Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Flyer design - Vintage Afternoon Teas

Earlier this year, I was delighted to be contacted by Gwyneth Brock, founder and owner of Vintage Afternoon Teas to discuss designing a new flyer to promote her business. The design brief specified the inclusion of homemade cakes, oozing with delicious fillings and the importance of using vintage china (as the hire of china is one of the services that the business offers).

My design work for the flyer started off with a series of photographs. I am fortunate to own several items of vintage china that belonged to my great grandparents and was lent various cake stands by teaching colleagues. I played around with different ways of arranging and stacking the china before settling on the two images that you can see below.
As Gwyneth wanted a ‘clean’ design style, I decided to create crisp line drawings in Adobe Illustrator. I could then experiment with applying pattern and colour in Adobe Photoshop. The patterns that you can see in the designs started off as scans of various papers and fabrics that I have collected over the years. Colours were changed and areas cropped out to make them more unique to the flyer design.
Surprisingly, the cake proved to be the most problematic area of the design. It was vital to convey the scrumptious nature of the cakes that Gwyneth makes. Although the initial designs complete with ‘button’ fruit look delicious I felt that they were lacking the ‘wow’ factor. Gwyneth specified that the cake should look homemade and have fillings oozing out of it. After several re-workings of the cake illustration (including scanning a car sponge for the cake texture!), I decided upon a two tier cake with fat fresh strawberries on the top instead of buttons.
 The final image went through several layout experiments in Adobe Illustrator in order to accommodate Gwyneth’s colour preferences and font choices. I initially used Giddyup Standard, Segoe Script and Poor Richard fonts until I discovered Gwyneth’s love of typewriter text. The final design uses Cooper Black and Courier New which has been ‘aged’ in Adobe Photoshop (good tutorial here). The font colour is teal (or more specifically Focoltone 2258). The final design (see top of page) looks effective on different sizes and will hopefully attract lots of new custom for Gwyneth!

Monday, 4 February 2013

French Knots Studio - Crochet

Ever since my grandma taught me how to crochet simple flowers several years ago, I have had an urge to learn more about the craft. As she doesn’t live on my doorstep, I was determined to find a local course that would help me to make them again. Coincidentally, French Knots Studio in Sale offers courses in crafts ranging from stitch to crochet. 
Jo, the owner of French Knots Studio has transformed a brick outhouse at the bottom of her garden into a stylish yet homely haven and it is here that she runs her classes. The outhouse is beautifully decorated and is stuffed full of pretty textiles ephemera to inspire her students.
Jo has a generous manner and endless patience with her students. She has an obvious love of textiles and this really comes across as she guides you through the making process. The intimate size of her classes means that you get as much help as you need. The small, friendly nature of her studio allows students to chat, share advice, swap stories and munch on delicious biscuits (most important!). 
I’m delighted to say that my confidence with crochet has grown. After three courses I have gained enough skills to make a granny square cushion cover, a star garland and now I’m back full circle to making flowers. I’m not sure what I’ll use the flowers for yet but the most important thing for me is that I am enjoying making them again. Thanks Jo!