This looks familiar…

I love checking out The Dieline occasionally for inspiration for package design. There is so much talent out there (holy wow, seriously, SO MUCH), and I’m always blown away by how designers continue to push the envelope.

Every year, The Dieline rightly rewards creativity by holding their Dieline Package Design Awards

Check out the logo for the contest this year:

That color palette and gradient looks pretty familiar, amiright? ~_^

Aerial Ardour logo 2009.

Aerial Ardour logo 2010.

Aerial Ardour logo 2011.

Aerial Ardour logo 2012.

Aerial Ardour Twitter background January 2012-present.

I’m not going to presume I’m the first person in the universe to use this color combination, but I will say that I’m glad my favorite color combo since the 4th grade (thanks to a turquoise-and-magenta colored Spacemaker pencil box I was obsessed with) has helped placed me ahead of *some* kind of design curve! :D


Farmhouse Chicago: “Draughts for Drought”

I am happy and excited to announce that I’ve signed on a new client, and it’s a company I’ve been raving about ever since they opened in September last year: Farmhouse Chicago! 

I am proud to be working with this wildly successful Midwestern tavern in River North (which has been getting great reviews across the board on Yelp and Open Table, by the way… check ‘em out!), but not just because of their success, but mostly because they stand by keeping everything local.

Farmhouse works very closely with farms and breweries in only Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Indiana to comprise their menu, and they even salvaged all the interior from an old furniture warehouse. They are so serious about how local their food is, that on their menu, they even list how many miles the food and beer traveled to get to their kitchen. (Those numbers are pretty low. That’s a good thing.) 

I’ve always been a fan of Farmhouse’s whimsical and smartly irreverent brand design, and I am excited to be taking the reins in cultivating the brand look from this point forward, while working with the ever-amazing El-Be Social Marketing, who does a fabulous job on the social media and web development front.

My first project with Farmhouse was to design an invite/poster for their week-long-promo-culminating-into-an-awesome-party event: “Draughts for Drought.”

From August 6 to the 12th, Farmhouse took 50% of the dollars from a select list of local beers and donated it to Harvest Moon Farms. With the terrible drought this summer, our local farmers could really use the support.

"Draughts for Drought" event invite. ("Whoosh!" is what I think when I see it.)

When I first heard the idea from Farmhouse owner and general manager Ferdia Doherty, I thought, “Of COURSE he thought of a way to have a good time for a good cause.” He’s always been one one to do that. So I wanted to find a design concept that would come close to doing justice to the event idea.

As my husband and I were driving to get some really good sushi over one weekend, BAM! I got an image of a beer glass pouring beer-turning-into-water into an old farm water bucket, so I quickly started sketching.

"Draughts for Drought" invite concept sketch. Good thing I double checked the copy, because for some reason, I started writing "SEPT" for the date.

It’s a ridiculously literal idea, but it quickly and boldly communicates what the promo is about.

I then followed that design up with another that focused more on the D4D party on the 12th:

Follow up invite design, focusing on the D4D party on August 12.

For the look and feel, I wanted to retain the wonderful textured look that Farmhouse already has, but I also wanted to give it a breath of fresh air. I feel pretty great about accomplishing that here, and I hope to continue to achieve a comfortable familiarity yet freshness with the rest of the Farmhouse projects from this point on.

I hope you came out to support the cause!

Awesome giddiness alert: Even Stephanie Izard – Top Chef Season 4 winner and owner of Girl & the Goat – came out… and she even tweeted a pic of my design!! Then I dorked out, squealed in delight (and in the process startled my Boston Terrier, Angel), and tweeted about it out of unbridled excitement. :D!!!

If you did come out, maybe you and I were enjoying Farmhouse together on Friday, when the hub-hubs and I enjoyed some D4D brew (and snuck in their new gin cocktail, the Gin Claude Van Damme too). ^_^

And if you couldn’t come out, that’s okay. With Farmhouse always willing to step up and help a neighbor, no doubt you’ll get the chance to enjoy a brew for a good cause again soon.

Cheers, and thanks for reading!

2 Notes

Introducing: VeeV VitaFrute™

This is the huge project I’ve been working on from the bottom up since… holy crap, January.


VeeV Açaí Spirit® – The World’s First Açaí Spirit – is taking on the ready-to-drink beverage category and has launched VeeV VitaFrute™ Cocktails as of this month!

Check it:

VeeV VitaFrute promotional poster.

Look at those colorful, delicious bottles!

I worked in conjunction with Spring Design Partners to complete the bottle label designs.

VeeV VitaFrute label designs.

I also had a hand in finalizing the logo, brand book, sell sheets, case design, and a number of other brand design components. 

VeeV Spirits has been so fantastic throughout the process of creating the VeeV VitaFrute™ brand, as they were with creating the VeeV brand.

VeeV VitaFrute™ is pretty awesome for the following reasons:

  • The cocktails are made with VeeV Açaí Spirit®.
  • They come in three flavors: Organic Lemonade (yes, really organic! Trust me, we had to go through a ton of red tape and specifics to make sure it was), Margarita, and Organic Cosmopolitan.
  • They’re ready to go, so all you have to do is pour over ice and drink up!
  • That means it’s super easy for parties… as well as those days where you just don’t feel like whipping out the cocktail shaker. (As much into mixology as I am, there are definitely those days! Haha, yes, first world problems.)
  • And um… each of the cocktails are under 125 calories. YES!

