My Very First Design Gig + What I Learned
I met with Kale the Fall of my final semester of college at the Spyhouse coffee shop on Hennepin Avenue. He told me he needed a logo for the company he and his sister Aubry were starting - The Herbivorous Butcher. They would create small-batch, locally-sourced, all-natural meat alternatives.
The product idea definitely peaked my interest, but little did I know, that this start-up logo project would turn into a branding project that would turn into one of the most talked about brands around (someone pinch me!). It's crazy to think that my first ever design gig has been the most successful.
In hindsight, I learned a few great lessons:
1. Always follow up and be persistent.
After a few months of designing, the project had to be put on hold because funding fell through. Funding is always a hard thing for start-ups, so I wasn't sure the project would ever re-start. But low and behold, almost a year later I got the email that we were back in business. I couldn't have been more thrilled.
This taught me that you shouldn't ever give up on a prospect - checking in is a good thing. It shows your potential client that you're thinking about them and that you care about them. You never know what could come from a prospective partnership, so don't give up if things start to trail off!
2. Be confident in your abilities and what you charge.
Since this was my very first design project and I wasn't quite sure how this process would go, I wasn't 100% confident in my abilities or what I should charge. How would I charge a client when I hadn't even completed college quite yet? Little 'ol college me was scared. But who says that just because you're in college, you can't create a well-executed, high quality brand for a client?
With the drive and the passion I have for design, I should have been confident in what I could create and that the process would fall into place since I was doing what I loved. So, don't underestimate yourself. If you're doing what you love, always be bold and confident. Always, always!
3. Don't undervalue the power of networking.
Kale was a co-worker of a good friend of mine. He mentioned in passing that he was looking for a logo designer and she spoke up for me and connected us. You never know where the smallest conversations or connections may lead.
Let your friends know they can recommend you to their friends. Follow through when friends do give you someone's contact info. Don't be afraid to speak up and offer your services when you meet somone. You might make an invaluable connection!
NOW LET'S TALK DESIGN!
Here are the thoughts behind the brand.
The Herbivorous Butcher's goal for their brand was to create a feeling of stepping into an old-school butcher shop, but one that vegans could feel good about - only "Meat-free meats" here!
This is why the branding plays a significant role in the initial attraction of the product.
(Great product + well-executed branding = start-up dream team.)
To bring the old-school butcher shop vibe into the present day, I mixed clean fonts with bold character + a retro script to communicate a sense of nostalgia. I created a retro badge feel with a unique shape and banner. Illustrated plant and butcher knife icons further explained the brand. And finally, I brought in the "established" date to complete the dated look. Here's some initial logo explorations:
And, here is the final logo + brand elements.
The Herbivorous Butcher team wanted a simple and cost effective way to package their product so that they could focus on creating delicious, quality, vegan meats. With the old-school butcher shop mood in mind, I immediately thought - "butcher paper and twine!". And, branded sticker labels were a practical way finish off the look as well as display the necessary ingredients and nutrition info. This packaging method allowed the vegan butchers to not only quickly wrap and package up their meat-free delicacies, but it was also easy to produce depending on demand. To finish off the package design, I coined the phrases "Meat-free meats" & "brother and sister duo" to capture the playful nature of its creators.
After the design was finalized, I developed an earthy color palette that we used to color code the products.
The vegan butchers began selling their meat alternatives at the Minneapolis Farmer's Market and after weeks of selling out, The Herbivorous Butcher team began a Kickstarter campaign to fund the opening of a brick and mortar shop. They exceeded their fundraising goal and opened the world's first-ever vegan butcher shop in NorthEast Minneapolis in 2016!
Go check them out at 507 1st Avenue NE!
From logo to packaging to catchy phrases, it's been incredible to watch their success and I'm grateful to be a part of their journey. The Herbivorous Butcher team is amazing - hats off to them!
Seeing the design work I did in all of these places is surreal!
Shout out from Jimmy Fallon!
New York Times - Meat Without Meat, Courtesy The Herbivorous Butcher
BBC Boston Calling - The Herbivorous Butcher
The Huffington Post - The First Vegan Butcher Shop In The U.S. Is Opening In Minneapolis
The Huffington Post - 5 Reasons Why Every Foodie Should Visit Minneapolis/St. Paul
Check out all of their press here.