Intro to Deen Design 101

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Intro to Deen Design 101

By Evan Russell

When I was first asked to write a blog relating to design, my first thought was “Sure, this should be easy.” After all, I spend 99% of my time designing, or thinking about design, or looking at design, or doing something design-related. I could write forever about things like illustration, composition, color or even typography. But then I quickly realized that no one would really want to read it.

My challenge is to write about design and how it relates to the Paula Deen and Deen Bros. brands, brands which, if you’re reading this site, you probably interact with on a fairly regular basis. I promise I’ll try my best not to bore you with details like kerning or Pantone colors, but give you some insight on the thought behind some of the visual things we do and how they help to strengthen the Paula Deen brand.


Libbie, the Senior Food Editor for, also suggested I start by talking a little bit about the Pork Chart, which has become a pretty popular article on The animal charts (we also have one for beef, lamb, and chicken) are always fun to work on, mainly because drawing realistic animals is definitely not my strong point. I like drawing cartoons. I studied animation in college. I was never that great in my life-drawing classes, and I NEVER nail one of these charts on the first try.  In fact, between my co-workers, Libbie, Michelle, Jonathan, and I, we’ve had some pretty crazy email threads discussing exactly how a lamb butt should look, complete with photos attached for reference. My first stab at the lamb chart ended up looking more like something from the Jurassic era than something you would see on a farm.

After a few revisions, and in-depth discussions on farm animal anatomy, I take the drawing that looks most like the animal, throw it in the scanner and lay it over a cool graph paper texture and start adding color.  It’s important that I keep the pencil-lead, hand-drawn feel in there, something that can’t be duplicated on a computer. I like to think of a butcher shop some time way before computers or cameras, when the charts used for reference were hand-drawn and probably stained from lots of handling with dirty butcher hands. It’s more authentic that way, and authentic is a word I’ll probably be using a lot when describing Paula and the boy’s stuff.


The main goal of these charts is obviously to be informative; to let you know exactly where each cut of meat comes from. Who knew the “Boston Butt” was near the front part of the pig? If you had asked me where the “Picnic” was before I started this chart, I would have answered with a blank stare. I’m guessing it’s one of the reasons people like that section of the site. A lot of you have even asked for it on a t-shirt, or a poster or something. I think it’s a great idea and I would expect it to be on a t-shirt in the near future. It will take some tweaking (t-shirt design is a whole other blog post) but I think it has the potential to be really cool.

We’ve got a ton of exciting projects going on here at PDE right now, and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you. I’m saving my next post for the rebranding of a restaurant, something I’ve never done before but am currently working on, and I’ve learned a lot and had a ton of fun doing it.

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By BRENDA PEHM on July 24, 2014


Hi Paula, I have to tell you I so enjoyed that TV episode with your friend from Albany who tap danced. That's the kine of cooking attitude that works. It put a smile on my fance. So I made the chicken with shallots and mushrooms and cheese - well it was easy and just yummy. My husband liked it too. Thank you. Keep up the good work girl! Susan

By Susan Young on March 26, 2012


Paula, Wanted to let you know my Grandson Danny has got to be your youngest fan. We are allways in the kitchen cooking and then we eat our lunch together watching your cooking show not realizing Danny 2 years old was paying attention. At Thanksgiving he was in the kitchen with his mother and I and also running back and forth from the living room. All of a sudden he came flying through the kitchen to talk to his mother and stopped dead in his tracks to tell his mother look Mom it's Paula Deen.

By Terri Moore on December 17, 2011


Hi Evan, Great blog! Enjoyed your writing and your art, you are one talented guy! My family are old friends of your Mom's family (from high school) and I have a nephew who just graduated from SCAD. Love Paula and love your work! Keep blogging!

By Martha Gillespie McMahan on June 13, 2011


I'm following Trudy's idea...Copying the pig to post on the inside kitchen cabinet. You must feel like "heaven" fell in your lap when you transitioned into Paula's "go to" Graphics guy! My son is an Architect in Seattle for a firm and he's there "go to" graphics guy (being only a few years out of college like you). Congrats to you! Hope you're lovin' it!!!

By tdiraimo on May 17, 2011


Thanks Remy and Trudy! I'm glad you found the chart useful and I'm glad you found my writing easy to understand. I'm not much of a writer so that makes me feel a lot better! I look forward to writing more, we've got a lot of cool projects in the works. Evan

By Anonymous on May 10, 2011


This is a great drawing Evan! I actually printed it out so can place it on the inside of my spice cupboard door along with my info on "olive oil" and different "herbs". The way you write is so "real", not so "technical". I like that because it makes this type of info much more enjoyable to read about. Thanks a million for sharing and your down to earth presentations.

By Trudy Hooe on May 10, 2011


I love the drawing! You're also a great writer.

By Remy Lorraine on May 10, 2011


This was great along with everything else you do Paula. However, as a diabetic I can't eat most of what you cook. Are you planning on having a special diabetic book or show in the coming future. LOVE YOUR SHOWS Jean Edson

By Jean Edson on May 10, 2011


I would like to have that pig picture for my kitchen! I love it!

By Janet on May 08, 2011


I just think you are incredibly handsome, as well as talented!

By Penny Rose on May 07, 2011


Evan, you are an amazing talent!! Not only would I wear this swine on a t-shirt, I would needlepoint it on a pillow!! Love this blog!

By Libbie Summers, Senior Food Editor on May 05, 2011


Hmm. . . Yes, I do believe I would purchase a chicken chart shirt. (But you can keep the giblets!) Best of luck with the blog!

By Lt. Sanders on May 05, 2011


Evan, I enjoyed your story keep up the GOOD work !!! Your drawings are great, don't worry so much about them. Your pork chart is excellent !!!

By Linda Turney on May 05, 2011


I would definitely buy a tshirt! Those look really cool

By Jonathan Able on May 05, 2011

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