Purple Crow Permaculture

Purple Crow Permaculture - student project

I have chosen to brand and create a label for my friend's permaculture farm. They live in Vermont and started keeping livestock a few years ago. Whilst I was visiting, I regularly bought their produce, their eggs, sausage and bacon from their Tamworth Berkshire cross pigs. They are simply an amazing couple, and have a great ethos. Permaculture is a way of looking at things as an interconnected system (an ecosystem) and using the natural cycles and habits of nature to your advantage. Losing as little energy in waste as possible and tying up all the loose ends so that productivity reaches its maximum potential!

Purple Crows are a symbol of transformation and of community & adaptability.

The Permaculture farm is based in Vermont, nestled between the Green  Mountains and the Adirondacks. Amongst the sheep, pigs and chickens, lives a llama called Dudley. Watcher of the herd, and just plain wonderful.

A great cause. So here are some quick sketch ups of the logo design. I then hope to create a label for their egg boxes. Or A label for their bacon.

Purple Crow Permaculture - image 1 - student project

I researched old american typography, permaculture and crows, in the top left you can see the farm, the sheep, Dudley the llama and Mr Buster Cluck the rooster!

Here are a couple of initial sketches. More to come. I wanted to include, symbols of the sun, moon and rain within the design, and some plant embellishments to show what goes into each product. No pesticides, no hormones, nothing of the sort. Just plain, pure, naturally produced.

Purple Crow Permaculture - image 2 - student projectPurple Crow Permaculture - image 3 - student project

They are also looking into creating books or material on permaculture, so there may be some ideas in here for Purple Crow Press.

Today I've been working on the information to be displayed on the egg box label. It will be for a dozen eggs.


created by the wonderful ladies - Della, Speckles & Big Mamma

kept safe by the watchful eyes of Dudley the Llama, and Mr Buster Cluck the Rooster

Don't refrigerate!

Remember to wash thoroughly before use, and enjoy.

I may trim this down, but I feel like it adds a more personal touch, tells a story and creates an image in your mind. Introducing all the characters.

Here are a couple of drawings and a neater version of the text 'Purple Crow'. I will move onto developing the Permaculture writing and fit that in around the crow & other text. This is just for the farm label. No eggs just yet! I wanted the crow to look proud and stoic, important and respected. So I went for a pen and ink cross-hatch feel, gives it a traditional feel. (No high tech farming here!)

Purple Crow Permaculture - image 4 - student project

I chose the crow facing sideways to take forward, as I felt it was a stronger silhouette, and more easily readable. As well as conveying the messages I wanted it to.

Purple Crow Permaculture - image 5 - student project

I'm a natural science illustrator by trade, so animal illustration comes naturally to me. If you feel like checking out any of my other work, you can visit www.stephanieayres.co.uk

A quick sketch up of how the permaculture lettering might fit in/look. Trying to do the flourishes and making them look coherent is pretty hard!

Purple Crow Permaculture - image 6 - student project

Purple Crow Permaculture - image 7 - student project

More adjustments to make- the curves aren't matching up too well at the moment, so will probably rotate the 'ermaculture' a little bit to the right, and shift the 2009, Vermont more into the centre. As pointed out in the comments, the crow may be a bit too detailed for something that will wind up that small, so I may attempt to do a similar pose, but simplified, less lines.

Moved the type over and up a bit, looking a little better.

Purple Crow Permaculture - image 8 - student project

Ok, So I've messed around with the sizing of Permaculture, and made the moon and water signs larger, and generally just messed around with what I have a bit. This is in prep for printing out and then tracing over it in ink. I'll be able to redo the sun and the wheat at that point, and perhaps add more flourishes so that its an oval shape. I've tried to make the crow bigger so that it isn't getting lost. My client likes the crow, so I'm thinking I'll keep it for now at least, and try out some simplified versions later, or see how it prints out small.

Purple Crow Permaculture - image 9 - student project

Ok, so I redid the word permaculture, and have mocked up some changes/extra flourishes. Not so keen on the flowers, so I'm thinking I may turn them into a maple leaf motif, or something different. I don't know if they're just plain unnecessary. I detached the flourishes from the P & E, so that there was no confusion about the P being an R anymore. I'm still working on the sun.

Purple Crow Permaculture - image 10 - student project

So after a brief brake to do another short project, I'm back on task. I feel like I have sorted out the wheat flourishes, and may even have a solution to that pesky 20009 sun problem. I need to finalise the drawing for the new little shoot between the 20 and the 09, and then I need to decide what I'm putting on the side flourishes. I also sorted out the R on Crow, I would be appreciative of any feedback on it!

Purple Crow Permaculture - image 11 - student project

I've defined all of the lines a bit more to make them all fit together better, and redone the little shoot. I tried to create some flourishes out of comfrey flowers, but it came out too heavy and really detracted from the piece. I've added in a tail to the swash that nestles inside the P to try and balance everything out. I'm not sure if it really needs any more decoration, but I'll try a different attempt tomorrow. So close to finishing I think!

Purple Crow Permaculture - image 12 - student project

Just trying it out on some different surfaces-

Purple Crow Permaculture - image 13 - student projectPurple Crow Permaculture - image 14 - student project

I've been meaning to work on the last part of the flourishes for this project, however I've needed a break and have been working on other Illustrated lettering projects. One for my new project called 'Now & Then' taking one of our own childhood drawings and recreating it in our current styles. The project is open to submissions, you can visit the blog and submit through there if you want to take part!

( thenowandthenproject.tumblr.com )

Purple Crow Permaculture - image 15 - student project

And I also just created a poster for a coffee morning I'm setting up for my local yoga studio.

A bit more graphic designy, but I had fun creating the 'yoga loft' lettering by hand. The illustration in the background is also mine.

Purple Crow Permaculture - image 16 - student project

Hope to get back to the project in a while, and finish of the swashes and get to work on the egg label design!

Stephanie Ayres

Freelance Illustrator/Explorer