Valerie Damen
CoffeeCherryPillow.png

Coffee Cherries

Client: Valerie Damen
Services Provided: Digital Illustration, Wholesale Merchandise

 

 
I toyed with patterns of lattes and coffee beans, but I wanted something more conceptual. I wanted something that told a story on a deeper level — that’s when I came up with the idea of developing a coffee cherry pattern.

 

Coffee Cherries

Client: Valerie Damen
Services Provided: Digital Illustration, Wholesale Merchandise

Overview

One of the most challenging tasks a designer faces is designing for themselves. Now I'm not referring to fun expressive works of art — those types of projects come naturally and are usually sparked by a random burst of inspiration. Rather, I'm talking about the daunting task of brand development for the designer themselves — creating imagery that authentically captures the essence, style, and market of the designer and their brand.

Challenges

I faced two main challenges during the production of this project:

1. Having myself as the main client.

2. Figuring out conceptual imagery that would tell a story in a non-traditional way while still aligning with my personal style.

3. Finding an optimal balance between who I am as a person and the brand I sought to represent.

Solution

During my junior years, I probably redesigned my brand well over 5 times. My style was everchanging and I was constantly being inspired by other designer's brands, so naturally, I was never quite happy with my logo and accompanying graphics. Like so many struggles people have in finding love, I was always on this hunt to find "the perfect" brand — one that really represented me deep down. What I didn't realize back then during my junior design years, was that — again like love — I was searching for my brand in all the wrong places. I was asking questions like:

1. What do my clients want to see in my brand?

2. What are other successful brands doing and how can I replicate that in my own way?

3. How can I make my brand mainstream, yet eclectic at the same time?

When I look back on those times I think it's pretty funny that I can ask all the right questions when working on a brand for an external client and ace the outcome for that brand at first go, but when it came to designing for myself I was having such a hard time.

It wasn't until a few years ago that I finally discovered why I was unhappy with my brand. I realized that I was focusing on what I thought prospecting clients would be drawn to as well as what popular design trends were being used at the time — I subconsciously did this to lessen the fear of putting the mirror on myself and digging deep. For some reason, the thought of visually creating imagery that fully captured who I was as a professional and person, seemed daunting.

Once I realized this flaw in my own brand development, I decided to separate myself from the project and treated myself as I would any other client. I asked myself tough business questions and started the project off from scratch by diving into a giant brainstorm session. During that brainstorm, I learned a lot about myself and I had endless visuals to select from, but two keywords struck me most: Coffee and Pattern (coffee was the fuel that energized my creativity and pattern was a personal interest of mine since childhood). With these two words highlighted in my sketchbook, I immediately felt that I reached that "lightbulb" moment and sketches started flooding the paper. I toyed with patterns of lattes and coffee beans, but I wanted something more conceptual. I wanted something that told a story on a deeper level — that's when I came up with the idea of developing a coffee cherry pattern. When I finally was 100% happy with my brand's conceptual direction, I developed a series of pencil sketches and digitally brought those sketches to life using whimsical stylization and warm tones.  I then took simplified portions of the artwork and integrated that into my logo.

Production

The digitally illustrated coffee cherries were formatted into a seamless pattern that was printed on business cards, letterheads, banners, posters, postcards, magnets, wall clocks, and textiles.

Wholesale

Linesheets and catalogues are only available upon request.  If you're interested in placing a wholesale order, please email me for inquiries.