March 31, 2016

A Little Bird Made Me is run by Theresa van Gessel, a little bird who makes things and works from her rural base near Canberra. Her talents with textiles extend from funky bags to baby bibs and she regularly creates bespoke pieces for clients who want something individually crafted from her treasure trove of fabrics.

Little BirdTheresa commissioned Callie & Co Design to create a new brand for her. While her quirky little bird logo had sentimental value (drawn by her daughter), she was ready for a new direction. Theresa is a real mix of conventional (she was a lawyer in a former life) and bohemian, with a passion for fabric (she would call it an addiction!) and a rural property near Canberra.

birdopt1birdopt2In response, I created three brand concepts for Theresa to choose from. The first was a set of three little birds in primary brights with pattern fills to reflect fabric swatches. The second was more feminine and used the idea of birds sitting on a wire. I’m very happy to say that she loved all three, but the one she chose used softer bright colours and a simple line graphic of a little bird within a bigger bird. I used positive and negative space to create the icon, which was designed to tell the story that Theresa is a little bird, but being a mother (a bigger bird) is also a major factor in her business. Placing the typewriter text around the icon makes the logo neat but handmade in feel and allows it to sit as a colour on white, or as white on top of a colour. She chose it because it found the balance between quirky and modern.



She decided to have business cards and swing tags printed in all three colours so she could mix and match according to her mood. We also looked at packaging concepts that would be flexible enough to work for varying shapes and sizes of product.

bird3 bird7bird2
We worked on the idea of a plain white card wraparound sleeve, which could be embellished with an ink stamp. This was produced and ink pads in the three colours were sourced. The solid nature of the logo lends itself very well to the stamp, and gives a country style feel to what is otherwise a modern shape, suiting Theresa’s country setting.

bird5 bird6

Swing tags were created with the words “a little bird…” to which Theresa adds a label to continue the sentence, telling the story about how the product was made and the love that has gone into each creation.

This is one of my favourite projects of last year. Theresa was decisive and focused, which made the brief easy to follow, and I enjoyed the process of sketching birds and playing with the right type and colours, so I’m thrilled that she loves the results.


Branding, Design, Typography

Morris Major

February 11, 2016

I love a simple plan, but know how very hard designers have to work to achieve simplicity. An example of this is the work of London and New York design studio, Pearlfisher on a NY food business called Morris.

Starting with a food truck in 2011, Morris made an unrivalled grilled cheese sandwich, putting the truck on the New York map. Expansion a few years later led to a test kitchen, sandwich shop, catering company and pop-ups. The resulting brand had to be multi-faceted and adaptable. The genius of the design is in the adaptation of six simple industrial letters to create a suite of sub-brands that are future proof, recognisable, coherent and just, well, perfect. The full project can be seen on Identity Designed.

Take a look.


Branding, Typography

Just my Type

April 23, 2015


I’ve been doing some work with the wonderful team at Handmade Canberra, who run successful markets at the exhibition park and a divine shop in the city centre. My blog for them is entitled Brandmade Canberra and explains step by step how small businesses can benefit from planning when it comes to their brands. Today’s post was about typography, and I found that when I started to write, the rules of typography seemed a little dry on their own. So I put together a collage of amazing typography and the result was so pretty, I just had to post it here as well.

As a very young child, writing my name was fascinating and I practised my handwriting more than is normal. Being left handed caused some challenges, but getting a left hand nib for my fountain pen led to many more hours of writing. And the typography obsession stuck. I hand wrote my wedding invitations, enjoy writing letters (who does that anymore?!) and don’t get me started on my discovery of gold & silver ink! So, becoming a graphic designer was probably written in the stars and it still surprises me that I took so long to realise this. But guess what? I love nothing more than working on a logo in which the words are the main focus.

So here’s my edit of some great contemporary typography. Enjoy.

Branding, Packaging

Split Personality

February 28, 2015
Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 12.25.46 pm

The innovative graphic design team at La Tortillería in Mexico have completed a branding project for Tamarindo, an architect owned & run café in Spain. The venue has two functions – by day, a snack destination and by night, a tapas bar. The split brand design represents this dual function, but it is the simplicity of design and the subtlety of colour (selected to reflect relaxed afternoons and warm vibrant evenings) which makes this brand stand out to me. The branding can be seen across the signage, packaging and menus, right down to receipts and coasters, giving a truly consistent visual message, and a standout one at that.

Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 12.24.36 pm

Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 12.25.05 pmScreen Shot 2015-02-28 at 12.24.48 pm

Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 12.25.21 pm

Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 12.25.30 pm

Branding, Colour, Projects

In the Mood

February 4, 2015

Here’s the mood board for a brochure I’m working on. The brand words are feminine, natural, contemporary and textural. This has led me on a search of relevant images (thanks to all the fabulous designers and photographers who constantly make the internet such a rich source of inspiration). The result is a combination of hand-finished, collaged and water coloured designs, big landscapes and soft contrasts with a small touch of industrial. The colour palette has organically stemmed from these images to include pastels that aren’t too powdery and moody greys with a strong dash of charcoal and coral to add substance.

Branding, Design

Stained Class

January 18, 2015
Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 12.06.42 pm

I came across a very simple and very effective brand today on one of my internet meandering sessions. This is hand finishing at its best. Imagine receiving a sommelier’s business card and it actually smelling of the best red wine? Studio Caserne in Canada have achieved olfactory success by printing simple high quality stationery and marking it with unique wine marks. Have a look at their process. Simple. Genius.Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 12.27.35 pm Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 12.27.43 pm Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 12.27.57 pm Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 12.28.05 pm