Semester 1 Module Grade & Feedback

So I’m really happy with the grade that I got (another first) for this module. I was a bit worried as when I looked at the amount of work id done it didn’t seem that much in comparison to others but this just go’s to show that I shouldn’t compare myself to others and should trust my gut instinct. I now also feel on track to get the grade that I want and it has given me a boost in motivation to continue the hard work.

After the feedback I got I definitely want to submit my coffee packaging to the competition because I feel really confident about it. I had never done any packaging before and it gave me the chance to get stuck into something new and adds a new dimension to my portfolio. Submitting to the competition would allow me the chance to showcase my work to members of the industry and hopefully get some professional feedback and pointers.

It was also good to see whether I was on the right track with regards to how I’m designing and laying out my research book so that I can do a good job for my FMP. As i mentioned in an earlier post although getting it printed wasn’t necessary for this module it was helpful to see how good the print quality was and to see how quickly the turn around time was for getting it printed and delivered. It was also helpful because it allowed me to see the size of type when printed and whether anything needed to be changed with the layout.


YAY! Research book finally arrived!

So my research and development book for my semester 1 support module finally arrived!! I know we wasn’t required to get the book finished for this hand in but after all the time I spent on it I thought why not and there was an offer on at the time giving me 20% off so a win win situation really! Im so pleased with how it has turned out, for the money (about £32) I wasn’t expecting it to be amazing but it really is!! I used the sight recommended to me called Blurb and it was so easy because they have an InDesign plug-in you can download which will generate templates for the pages and cover based on how many pages you have and what paper your printing on, it even shows you how wide your spine will be. This might be considered a bit cheating given I’m a graphic design student and can easily set up pages my self but when your working with a company across the internet without the use of PDF proofs and someone to check it at the other end I think this is probably allowed and makes printing error more minimal . Obviously if I was working with a local printer on a big job then I probably wouldn’t do this.

The reason I got this one printed was mainly to see how easy the whole uploading, paying and receiving process was and how good the final product would be so that I could use the company again for my FMP. I ordered it on the 5th and it arrived today (the 13th) which is extremely quick considering it came from Europe so this has given me a rough idea of how long their turn around time is for something like this.

I’ve also been looking at other products they do and its given me lots of ideas for my PDP in relation to mini portfolios that I can put together for potential employees to make me stand out so I’ve just ordered a swatch kit to help me with this. I highly recommend this site to anyone who wants to self publish things especially for good prices, quite often as a student its hard to get things like this printed without paying a ridiculous amount or having to order 300 copies.

Oh…. I even learnt something creating this post! I wanted to upload the video I took of me flicking through the book but I don’t have the right software so I managed to export the frames of the video using a handy tutorial and VLC media player!



Reflection on Book cover submission

Final Book Cover

I am quite pleased with how my book cover for Caitlin Morans, How to be a Woman has turned out, I have produced something that I think would work effectively on both printed and digital platforms and is appropriate to the context and themes of the book. Although the whole book is aimed at women it has a varied amount of themes and so creating an image and layout for the cover that generalised the book was one of the key issues. I initially came up with three different ideas that had varying concepts behind them including one that had a vector image of the author however I felt this was too close to the original cover and a lot of books by comedians use their pictures. By using am image of boobs and a stick person done in lipstick I feel that the images are both funny and relate-able to women, they are images that are constantly associated with women for decades and so give it historical and contemporary context.  The book is by a comedian and is funny throughout and so a humorous and tongue and cheek cover that creates a smile or laugh when looked at I feel is the most appropriate. The type used is also bold and striking with an emphasis on the comedians’ name that would catch the attention of people that know of Caitlin Moran from her other work.

I think my most valuable piece of research for this project was going to a bookshop and picking out the covers that were most eye-catching to me from the shelves. I was also able to see where the book would be found in a bookshop and get an idea of what the other type of covers books by comedians looked like. Doing this allowed me to see what was most effective for a busy bookshop setting and what would stand out as well as the types of design elements such as foiling and embossing that were used. As books are held and are tactile objects I have chose to include a pantone silver colour and embossing on the front cover to emphasize the type and the imagery. I think that this is effective, as the reader would feel the texture of the embossing giving it a texturised feel. Although I am not able to create the book cover with embossing I have created a document that shows where the embossing would be and could be used if needed to create an embossing plate.

One thing that I am not as happy with is the quality of the lipstick writing and images, where I have edited them in Photoshop to intensify the red colour I have lost some of the texture quality which I achieved by using textured paper to write on. I think that this is something that could be addressed by working on my Photoshop skills as this a program which I have only used a handful of time to create this kind on imagery.

Final Design For Coffee Packets


Think these packaging layouts are really effective, they are bold and eye-catching and would stand out from a distance if stacked on a shelf. The layout also means that the brand is easily expandable and new flavours can be added to the product line. There is a clear hierarchy of type showing the name of the flavour and then a small description about the flavour. I think that the brown recycled paper works really well it adds a rustic organic feel to the product reiterating the origins of the product. I do feel however that the paper is slightly too dark and that the illustrations and grey certification logos would pop better on a slightly lighter paper. I am however really pleased with how these have turned out. The work collectively together and I think that they would stand out and look striking on the shelves of both coffee shops and supermarkets. The design is also versatile in the fact that it would allow for the range to be expanded and more coffee flavours to be added just by creating another animal emblem.

Coffee Cup, Coffee Cup Sleeve, T-Shirt and Promotional Tote Bag

I think these T-Shirt designs would work well at promoting the coffee, the T-Shirts would be ideal for coffee shop workers to wear to initiate conversations with customers about the coffee the shop is selling and the good work it is doing. I feel the tote bags are also a nice addition, given the recent changes to UK law and the introduction of the 5p carrier bag charge, reusable bags are becoming more popular. These bags could work as merchandise for the coffee shops to sell and at the same time would contribute towards advertising of the coffee products. Think having a coffee cup sleeve available for coffee shops would be a good idea because it would act as promotional material for the Grand Cafe brand. Using a sleeve would allow the coffee shops to place it on the cups that they already use if the customer opts to buy a Grand Café coffee. Using a corrugated light brown recycled cardboard for this would be better at shielding the heat and would also be in-keeping with the paper and colour used on the coffee bags themselves. Having a coffee cup as well as a coffee sleeve would give retailers and suppliers of the coffee the option of what they would want to use.

Final Reflection on Brief

This is the part of the refinement module that I am most happy with, I think that I have produced a range of material that would successfully communicate the values of the Grand Café brand and at the same time look effective and eye-catching with busy coffee shop settings. My initial research around the brand affiliations such as Rainforest Alliance gave me strong basis of knowledge and insight into what the Grande Café brand was achieving with their coffee range and I think that I have successfully continued this in my designs and promoted it even further. The major point I wanted to communicate was the fact that the coffee was good for the rainforest environment but at the same time it was protecting the habitat of many animals so this context was something I experimented with from the beginning testing a range of ideas on how I could portray this. I think my finished outcomes using coffee illustrations were the most effective and although I liked my patterns ideas and they worked to some extent, I felt that they were not as in keeping with the UCC Coffee brand. The coffee illustrations worked more effectively at promoting the good the brand is doing for the environment and its animals as well as having versatile applications and being easily expanded if needed.

My research into sustainable brands gave me ideas about the types of materials I should use to continue brand continuity including using recycled paper and organic materials such as cotton for items within the brand. Looking at brands such as Lush Cosmetics and Joco Coffee Cups allowed me to see the types of products they were producing and what materials they were producing them with. A lot of packaging these days uses plastic and although this is recyclable the majority of the time it didn’t feel appropriate to the brand I was creating for. These ideas such as using recycled paper and organic cotton were ones that I felt were adaptable to the brand and ones I could apply to my own designs. Recent reforms in the English law in relation to charging 5p for a plastic bag in shops gave me the idea to design a reusable organic cotton carrier bag that would help to promote the brand further and be in keeping with its sustainable ethos. I also felt that using a recycled paper for the coffee bags would give the packaging and design an organic feel and further contextualise the ethical ethos of the brand. To be able to show the finished pieces I have used recycled parcel paper however I feel that this is too dark and if printed professionally the paper would need to be slightly lighter to allow the coffee illustrations to pop, the designs would however still work effectively on white.

I think the coffee bag designs are also successful because they are easily adaptable to use on other material and objects such as the coffee cups, cup sleeves and t-shirts. The brand wanted something that would promote talking points for both coffee shop workers and customers and I think using the animal emblem’s would be effective in doing this. There is also scope for these emblems to be used on other promotional material such as posters and table talkers, which shows the versatility of the brand that I have created.

