Logo & Packaging: The Shelburne Honey Company

I met Tim Smith and Courtney Basil of Apex Orchards last winter, at a marketing workshop I taught with CISA. While a lot of the farmers in attendance were just starting out, Tim and Courtney were there representing a farm that had been in business since 1828. Tim is a fourth-generation farmer, and Courtney helps him manage the operation, which is largely focused on apples and other tree fruits.

Marketing a farm with so much history is an interesting challenge, as the needs of modern consumers and the rich heritage of a place press up against each other. One area of the business Tim and Courtney really felt needed updating was their honey products, which are sold under the name The Shelburne Honey Company. The delicious honey was lacking a consistent logo, and the labeling needed a refresh.

Tim has been producing honey since 1972, and wanted to maintain the heritage of the locally established honey, while making sure his products were standing out on shelf. The original label included hand drawn floral details by his aunt, which I thought was really special. I thought playing with the original design would be a great way to transition the products into a new era, while still paying homage to its roots.

I spent a lot of time cleaning the original floral drawings up, rearranging, and creating a brand new logo out of them:

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Tim, Courtney and I really liked the results; it felt like a great balance of old and new. When applied to labeling, it really cleaned the products up and made them look like a family.

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We used the established Apex Orchards red color to draw a subtle connection to the main business, and color-coded the banners to distinguish between different products: Original, Clover, and Creamed Honey.

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I really like the way they all look together, and can’t wait to see them printed out and on the shelf in the fall!

Branding: Field Notes

When I first met Joan and Kyle of Field Notes, we were still in a February deep freeze. I shuffled over a very solid layer of Hudson Valley ice to the Lansing Farm greenhouse, where it was nice and warm and smelled like dirt. Joan and Kyle pointed out all their varieties of newly started plants, which naturally flowed into their many plans for Field Notes’ second season of farm dinners: the seedlings were destined to feed many mouths this summer, after all.

Field Notes was established when the two chefs came to Colonie, New York from Vermont, looking to gain a better appreciation of where the food they were cooking came from. They did this by teaming up with the Lansing Farm family to establish a farm-to-table restaurant, using crops grown right on the farm to serve weekly meals on the same land. The first year was a success, with many delicious meals and memorable evenings against the backdrop of wildflowers and farm sunsets, and they were looking forward to expanding in their second year. They knew it was the right time to refresh their brand, and I couldn’t have agreed more.

We wanted the new logo and branding to not only reflect the beautiful experience of a rustic dinner on the farm, but also the hard work that goes into harvesting and preparing a meal. Joan and Kyle are big believers in understanding what goes into growing and raising the food we eat, and aim to tell that story with every meal. Their branding should of course do the same.

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In developing the logo, I wanted to give significance to the elements of those meals, as the ingredients journey from soil to plate. This approach really gives the details of that process an elegance, and makes it clear that there is a whole lot that goes into a well-prepared feast.

In the branding process, we expanded that concept even further, making the illustrations of the farm, kitchen and table elements front and center, translating them well into secondary logos and pattern, all in deep eggplant and leafy green colors that evoke the pallet of a late summer harvest.

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This really came together in the menu design, which showcases Field Notes’ ever-changing and artful preparations of the freshest ingredients available.

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And, because we didn’t want the warm, intimate aura of a summer farm dinner to be lost, this additional illustration is going to work in concert with the rest of the branding to call to mind those late moonlit evenings filled with laughter, good food, and great company.

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I am so pleased with the way this project came out, and am grateful to Joan and Kyle for inspiring me with their vision and then turning me loose with it. It was a fun one to work on and I can’t wait to see it come to life as they kick off their 2019 season!

Branding: The Gilded Oyster

When Quinn’s Fine Jewelry closed its doors in my hometown of Wilbraham, everyone was sad. No more little green boxes under the Christmas tree! My father was perhaps the saddest, as Denise Quinn, the owner, had made anniversaries and birthdays very simple for him for years - he knew to always check my mom’s wish list for the perfect sparkly gift.

So Dad was awfully pleased when I told him Denise had gotten in touch with me about some branding - for her new shop on Cape Cod! After relocating to Falmouth, she and her husband Brian had the itch to have a storefront once again, this time embracing the heritage, culture, and aesthetic of the Cape that they love so much. They settled on the name The Gilded Oyster, in reference to an all-time favorite golden oyster piece her son had created. I rejoiced: gold foil EVERYTHING, please.

