For this project, I worked alongside Portland artist Mike Bennett to create an immersive cartoon medieval fantasy tavern themed coffee shop. (A mouthful, I know) Along with writing much of the lore and stories for the cafe's fictional world of Wonderwood, I also oversaw the creative direction of the shop's graphical elements. I was charged with crafting the branding guidelines as well as executing the design of cafe signage, environmental elements, and product packaging.
Drawing inspiration from fantasy novel covers, tabletop RPG rulebooks, and video game menus, I began by crafting a versatile branding system to support not only in-cafe elements like signage and product packaging, but social media posts, and a planned extended universe of projects centered around our fantasy world of Wonderwood. It needed to feel both like a cohesive, modern brand while also being effective "in-universe" throughout the shop.
For the cafe's signature coffees and drinking chocolate I decided to create bold, colorful designs inspired by the analog, hands-on nature of block printing to evoke the handmade nature of Wonderwood Springs and Mike Bennett's art as a whole. Not only do these bags evoke the whimsy and lightheartedness of the cartoon cafe, but we wanted to bags to have their own unique presence by blending our vibrant color palette with Mike's illustrations, fantasy graphic elements, and comical copywriting.
Environmental Graphic Design
A challenge with this project overall was striking a balance between the a cohesive look that still felt in place within a cartoon fantasy tavern. While I tackled this at the start with the branding system, I continued that balance through the design of the cafe's environmental elements by using humor and fun to bring life to necessary signage.
Credits & Thanks
Wonderwood Springs Art Direction & Illustration - Mike Bennett