The Blueberry Experiment (or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Illustrator)

Rosewood Farms Jam LabelPrior to the start of Illustrator studies at Conestoga College, I don’t believe there was ever a day in my life when I said to myself, “You know, one day I’m going to design a label for a jar of jam.” It’s not a disparaging comment about traditional consumer-product graphic design (or jam, for that matter). Like most people compelled to create drawings and other artwork, my visions had always leaned toward the expressive because when you wait until later in life before walking into a formalized design environment, you usually don’t have people walking up to you to ask you to draw a label for a can of soup or bag of apricots. Your artistic guidelines are typically your own. So when I was asked to create a jam-jar label in October of 2014 as part of Illustrator studies at Conestoga College, I’ll admit that I was a bit perplexed as well as nervous about the assignment.

The project would represent 15% of my final grade in Illustrator, and having used the design program only once prior in the rendering of two home designs (which I felt looked like children’s cartoons based on my limited knowledge of Illustrator at the time), I had a moment when I felt I might yet again render something better suited to display on a refrigerator than across a consumer product. Yet if worry was a feeling I’d mistaken as an emotion, I was reminded that worry was just a false-intellectual response to mask the true underlying emotion of simple fear. So I just breathed. I told myself that, beyond it all, I was truly thankful for the privilege of learning Illustrator, and from that position of gratitude, fear pretty much evaporated. I relaxed, made a tea, cued up some R.E.M. on my phone and let myself just flow with the default settings of inspiration to render this—my second Illustrator creation, involving a wide variety of subtle gradients, custom color creations, type effects and more. The final piece was submitted as a transparency but I set it against a pinkish background here as the name of the fictitious company was Rosewood Farms (named after my Ontario property). So it seemed like the appropriate canvass.

All in all, for only the second thing I’ve ever done in Illustrator, I felt it was jam-worthy (for a fictitious company or otherwise) and, yup, I felt like I’d be thrilled to do it again.

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