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Denise wanted the logo focused on the oyster for which the shop was named. I played with that symbol in a few different ways, including adorning a little mermaid illustration with an oyster necklace (I had to try it), but the design Denise chose combined one of my all-time favorite script fonts with a simple line drawing. It reflects the elegant, natural designs characteristic of the shop’s jewelry collections, and nods to that timeless Cape Cod nautical aesthetic.

Developing the branding and website was just as fun, and allowed me to gild to my heart’s content. Denise was after a calm, beachy look and feel and loved the combination of sea glass aqua with gold, so we brought that in to most all elements of her shop.

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My favorite piece was the business card - gold foil oyster! The sign for the front of the shop is going to look just like these; it’s in production now and I cannot wait to see how it comes out.

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I love the way all these pieces came together to bring a fresh, classy brand to Main Street in Falmouth. Now I just need to get over the bridge to check out the shop - Denise opened the doors just before Christmas! This was so much fun to work on, and I’m excited to see the Gilded Oyster flourish when visitors make their way to the shore this summer - my dad included.

Oh, and a couple logo outtakes!

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Anyone want a mermaid logo???

Interview with T.E.L.L. New England

Just before the craziness of the holidays, I had the opportunity to sit down with Jenn Bakos of the wonderful T.E.L.L. New England and talk a little bit about my business. Jenn and T.E.L.L. do such a great job of celebrating the local businesses and people that give New England its heart and soul, and I was so honored to be included in their mission.

T.E.L.L. put together a blog post on The Homegrown Studio, interviewing me about what I do, how I do it, and why the New England community has been so essential to the growth and success of my business. Click here to read the whole post.

More than anything, it was such a pleasure to chat with Jenn, and learn more about the important work that T.E.L.L. is doing to grow community. I’m looking forward to seeing what they have in store for 2019, and am hoping to contribute to their efforts in whatever way I can!

Thank you Jenn and T.E.L.L. New England for this fantastic opportunity!

Special Offer for CISA Local Heroes!

CISA has been doing some incredible work in the Western Massachusetts community for 25 years, providing resources and support for the local farmers that feed us all. Most notably, they’ve established the Local Heroes campaign, which is the country’s longest running and most comprehensive “buy local” program for farm products. Farms, restaurants, retailers, and more join together to raise awareness and sales of locally grown products.

Good news if you’re part of that awesome movement - The Homegrown Studio has partnered with CISA to offer Local Hero members 15% off any graphic design or branding project! Let’s work together to tell your story, and tell the larger story of what it means to farm, buy, and eat locally.

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Send me a note if you’re a Local Hero and want to take advantage of this offer, I’m booking projects for January. Winter is the best time to develop your branding and marketing, and prepare for a bountiful 2019 season!

AND, I’ll be teaching a branding workshop through CISA this February! Stay tuned for details.

 

One Month Into Full-Time Freelance, Here's What I've Learned

As of today, I’ve officially been calling The Homegrown Studio my full-time job for one whole month. Making the leap to freelancing full-time has been exciting and sometimes uncomfortable, but ultimately I can say I am feeling a whole lot better, happier, and more fulfilled than I was a month ago. Heck, I’m even making money. I’m surprising myself in new ways every day, and thought I’d share some of the things I pushed myself to do as I set out on this new chapter.

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1. I asked people to tea. (I don’t drink coffee!) The first thing I decided to do when jumping fully into freelance work was to turn the networking way up. I did this for two reasons: 1.) I felt in need of advice and work and ideas, and 2.) I was terrified of being lonely - about two days into freelancing I realized that this could easily get very lonely. So, I reached out to mentors and smart ladies I’d met along my career path and asked if they would meet up with me. They had nothing but great ideas and sound advice, and it was great to catch up. I threw invitations out to local people I admired and was curious about, but had previously only made contact through mere Instagram likes. Why stay behind the screen? I gained new perspectives and new friends in this case, which was so exciting. Here’s the awesome thing: no one turned down my invitation. Everyone I had tea with seemed genuinely happy to sit down and chat in person, and real, engaging, pleasant conversation always resulted.

2. I started something new. Out of this urge to connect with others originated the idea to bring a Ladies Drawing Night to Western Mass. I put the idea out there, set a date, found an awesome host, started an Instagram account, and put up posters. I was thrilled to see tons of women I barely knew were excited about this, and said “see you there!” it’s been fun learning how to make a community event happen and create all the branding around it as a neat personal project. I can’t wait for November 8 when we can all just meet up and draw!

