The initial design-based work at Saint Cupcake involved refreshing the cupcake labels for the front-facing pastry case. It had been a few years since the company had hired a designer, and I wanted to spin a new take on the labels that would be clean and inviting, yet true and consistent with our brand image. It needed to be fun, friendly, and a little fancy, as alike to many other bakeries’ displays. The image featured is a page from the final iteration of labels, marked with cut lines along the borders for easier separation and lamination.
Here you can see the current case labels on display in their natural environment.
First edition of the case labels, as done by the original business owner.
Prior edition of case labels with solid blue-green background and varying colors of text.
I began by drawing a rough. I researched typical bakery and cupcake displays to check out different shapes and font-styles, but in the end I circled back to Saint Cupcake’s iconic logo badge. The dots in the badge are a reference to the name of the original business owner’s grandmother (Dot), and the subsequent name for the mini-sized cupcakes (“dots”). I wanted to structure the dots around each cupcake name in a way that was colorful like the logo, yet neat. The label couldn’t clash or draw attention away from the actual product.
After drawing the rough, I checked in with the store manager and owner to see what they most preferred. We settled on one of the more simple designs.
My first approach to Saint Cupcake’s graphics was the most time-intensive. Their previous materials consisted of .jpg and .pdf files and t-shirts. I snapped some photos and ran the images through search engines, eventually landing me at a typeface: Dessau. It wasn’t an ideal change for the case labels, even if it was true to the logo, so I put together some demos using the case labels current font (Pistara) and another commercial-free font that mimicked a small-caps style and appeared more grandiose (MB Picture House One). I aligned everything to a grid in Illustrator, ensuring the dots and writing were centered and well-spaced, and sent the upper management multiple copies to compare for themselves. The black type was standard, while the pink and blue were colors drawn from the logo’s palette.
In the end, we went with the larger dots and the Pistara typeface in blue. This blue was used consistently across all the case labels, rather than swapped out flavor-to-flavor as in the older labels. In every step of this process, I sent the store owner and manager .pdfs of each color and style. During this last iteration, I sent them copies of their favorite design with clear cut-lines, a border line, and no lines.
There were six pages in each document containing 16 flavors a piece, as well as some blank pages. Since I was an employee of the business, there was no need to provide .ai files or procedural instructions, as I remained on to add flavors and make changes to the text as needed.
Here you can see a blank case label with some lettering I did for fun starring a new cupcake flavor, Mixed Berry French Toast.
T-Shirts and Tote Bags
My next project consisted of a renewal of our merchandise. We had t-shirts for staff that were available for purchase, as well as tote bags solely for our merchandise section. I was provided one of our older shirts and a .docx file with suggestions for new shirt slogans. I would use Illustrator to make clean new copies to later send to the merchandiser. To the left you can see my revisions on top of the older editions. I had found the typeface, Dessau, in my research for the case labels, so this project was quicker than the last.
The far left type is a smaller icon for the front breast of the shirt. I’ve filled the background for easier viewing on this site, but the actual fill is transparent. The far right image is the back of the shirt.
This is a screenshot of the .docx file I was provided. My goal was to translate the slogans as naturally as possible into a shirt design that would be similar to the previous merchandise prints.
I experimented with fonts based on the text file. Included are ones such as Quando, Bebas Neue, Ovo, Arial, and Droid Sans. The store owner was open to ideas and I wanted to provide visual concepts based on the guidelines provided. I also tried out different background colors: navy, gray, light gray, and beige for the tote bags.
“Peace, Love, Cupcakes” in Arial with a blue border became the decisive favorite, so in my final draft I composed files with different suggestions for text and background colors. The .ai sent to the merchandise company contained a transparent background.
Here is a screenshot of the third set of drafts. The files were numerous but it was quick to change the colors and export them to .pdf. We wanted to get it right on the first try. Each file contains 6-8 different colors or styles. I shared them via Google Drive. It was a decision I made to simplify the process and make it easier for Saint Cupcake’s upper management to click through the images and pick the one they thought would look best on their merchandise.
Finally, on display is a tote bag with the same logo as the shirt. The owner is happy with how everything came out, and I’ve received compliments from customers looking for a new ways to show their support for the business.