We see the world differently, we are Designers

Hello my name is

I’m a Belfast girl, now loving life in my adopted home on the Isle of Mull on Scotland’s wild west coast.

My husband Joe and I have two burly rugby playing sons, Fergus & Rory, and we run a biscuit bakery making lots of organic biscuits.

I am into knitting and crochet, printmaking, and wine & cooking – too much of the latter!

Island Bakery | Branding and Printing

Chocolate Ginger cookie being held up by a cartoon chef with Island Bakery Branding

Oat Crumbles cookie being held up by a cartoon man in a kilt and a seagull on his head with Island Bakery Branding

Promotional cartoon for lemon melts, featuring a hand drawn lighthouse, goat and rowing viking

A card showing the products of Island Bakery is being held infront of a wooden deck

An about us card for Island Bakery is being held up by a hand infront of a wooden deck

Big Tree Knitting Supplies | Branding and Packaging

Graphical depicition of an iMac with stitching on the screen with Big Tree Knitting Supplies

A Pamphlet for Big Tree knitting supplies is sitting on a wooden floor

Letterhead and evelopes for Big Tree knitting supplies

A graphic depiciton of paperbag with branding for Big Tree knitting supplies

A cardboard tag for Big Tree kitting supplies is resting on a wooden floor

What or who inspired you to be a designer?

I’ve always had a bit of an eye for what looks good. I’m a stickler for colour co-ordination, right down to my socks, which always match my outfit! I’ve been quite successful in selling artwork, mostly original linocut prints and textiles, and I have done some illustration.

Friends often asked me to help them with their design needs, and I’ve been frustrated that although I could come up with good ideas, I didn’t have any of the skills needed to make them a reality before studying with TGDS. I guess I was inspired to take my tentative creative leanings to the next level.

At work, Joe had been responsible for the run of the mill design work for the business using Corel Draw. Just things like adverts in trade catalogues. (Our packaging was done by a professional!) I had a sneaking suspicion that I might do it better, but I needed to learn how. So I convinced him that I could ease his workload if only the business would help to train me. My ploy worked and I was soon enrolled at TGDS!

What are you up to in the design world at the moment?

Most of the work I do is connected to our business, Island Bakery Organics. I do all the advertising artwork, as well as promotional materials. I’ve just commissioned some landscape photography to use in a new look for all our marketing to help highlight the beauty of the island.

I’ve recently designed a logo for a local jeweller, and I’m about to do the artwork for a friend’s CD.

What is your favourite part of designing?

I think designing feels like doing a puzzle - it always feels great when you solve it. I love to hear the personal stories behind each job, and to get a real feeling for the character of the person or business I’m designing for. I love translating these into visual elements –logos, colours, type.

I’m less keen on the ‘design rules’ of layout proportions etc. Of course I do try to refine things according to these principles, and it’s a good discipline to have learnt about them at TGDS. They do make a difference.

How do you feel your surrounds (as a designer from the Isle of Mull) have shaped your design aesthetic?

I think we are all exposed to good and bad design through the media, the internet and the packaging that comes into our homes. I guess on Mull we see none of the billboards, lorries and shop-fronts that are found in the cities, so we are a little less overloaded with the chaos that can entail. I know I can’t stop noticing design when I’m off the island. We are very lucky to have lots of space, fresh air and stunning scenery with the colour changing daily, as well as through the seasons. I’m not sure it directly affects my design aesthetic, but it’s certainly a rich environment to draw from - it really feeds the soul to live here. Actually, it’s more the close-knit community that island life fosters that would impact on my design outlook. Here we’re always interested in each other’s lives (sometimes too interested!), and that’s the aspect I like most about working in design.

I think I’m most pleased with the BIG TREE work. I remember it being quite a watershed in my progress on the course. So many new skills came together with this design, not only in the logo itself, but in using Photoshop to produce mock-ups. I was very proud of it, and I still am!

Dawn you have a beautiful sense of typography and how to use it well in branding. How important is typography for you in your design process and idea conception?

When I’m working on a new project, I quite often look for the type first. I really enjoy looking at all the options on sites like MyFonts.com, although it can take ages to find something that’s perfect AND relatively unique. I also follow a few typography related boards on Pinterest, so I get a feel for trends there. The latest trends aren’t necessarily what’s best for the job though, so you do have to choose wisely.

With the jewellery logo I’ve just done, I found the most perfect type, that I’d never seen before. I felt like I’d struck gold! I was so delighted when the client also picked it out of the shortlist I’d presented to her. After we’d decided on it for definite, I then worked on several ideas for a logo that fitted well with the type, and refined the final choice according to the proportions in the font.

When doing work for the bakery, I am usually constrained to use the three prescribed typefaces that come with the brand, so I have to look for ways to use it along with the other brand assets (illustrations, colour palette), and sometimes photography, to produce something consistent across all the work I produce. So that’s a little more limiting creatively.

The most important question of the day, how does one get their sticky fingers on some Lemon Melts? Love your work Dawn!

What a shame! We were in New Zealand for Christmas and stopped in Sydney for a couple of days on our way back – I could have brought you some then!

We could always arrange a parcel if you twist my arm!

PS: He is The Island Bakery website link for arm twisting requests.

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