Coffee Drawing Application


Haenowitz & Page Direct Trade Coffee Roasters, Gian Besset,

I was looking through bechance and came across these coffee packets. I really like the way the coffee bag design is the same for each blend of coffee but that the designer has added a strip around the bag to give the specific information for each flavour. Make the bag slightly more interesting rather than having just one element. I think the bold typeface also works really well in contrast to the delicate illustrations and the brown paper they have used gives the brand a rustic and earthy feel. I feel this is something that I could recreate with my own twist on using the coffee paintings that I created.

Recycled paper bag with paper information strip. Bottom paper bag is the same for all coffee options however the paper strip will have relevant information for each coffee flavour on.

I think this idea would work really well and would look effective. The way it is put together means that the main bag could be made from a cotton bag which could be refilled with coffee bags by the supplier once empty adding to the companies idea of sustainability and green ethos. The addition of the paper sleeve would mean that this could be removed easily and a new one put on once the bag is refilled with whichever flavour of the coffee. The sleeve shape and design could also be transferred to a coffee cup sleeve design and other branded items. Although I think this is a good concept I think that it is slightly too fussy for the UCC coffee and Grand Café brands and a design which had only one element would be more efficient and effective for them. I do however like the brown paper used for the bag as it gives the product a rustic and earthy feel which is in-keeping with the coffee theme. I do think however that the illustrations are working really well they are eye-catching and dynamic and work well with the bold typography used and these are two elements which I want to keep for the design.

Coffee Drawings

Whilst searching for illustration inspiration regarding coffee I came across an artist called Maria A. Aristidou on BoredPanda who actually paints using coffee.

Coffee Drawings, Maria A. Aristidou,

These are really striking images and I think its a really good idea painting with a material that you wouldn’t usually think could create something so interesting. Because of the nature of the material and the fact you can create varying tones you can still get a lot of depth, texture and detail to the paintings but still keep the idea that it is created with coffee and could look like a splash of coffee.

Thought the idea of painting with coffee and using the product to create the imagery would be really interesting. It would contextualise the illustrations and create some really interesting textures and give an organic feel.

parrot big

Parrot Painting with Coffee by Myself

Im really pleased with how this turned out I think it is striking I do however think that my own painting need to be more fluid and have more of a coffee effect so that people can tell that it is made with coffee. I feelcoffee splash the addition of coffee drops and splashes would help this so I created some coffee rings and splashes to help act as a texture and add a bit of gritty ness. Because I liked my idea from before hand with the animal vectors and the scene I wanted to try and incorporate the two together and create them using coffee.

monkey frontrhino front

I created each of the animals first and then in photoshop over-laid them with the same coffee ring that I had made. I feel that these illustrations work better. They are more fluid and more organic, which I think is appropriate to the coffee brand given its ethos. They also work effectively alone or as a group of illustrations and could easily be adapted to be used on other branded material. The group can also be expanded to allow for the addition of more coffee variations to the brand. Going to now apply these to packet layout to see how they work.

New Packet Design

Because I felt that the patterns weren’t working for the coffee packet designs as they weren’t very in-keeping with other UCC brands packets and they also didn’t seem to convey the message that I had originally intended I have played around with a new idea.

This idea involves creating a rainforest scene out of the four packets and each packet focusing around a particular rainforest animal. I think this design is really effective because it tells a story about where the coffee comes from and implies the goodness that the company is doing for the animals. The bags also look effective from all angles as the design and story continues the whole way round. However I feel that it doesn’t look as sophisticated as I would like and reminds me of the rainforest café and zoo branding. I would like my design to look more upmarket and feel sophisticated and be bolder so that it stands out from a distance behind a counter or on a shelf.

My inspiration behind this idea came from seeing this sweet packaging…


Traditionals Torroni Nougats Packaging, Sabadì – I Torroni,

Like the idea that the illustration design flows over the four packets telling a story about the origin of the nougart and the idea that the illustration on one packet can still work on its own. Think that it would really stand out on the shelf of a shop as it is quirky and you might me inclined to buy all four just to complete the picture. I also feel that there is room for the design to expand if more products are added to the line as these could be added on to either end and the illustration continued further.

All images belong to their rightful owners