A big chunk of our work revolves around food: food brands, logos, packaging, eating food. We have probably illustrated more sweet potatoes than the average person.Certainly more sweet potatoes than WE ever expected to be illustrating. (And don’t get us started on horseradish.) Because we work with so many different brands with different products and goals, our sweet potatoes will never look the same. We’re constantly asking ourselves, “ok, what art style helps to push the whole concept closer to the brand essence?” Thankfully, there has been a few times when cut paper illustration has been the answer.
Two basic elements, paper + dimension, hold incredible potential. There are so many factors to play with: Will the paper be textured, transparent, thick, or thin? Will there be lots of space and shadow between layers or not? Will there be 20, 30, 60 layers, or just two? Will it be lit? Backlit? Will the paper be cut cleanly or torn? Take a quick glance at Pinterest and you will see how so many people have created joyful or mesmerizing or hauntingly beautiful art using just these two components.
On first blush, cut paper is often thought of as a child’s art project, and, in essence, it is. And we love that because we can use this connotation to help strengthen the brand’s message without saying a word. For instance, the funky cut-paper illustrations featured on Lil’Gourmet’s kid meal packaging helps cue to the consumer that this is kid-related before you even read the copy.
The depth and texture also does a lot of heavy-lifting in establishing a mood or sense of place as shown in our DuCard Vineyards label and the two school posters we designed. Using delicate torn paper, we create an evocative Blue Ridge Mountain vista for the wine label refresh that simply and quickly alludes to the misty mood of the mountains. Our rain day/sunny day posters need to quickly communicate to parents where to take the kids during school drop off, and also be fun and engaging for the kids.
We constantly question how every part of the design showcases the brand essence. Anything we can do to help the consumer to quickly understand what the product or brand is about, the more successful a design is. It’s especially gratifying when that means we get to break out the scissors and construction paper (and sometimes post-its).