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March 2010

Seattle's Best Coffee Ice Cream: Lettering for Package Design


The handsome, overall package design for SBC's ice cream line was created by Hornall Anderson Design Works in Seattle. I was hired to do the flavor names.

If you were to look at these cartons of ice cream, would you be able to tell that the lettering for the flavors was done all by hand? Probably not, as it has a polished, typographic appearance. The art director for this project wanted something more than straight typography for the flavor names on these pint cartons. Small flourishes on the letters, spacing adjustments, and just the right thick and thin balance on each letter created the subtle quality desired to evoke the message that this was a premium grade ice cream.

I began by drawing the letters in pencil, shaping them and finding the right weight. I then inked in the letters, working on them in a size about twice the size of the printed image on the cartons. The most fun part of this assignment was buying one of each of the flavors after they were on the market, and having an ice cream feast with my famiily.

Seattle's Best Coffee is now a subsidiary of Starbucks, Inc. The ice cream is now packaged under the Starbucks brand. One can assume that the ice cream is still outstanding!


Continuing with the theme of brush-rendered animal illustrations, here is a trio of butterflies. To see what design project they were a part of, please click on the image to be taken to that page. These butterflies are available for licensing!


Swans Lifting Off: an Illustration Assignment

A swan taking off from a lake or a pond is not as endearing an image as one romantically swimming calmly across the water. Nevertheless, this is what was asked of me: to create an illustration of the splashingly awkward and chaotic swan at liftoff. Below are four of the sketches I submitted to the client after doing my research:

Swan1 Swan2 1


Considerations were: how much detail should be included in the wings, and in the depiction of the water being churned and splashed? Should the swan be made to look more graceful than it realistically does when accelerating in the water? In the end, a classic, poised swimming swan was chosen over the active version. Why? It was much easier to incorporate with calligraphy and type in the final logo. And, there was no ambiguity as to what bird it was. There's no mistaking a swimming swan.


Buffalo Impressions

A logo design assignment I contracted to do involved lettering and images for a new gift shop entitled Buffalo's. I enjoyed exploring the contours and dynamic energy of the buffalo (aka the American Bison). Here are a few of the illustrations I created for the client. Very little retouching has been done to preserve the raw, active character of the lines:

Eyedropper1 Sketchsm


Left: eyedropper and sumi-e ink. Right, felt tip pen.



Left: eyedropper and sumi-e ink on absorbant paper.

Right: eyedropper and sumi-e ink.





Love Thy Neighbor, with a Flourish

Over the course of a career, lettering artists amass an entire library of files both digital and the paper kind. A while back I worked on a charity campaign where the slogan was Love Thy Neighbor. Below is one of the variations that was not selected for the final rendering, but as I feel it has calligraphic merit, I've taken it out of its file folder and now send it into cyberspace: