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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, 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.


Colour, Design, Designers

Sage Advice

June 23, 2015
Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 2.48.16 pm

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 2.48.16 pmThere are some graphic designers whose work I consistently admire. Lauren Ledbetter is one of these. Based in Nashville, her branding work and photography always make me feel lighter. Every year she creates an infographic as a Christmas card, and this one from 2013 ticks all the boxes for me. Watercolour in sage green pretty much sums me up. Here’s the link to the full design.

Design, Packaging

Tea’s Shirt

February 1, 2015

I’ve been doing a lot of packaging research lately, and sometimes a simple box can stop me in my tracks. The Seventh Duchess, an Australian company that sells tea, candles, beauty products and more claims to believe in the “art of quality”. Well, I definitely believe in the quality of their art, because three of their tea products have packaging that captures the perfect atmosphere. Great product photography too.


Design, Lifestyle, Projects


January 28, 2015

Can you define yourself in four words? The English language is full of beautifully descriptive vocabulary, so there’s almost too much choice when you’re trying to sum yourself up. My words might be… DETERMINED. SPONTANEOUS. OPTIMISTIC. TASTEFUL. But catch me on a different day, and I might give you a different answer.

It’s different for a business. Finding these key words, sticking to them and using them as a mantra is important to establishing and growing the personality of your brand. When meeting a new client, one of the first things I do is ask this question, not of them, but of their business. What image do they want to give the world, what are the characteristics of their product, what is their message? It’s a challenging exercise, but once you’ve got your words, they not only form the foundation of your brand, but help to shape your identity as you grow.

Callie & Co is summed up by these ones… FRESH. FRIENDLY. VERSATILE. CREATIVE.

Perhaps your words are… SUBTLE. ELEGANT. HANDCRAFTED. INDIVIDUAL. Maybe… ETHEREAL. ORGANIC. LIGHTHEARTED. PRETTY. Or they could be… FOCUSED. TRADITIONAL. HONEST. SECURE. In any case, the words start to paint a picture of the personality of the business, and are one of my key tools in establishing the logo, colours, fonts and other visual tools.

I’ve had some fun creating and photographing these word tags, which are a great tool for mood boards. What are your words?



Branding, Design

Stained Class

January 18, 2015
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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

Design, Illustration

Stamping Their Feet

January 9, 2015

I thought it would be interesting to design some stamps that might be used by Australia Post. The specifications are precise and the images have to work at a very small size, so this was a challenge and involved a lot of research and modification.

ANZAC soldiers have been the feature of many stamp issues over the years, but these designs commemorate four conflicts of the last century in which ANZACs have played a part. My stamp illustrations have been inspired  by Australian artist Will Longstaff’s mesmerising piece, Menin Gate at Midnight (on display at the Australian War Memorial here in Canberra) and the colourful outline work of Jon Cattapan.

Menin Gate at Midnight by William Falstaff 1927 artwork by William Falstaff 'Setting Out (Maliana)' 2010


I created four ghostly illustrations to represent the soldiers of Gallipoli, Tobruk, Vietnam & Afghanistan. They were placed on colour-themed backgrounds with appropriate typography and partnered with a first day cover.

stampfour stampmen