A brand grows along with a company.

Queen City Cookies approached me to restyle an already 2-year old corporate brand style with a new goal to stand out in the gift market. The existing logo had a woodcut elephant with a classic font that had a formal European feel. It was not bad, but was lacking a story and the visual excitement you need for the gift market. Upon my first meeting at the bakery, the owner, who had a very extravagant personality, “introduced” me to her elephants she called her Queens. They were the starting point for her fantastical tales of world adventures and I immediately began to picture an eclectic style reflective of her own personality. I created a style for her brand that collaged imagery from different eras and a wide variety of cultures so that it did not look like it came from any particular part of the world. The owner’s style of bright colors and patterns became the palette for the whole brand.

A brand reflects the product’s personality.

When I first began developing the Queen City Cookies brand, the style of cookie she was producing was a butter cookie with a unique icing technique that used antique wooden stamps that were stamped into fondant and framed in piped icing. Because of the ornate cookies, I designed a logo of an elephant head coming out of a crown framed by an ornate vintage woodcut that I reworked specifically for her. This was a play on old English crests but with a more feminine and playful feel. Along with the overall brand logo, I began illustrating each Queen elephant with specific personalities based on her stories. They became her spokeswomen.

We came up with a gift idea we called cookie cards where a shrink-wrapped ornate cookie was glued to a printed gift card that opened up so you could write a sentiment. We wanted the cards to have a rich quality so the brand logo was stamped in gold. The inside had a surprise of a bright color along with an uplifting quote. These quotes became another brand element that we included on every piece of her product line including compendium cards that were tucked into every gift box.

A second product was another iced cookie called Frieda’s Creations (an new elephant character based on Frieda Kahlo) that had vintage imagery scanned and transferred onto fondant and edged with piped icing. These were packaged in a clear cellophane bag. I designed a hangtag that had the feeling of the cookie cards and to give them that extra bit of specialness, we wrapped a wired flower around the top of the bag. Again, it reinforced that eclectic brand feel.

Keeping with the feeling of gift giving specialness, I designed a bakery gift box with its own die-cut scalloped edge and signature periwinkle blue. I kept the box clean and simple so that we could contrast it with one of the ornate tags that was held on by an illustrated elephant sticker. You opened the box to an explosion of pink tissue and unbelievably beautiful cooke treasures.

As a company’s needs change, so must the brand.

So, as orders began to flood in, the company began to realize how time consuming creating these cookies were and how much hand work was involved in packaging. In order to make better margins, the owner had to redevelop a more cost effective style of cookie that could be produced at a higher volume, but she did not want to give up on quality and taste. She came up with and elephant shaped butter cookie in a variety of unique flavors and we called them Pachyderm Packs! Each flavor had a new elephant character illustrated in the same eclectic style. The packaging style at first was a kraft paper bag with a clear window and a brightly colored tag that folded over the top. Later on, when these cookies were picked up by grocery chains, the packaging became an animal cracker style box with a handle and the elephant character filling the front.

The owner wanted to provide an option other than cookies and developed a bakery item called Schnecken. I illustrated a new elephant that had a snail friend riding her back. The overall look reinforced the Queen City brand.

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