Today I had a three-hour session with Katie, head of product design at The Treat Kitchen. Developing my work with Luisa’s Vegan Chocolate, I jumped at the chance when Katie offered to help me learn more skills.
Katie focused on showing me the basics of Illustrator, which I have never used before. I learnt all about layout and vector format. I initially drew my illustrations on a small scale which caused some difficulties when they needed enlarging for a six foot banner therefore looking at how I would have done them larger to make the more versatile was very beneficial. Katie showed me how to Vector format images to make the quality dramatically increase and which ensures that the quality remains consistent no matter the scale of the image; making it easier to apply the same imagery to different mediums.
I also learnt how to create art-boards, paste titles on all boards to ensure consistent placement, releasing clipping masks, copy whole pages, insert images, text and lines, change colours and also alignment of text.
Katie had a Monday morning meeting with the rest of the team half way through our allotted time so I stayed and practiced my new skills. I managed to set up a new document with the correct dimensions and folds in the current places and start to insert the text and illustrations over from my original InDesign file. I wasn’t able to remember how to do each stage so I wrote down several questions to ask when Katie returned; I found it more useful to make notes and then try myself, rather than just watching.
Luisa and the manager of the Treat Kitchen joined us at the end and we had a short meeting about going forward in the future. I found this insight into the corporate and financial side to the business very interesting. This is really great experience for me as I would love to work in the food industry when I graduate.
The Treat Kitchen aim to get Luisa’s products in their shop by Christmas, on their website and also on Not On The High Street, all of which will be amazing exposure for the start-up. They discussed margins, product ranges, competitors such as Hotel Chocolat (doing market research in the store to access pricing) and also the point of sales in the store. What I found most interesting was the manager suggesting adding a coloured band, maybe mirroring the flag colours, around the labels to represent the different origins of the chocolate bars. I had never thought of doing this before, but as he pointed out, it would make the bars become collectable items and make it clearer that each product has a different story behind it; encouraging multiple purchases.
They also expressed how important it is to keep the personal hand-crafted feel to the packaging and point of sales, with is aided by my hand-drawings. Katie and I are going to be working closely together over the next couple of weeks to get things rolling before Christmas. Because of the tight deadline, she is going to send over my images vectorised to speed this process up and then I will work on the layout.
It was all a lot to take in in a short space of time but I greatly valued the time Katie spent with me, developing my skills and knowledge base. I will go away and practice the skills that I was taught before trying to learn more complicated things. I will continue to use my Illustrator basics book to help me with any sections I forget. These basics and working alongside the Treat Kitchen will not only help me to improve my work with Luisa, but also give me a valuable insight into the world of food packaging.