3. I set measurable goals. At my corporate job, the practice of setting clear and measurable goals was hammered into me. It could get annoying, but there’s no denying it consistently worked.  Freelancing, I found myself going back to that ritual and making lists to prioritize tasks for the day, week, and month. Every Monday, I identify one thing I nailed last week, and three things I absolutely need to nail this week. Long term, I’ve started thinking about where I want to be in a year – three years – and I’m setting a timeline as to when I need to achieve smaller goals to make it all happen. I’ve been trying to stay disciplined about this, even as I’ve thrown a lot of my corporate structure out the window.

4. I reached out to dream clients. I’ve realized quickly how important it is to be cultivating new opportunities even as I’m working on the here and now. When I was freelancing by moonlight, I could kind of get away with being passive about this and rely on clients coming to me, no big deal if they didn’t. Full time, I really want to make sure work that I’m excited about is coming in consistently. I took some new tactics such as sending out postcards to people and businesses I would love to work with. I’m finding myself busier than ever, and with more of a plan to make sure it continues.

5. I set a schedule for myself. Well, still working on this one. The line between work and life has become blurry, although I’m loving the flexibility of working from home on my own terms. Knowing when to sit down and do nothing but work, when to run errands, when to go to the barn, when to visit my grandmother, when to schedule meetings with clients, and when to watch American Horror Story with my boyfriend has been challenging. I wonder at the end of each day did I do enough? I’m finding it difficult to shut off my brain and relax, something I had no problem doing with the corporate job. Setting those measurable goals has helped with this, and as I get a feel for this new lifestyle I’m getting a better picture of what ‘normal’ looks like, and when enough is enough. It’s an adjustment, and something I suspect I’ll always grapple with as so many other freelancers have advised me.

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There are still plenty of things I am wrapping my head around and learning (Quickbooks anyone???) but I’m feeling pretty darn good one month into the game. I am thrilled to be able to finally devote myself fully to my dream, focus my work entirely on my clients, and give this my best shot. I’ll update you on how it’s going at six months, and in the meantime, just let me know if you’d like to get tea!

Ladies Drawing Night Western Mass

I’ve been feeling like talking in real life with other local creatives; exchanging ideas, learning about others’ processes, getting feedback, and enjoying a laugh together at all of this. I’ve long been inspired by the original Ladies Drawing Night movement in Brooklyn, and loved the book by Julia Rothman, Leah Goren, and Rachael Cole. So I put a little idea out there on Insta, and was thrilled to see an enthusiastic response both from people I know and don’t know, and local businesses offering to host. I fleshed out the idea a little more from there and came up with Ladies Drawing Night Western Mass.

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The first LDN will be Thursday, November 8 from 7:00 - 9:00 pm at Holyoke Hummus in Holyoke, Mass.! It will be a fun, casual atmosphere for local creative women to make some art, share ideas, get inspiration, make new connections, and enjoy the best falafel in the Pioneer Valley.

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And, this will all be in benefit of the Holyoke Creative Arts Center, which provides low cost artistic instruction to the Holyoke community and beyond. They do a lot to support local arts and foster creative thinking in the community, and we’d like to show our support in return. Please consider donating when you come out to Ladies Drawing Night.

So, put LDN on your calendars, and I’ll look forward to seeing you on November 8! Can’t wait to meet you!

Logo Design: Riverwood Farm

The day I met Diego, I hopped in his farm truck and he drove us down a winding wooded path in Haydenville, leading to his one-acre plot of farm land along the Mill River. Riverwood Farm was in the August thick of it’s first full growing season, and it looked to be going well: tomatoes hung full and ripe from their vines, corn reached towards the towering trees above, and baby fall greens were already popping up in straight rows.

Diego had reached me through Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, CISA, which is an incredible resource for farmers in the Pioneer Valley. He’d been receiving support towards developing his business through their Beginning Farmer’s Program, which had guided him towards effectively branding his farm. That begins with a memorable logo, and I was so glad to hear from him when he saw my work and felt like it’d be a good match.

I was impressed by how much Diego was accomplishing on his acre in the woods; Riverwood Farm is truly a one man operation. He runs a no-till farm, as a means of keeping the soil healthy and fertile. The farm supplies vegetables to several local restaurants like Bistro Les Gras and The Freckled Fox Cafe. He also runs a farm stand up at Valley View Farm, making his fresh vegetables available to the community throughout the growing season.

Diego wanted his logo to be deeply personal, speaking to the hands-on, sustainable, small-scale operation he was running. His connection to the community and to his land needed to come through. So, what better way to do that than to put the farmer right in the logo?

