Valerie Damen

Vintage Cassette

Client: Internal
Services Provided: Digital Illustration, Wholesale Merchandise


Growing up in the nineties was a unique world of Yak Baks, MSN Messenger, origami fortune tellers, Blockbuster, and cassette tapes.


Vintage Cassette

Client: Internal
Services Provided: Digital Illustration, Wholesale Merchandise


In celebration of my generation's unique nineties-upbringing, I decided to pay tribute to my inner child, by illustrating a modernized version of the cassette tape.


I faced one main challenge during the production of this project:

1. Selecting a reference photo that most authentically represented the blank cassette tapes that I used to record my fake radio station on — I had to dig deep into my memory to recall what they used to look like.

Technique & Construction

I started off this fun personal project by sifting through mounds of images — looking for the perfect reference photo to render digitally. Feeling super old, I realized that there were a vast array of cassette styles and that finding the perfect image to work from was more difficult than I would have thought (I was adamant on the illustration being 100% authentic to my childhood). I boiled down my choices to two options:

1. The classic pro cassette tapes usually purchased from HMV — my collection involved a mix of Michael Jackson and Journey.

2. The classic blank cassette tapes — usually purchased from the dollar store in packs of six.

I took the time to really think back on my childhood and came to the realization that although both styles were relevant to my nineties-upbringing, the blank cassette tape brought forth the most memories. Memories of me and my good friend Laura recording, fake radio stations like "Who Died News" or epic-failed karaoke sessions where I would try to rap and Laura would impersonate NSYNC.

Once I finally landed on the perfect cassette reference photo, I imported the image into illustrator and began to digitally construct the tape on another layer. I stylized it using whimsical textures and bright, eye-popping colors — digital treatments that I thought visually represented my personality.


Initially, the illustration was just a personal project that, at most, was going to be displayed on my Instagram account, however, as I began tackling my CGD portfolio and application, I became inspired to theme my case studies portfolio using the cassette illustration.

Not only was the illustration used for my CGD portfolio booklet, but it was printed on pillows, apparel, postcards, posters, magnets, and wall clocks.


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