A Mighty Big Harvest Packaging Design

Design, Illustration, New Piece, Packaging, Print

As a freelancer, it’s a fun treat when I get the opportunity to bid on a project, win that bid, and then work on that project from concept to completion with a team of other creatives (versus working solo or only on one facet of a campaign’s design).

I presented ideas to Applied Underwriters (a workman’s comp insurance agency (which has a GIANT St. Bernard for a logo)) for their annual wine promotion, an incentive program for sales reps to get more quotes and deals through their company. They have been doing these pretty elaborate direct mail campaigns for a number of years, so have a history of high quality, thoughtful designs under their belt.

The conceptualization process starts out many months in advance of when the program starts (technically, I think they are already thinking about the next year’s as soon as the program is just finishing up for the current year). I was given an overview of what the mandatory requirements for the promotion were, samples of things they’ve done in the past, and a brief idea of what “might be cool” this year. Amusingly, the initial concept was about pairing wine with chocolate, which is the concept I presented for, and then won the bid for, but as so many things go, issues with that concept arose afterwards, and we all had to then pivot and create a new concept after a few weeks worth of work had already gone into plan A.


My pitch for chocolate/wine pairing

Unfortunately, this promotion would be mailed out in August, which for most of the non-fog-bound-San Francisco parts of the country means melty times for chocolate.

But that’s ok, we played with a few other ideas but then eventually moved on to a concept of sending custom Govino glasses (those plastic ones with the little notch for your thumb) for the first mailer, and then a wine tasting game for the second mailer (basically, magnet poetry for your wine). Because it’s fun to look back on how things evolved, here are 2 of the very initial sketches for both of those pieces.


Initial box design


Magnet Poetry meets wine tasting design idea

Over the course of a couple more months, we refined, rewrote, reimagined, and then finally designed the 2 final pieces. I worked with the team up until almost the very end when their in-house design team took my files and cleaned them up for print production. A few more changes were made that likely were the result of seeing in-person mock ups and working out issues or cleaning up the design (like the outside of the box was supposed to be a scene from Napa, but I think it must have been a technical nightmare to line up AND looked very busy compared to the toned down, no image option they ran with for the final).

Fun to have played a big part in that process and guided the overall design work, and then see the final product turn out so well. A very great experience! Shout out to a very great art director and creative writer who were both so thoughtful and detail oriented throughout the whole process. It’s always a pleasure to work with such smart people. Also, a shout out to the highly technically scratchboard illustrator, Steven Noble, whom they have been working with for ages, for his contributions to the piece.




box open with reward chart insert removed









reward chart





Second Mailer in its plastic mailing sleeve








California Wine Infographic

Design, Illustration, New Piece, Posters, Print



Made another fun infographic, this time all about the Wine Industry in California (spoiler alert: it’s big). From production to consumption, California is a big winner. Prints are also available at Society 6.






Here’s a peek at the full scale, poster version.





Uncork the Court

Illustration, Invitations, New Piece, Print

PrintA friend of mine is having a neighborhood soiree and asked if I could design a little postcard to pass out to their neighbors to invite them to the event.

It is meant to be a block party where they get to meet their neighbors and have a glass of wine together. I loved the title they came up with for the event and sketched up a few ideas of how to incorporate the image of a bottle and a cul-de-sac. My solution was fairly literal in the end, with the crosswalks at the top of the street setting up the final outline of the top of the wine bottle. I added some houses, driveways, trees and a dog and swingset, too. I was a little reluctant to add actual people though, mostly because I liked the limited palette and feared I’d want to add more with the detail of people, and also that it’s printing rather small, so that detail would have been lost anyway. I do worry a little that it looks like an abandoned neighborhood though. Perhaps I’ll do a follow up piece showing how all the neighbors came together and fill it up with all of them having a good time outside together.

I’ve also been ramping up the brightness in the colors I use in my illustrations lately. A gradual shift has been in the works for years now. I remember my illustration teacher in college, Lynn Pauley giving us our first lesson about color palettes and saying that it’s pretty clear that your illustration palette matches your wardrobe. True to point, my clothes have been evolving from the earth tones and deep cranberry reds that I used to wear to more brilliant options like teal, salmon and cadmium red. I’m not ready for neon just yet though.