Vanilla Bee -- Pure Vanilla Extracts

Vanilla Bee -- Pure Vanilla Extracts - student project

A year and a half ago, a few friends and I got together to make homemade vanilla extract to give away as Christmas presents. My ever-enterprising husband took one look at our project and said, "Hey. We should start a business." So we did! Between now and then he and I have spent a lot of time and money learning the ropes of the business, perfecting our technique, and making sure our vanilla tastes amazing--and it's gotten better. It really has. Take a look at the extraction process:

Vanilla Bee -- Pure Vanilla Extracts - image 1 - student project

The bottle on the left has just been prepared. The center bottle has been steeping for just one day. The bottle on the right is almost at full-strength at a month and a half. The beans themselves give the alcohol the rich, caramel color. (And peaking around the edges of the bottles are the beautiful labels for the Las Vegas Distillery, but that's another story for another day. :)

A little backstory on our company name: We learned that the vanilla orchid, in the wild, can only be polinated by one species of insect: the melipona bee. Without the little bee, we wouldn't have the most popular spice in the world. Vanilla growers have by now figured out how to hand-polinate the orchid so that we don't have to rely solely on the melipona. But we gave our company the name Vanilla Bee in homage to the tiny insect that started it all. It is also a nod to the fact that we keep our vanilla very simple and natural, using only vodka and the vanilla beans themselves to create the extract.


We really love what we do! Can you tell? So now that the product is up to snuff, we're starting to concentrate more on the packaging. We've been using labels created at

Vanilla Bee -- Pure Vanilla Extracts - image 2 - student project

The labels are cute, and have an old-timey-ness to them that we like, but they are based on a template and we can only fit so many characters in each alotted space. It is a very inflexible design. Besides that, the labels are much too expensive for what they are. These labels are wonderful for a one-time gift, but they no longer meet our needs. I've been wondering for a while now what to do about creating new labels. I never imagined I could design it myself! I'm not much of a graphic artist, but I love the idea of having total creative control over the image of our product.

So, here's my moodboard.

Vanilla Bee -- Pure Vanilla Extracts - image 3 - student project

And for the bee. I don't want anything so anatomically specific as to be frightening, but I included realistic bees just as a reference.

Vanilla Bee -- Pure Vanilla Extracts - image 4 - student project

First attempt at lettering. Very first. No prior experience.

Vanilla Bee -- Pure Vanilla Extracts - image 5 - student project

Here are a couple of loose sketches for labels. I've only done the lettering for the word "vanilla." Mostly just spitballing overall design for the labels. These two are to scale: 2.5"x3.5"

Vanilla Bee -- Pure Vanilla Extracts - image 6 - student project