VeeV VitaFrute™ case stack mockup. Look out for these in a liquor store near you!

Where can you find some?

Keep up with VeeV on Facebook and Twitter for updates. I know as of today, VeeV VitaFrute™ is currently available in New York with steady distribution continuing throughout the country.

My heartfelt thanks to VeeV Spirits for the honor of trusting me with their brand new baby! I have no doubt they’ll match if not surpass the success of the VeeV brand with this new endeavor. 

Mmmm, Margarita… hey, it’s Friday! ;P Cheers, and thank you for reading!


'Egg & Dart' Menu Design

It’s been all about menu designs in July! And I love it.

I designed the full menu for a rustic Greek restaurant in Miami, FL called Egg & Dart.

A Greek restaurant named Egg & Dart? Shouldn’t it be named… John Stamos or something? (Yes, I’m demonstrating my expansive cultural awareness right now. 0_0)

Well, after looking it up (apologies to my Art History professor for not paying attention to this in class, if this indeed WAS covered in class, ooooooh!), I found out “egg-and-dart” refers to a Greek ornamental device that uses alternating egg and arrow shapes.

I figured the owners must get that question a lot, so I thought it would be neat to put that definition up at the top of the menu.

The owners of Egg & Dart had a good foundation for the menu design, but it didn’t quite reflect the rich and elegant rusticity of their restaurant. It was set in a basic Word doc. Print. Distribute. For a restaurant that took its time crafting their food, you want to communicate that same dedication to detail in the menu.

Egg & Dart’s drink menu. Before.

Egg & Dart’s drink menu. After.

I kept this super simple and utilized the beautiful egg-and-dart device that was in their wonderfully designed logo and used that as a border all around the tabloid-sized document, while taking care not to have it completely dominate the page. 

To further communicate the authentic Greek cuisine, I thought it would be good to accompany each menu section with the Greek translation of that word. So even if you couldn’t understand the Greek translation, its presence was still effective. (I preemptively asked the owner for forgiveness if I had any of the Greek words incorrect, since I was using an online translation service. It’s been approved with no admonishing, so all is well!) 

Egg & Dart’s food menu. Before.

Egg & Dart’s food menu. After. Small bites, salad, main dishes, and dessert. Seriously. YUM. This is torture.

The real challenge of a menu is fitting in the copious amount of information in an organized and visually appealing way, while also taking into account legibility, readability, and even the lighting in the restaurant. A beautifully designed menu is nothing if the guests can’t read it. 

I feel fabulous about this project, and I hope you enjoy its beautiful simplicity too.

Because I’m located in the Midwest, I’m sad that I won’t be able to enjoy Egg & Dart’s cuisine in Miami. But next time I’m in Florida, I know exactly where to enjoy deliciously crafted and rustic Greek cuisine – and now you do too! 

1 Notes

'The Village' in Studio City, CA

On July 19, Chef Frank Leon of Bokado, La Loggia, and Next Door restaurants, opened his latest and most delicious dining endeavor: The Village, a gastropub in Studio City, CA.

According to their press release, Chef Frank “sought the advice of La Loggia and Next Door’s loyal, young-Hollywood patrons, including Jessica and Ashley Simpson, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Shia LaBeouf, and Ashley Tisdale. From those conversations, The Village was born.”

Here’s what Eater L.A. had to say (yes, they’re getting great press already!):

Cocktails and beer are listed on chalkboards throughout the venue, all specialty drinks were named after American authors known for their boozy habits. The Rum Diary is made with rum, Applejack, maple syrup, lemon, orange, and peppermint; meanwhile Churchill is composed of Armagnac, orange brandy, egg white, raw agave, and nutmeg.

Thirsty yet? ;)

I was most honored to work on several projects for The Village, including a photo booth, menu design, and Grand Opening invite. 

Here’s the freshly completed photo booth, before it was transported to The Village. Thanks to Hayley at Photo Illusion for sending this snapshot!

Here’s the drinks side of the menu. Menus were printed on Kraft paper to fit with the intimate and carefree feel of the tavern.

You can’t have a Grand Opening without people! This invite gives a wink to the chalkboards inside The Village that list menu items. I wanted the invite to give the guest the feeling that The Village is a cozy and fun place to spend an evening. I’m happy to report that they were so happy with the invite that they plan on using this design for all future invites and announcements.

What was wonderful about working on The Village was first and foremost, their people. A great restaurant can’t open successfully without great people. They communicated what they were looking for while giving me the right amount of creative freedom.

I also loved the rustic-yet-sexy approach of the place. This allowed me to go with a simple and clean direction that had a nod to the relaxed personality of this hot Hollywood destination. 

One disadvantage of having great clients on the West Coast is that since I’m in the Midwest, I miss out on fabulous events like these! I can’t wait for my next visit to L.A. to run down the cocktail list and get my ‘Literary Lesson’ from The Village.

If you find yourself cruising around that area, let me know what you had to drink and eat and describe it to me in great, excruciatingly torturous detail, so I can drool until I can make my own visit! :D