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This illustration came to me first and most easily when I first began the process for this logo. I just drew what I had witnessed when I visited Riverwood Farm: Diego working his land by hand, under the shade of the forest by the river. Paired with a friendly hand drawn font, it instantly became full of personality. I was so glad he went with this option, I felt it suited his vision for the farm so well.

I won’t soon forget the other concepts for this project, though - here are the other three I presented to Diego.

They all paint a picture of Diego’s farm in their unique ways, but it’s the farmer in the chosen logo that really lets all that is at the core of Riverwood shine through.

I’m excited to see what’s next for Diego now that his brand is coming to life! Beginning farmers: make sure you get in touch with CISA, they have some incredible resources and grants that can take your farm and business to the next level. Take advantage! I’m looking forward to doing more with them in the future.

Images courtesy of Riverwood Farm

Logo Design: Rockingstone Farm

Rockingstone Farm in Barre, Mass. has just the kind of story I love - old local farmland being reenergized by a new generation. Lindsay Higgins first got into contact with me in the spring, looking to create a logo for the farm she and her family had been developing over the last year.

This effort has been particularly exciting for Lindsay because it is a new chapter in her family's history: the land was originally her grandfather's. The farmhouse was built in 1776, and now Lindsay and her husband Liam were working to create a farm and home of their own on the 100 acre property, and raise their two children there. They'd already been bottling and selling maple syrup from 350 trees, and opened a farm stand on Route 122.

The name Rockingstone Farm is after a natural landmark in Barre, just minutes down the road from the farm. Two boulders are balanced on top of the other in a seemingly impossible way; a teetering monument in the woods. The spot has been visited by generations in Lindsay's family; she sent me this photo of her mother at the rocking stones in the '70s, and also one of her children playing there today. 

For this reason, it was important to Lindsay that the rocks be incorporated in the logo, and the unique namesake was immediately where I wanted to go with the project. It proved to be no easy task though - rocks aren't always the easiest subjects to draw. After pages and pages of doodling and countless attempts from every angle employing several mediums, a few renderings were finally starting to do the rocking stones and all their natural wonder some justice. 

Here's the final logo we agreed would be the face of Rockingstone Farm:

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The detailed ink drawing of the stones went beyond my typical style and comfort zone, but definitely described the rocks best. Maple leaves fall around the the rocks, speaking to the farm's current focus on maple syrup production. The traditional serif font nods towards the rich heritage and history behind the farm, but a clean, sharp layout keeps things modern as the next generation builds a future. I think this will be the start of a strong brand for the farm, representing all it has been and all it's going to be. 

I came up with a wide variety of options for this logo, playing with the best ways to describe and incorporate the rocks, and suggesting some different directions all together. Both Lindsay and I liked the concept that incorporated the old red barn on Route 122, but agreed the rocks should be given priority. Hoping we can still use the barn illustration in some future pieces!

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I'm very excited with the concept Lindsay chose, and can't wait to see how she uses it to brand her farm. 

Photos courtesy of Lindsay Higgins

Logo Design: Cedar View Polo Club

It's always nice to reconnect with old friends. I was so happy when Debi Gale got in touch a few weeks ago - my sister and I rode horses with her for years when we were growing up, and leased a wonderful quarter horse named Kramer from her for a while. She and her family had since built their own gorgeous farm in Somers, CT, and her son Drew is in the process of establishing a polo club there. Games would be starting soon and they were in need of a logo. 

I came out to their property on a sunny afternoon, a quiet haven among towering cedar trees. I was so impressed to see the polo field they had been grooming for the last five years - it sat finally ready to see games this season. Debi and Drew showed me around as we caught up, and described the logo they were after - something classy and fun and built around the iconic pines that would become the symbol for the team: Cedar View Polo Club.

This was one of those logos where the inspiration and creativity just flowed, especially after I was just off of a trip to Lexington, KY for my full time job, where life revolves around horses. I was excited to draw some polo ponies and bring in elegant fonts that would be the core elements for this brand.

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I was so pleased with the design they chose - a crest logo that gestures towards traditional, preppy branding for the sport of kings, but is softened with retro, fun touches. The focus remains on the horse and cedar trees, and I think the whole logo will remain very versatile for all sorts of contexts - particularly for team shirts and hats, which I am eager to see!

I was excited about some of the other concepts too, but definitely felt like they went with the strongest design. Here are some of the alternates:

Still kinda in love with the one in the middle though. Hoping to pull elements from it for something else someday, we'll see.

Looking forward to developing this branding further - and for games under the cedar trees this August! Thank you Debi and Drew!