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 PaulaDeen.com, also suggested I start by talking a little bit about the Pork Chart, which has become a pretty popular article on PaulaDeen.com. 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.