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Visual identity


Eden is an online retail brand inspired by South Africa, and based in Florida, USA. In a time when people are spending more time in their personal space, the interest in home improvement and decorating has increased. Eden specialises is producing home-crafted decor, primarily woven, that appeals to a market that wants to break from mass consumerism. I was commissioned to create the branding and visual identity system.


I was approached by the stakeholder with the brand mapping process and market research completed. My challenge was to design a brand identity that was sympathetic to the supplied information and the client's brand vision, without being overly influenced by existing assumptions. In parallel to the primary identity I was asked to produce a system of illustrated brand assets that could be applied to branded communication and products. The style and execution of the illustrations needed to be a consideration while designing the primary identity to ensure a cohesive aesthetic.


The first step was to "go back to the drawing board" and I began by ideating the logo on paper.

Hand typography aligns with the brand persona and enforces the concept of craft, so I focused on loose, flowing lettering that has the feel of a signature. I experimented with a variety of brushes, inks, paper and handwriting to explore options.

The type experiments were shared with the client and we agreed on a favourite that became the base for the final logo.


I digitised the chosen ink expression, starting with a focused and exact trace to capture the basic letterforms. This process has the tendency to mechanise the type, losing the flowing spontaneity of the original paper version, so after the trace was complete I zoomed out for a global view.  I then edited the vector "freehand" with a focus on recapturing the energy of the original. 


The final result is a hand lettered logo type with letters that flow like the yarn that the products are made with. It has the effect of an artist's signature, applied to unique handcrafted products.


The primary colour palette is inspired by earthy tones and natural, handcrafted products. It includes three natural shades: a golden sandy brown, a medium blush and a rich dark chocolate. The secondary colour palette is applied to accents or functional elements, and is complimentary to the earthy tones. It includes a light aqua and a deep sea turquoise. 

To compliment a brand that is richly illustrative the typography style is simple and understated. A pairing of contemporary, stylish sans-serif typefaces was selected. Both are open-source with good legibility when applied on screen or paper.


The illustrated assets include simplified botanical expressions of fynbos, indigenous to the South African coastal region. This theme has been explored by many artists, so it was a challenge to create unique illustrations in a style that is definitive and unique to the Eden brand.

My initial illustrations were very complex, including too much botanical detail. These were reworked and I removed all extraneous detail, focusing on simple flowing lines that echo the calligraphic design of the logo. The analogy of yarn was reintroduced and the line work flows and twists and twines.

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The visual assets also includes a library of watercolour marks, which were created using the brand colour palette. These can be paired with the line drawings to create illustrations which have a textured, handmade feel. This asset library gives Eden the freedom and flexibility to create their own varied content that remains fresh, with unique and original illustrations. This identity system can be used for their branding, online presence as well as product design.

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Working on this project reminded me of the design ideology, "Less is More" and how extreme simplicity can often be more difficult to achieve than complexity. Learning what to keep and what to leave out is a valuable skill. I also discovered some amazing Adobe Photoshop brushes with which I was able to mimic watercolour textures that were incredibly true to the real thing. I found that my illustration background and experience working with watercolour really helped this process. I chose to work digitally for these textures so that they could created as transparent image asset which could be combined in layers.


As a next step, we will work on a simple branded website that profiles Eden's ideas and brand ethos. This website could ultimately become Eden's e-commence platform, but while the brand is in its growth phase the retail shop will be Instagram based.

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