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Responses by Michele Underwood, executive creative director, Foodmix.

Background: We needed to create branding materials for Gills Onions to convince food-service operators that there is a distinct difference in the onions on the market. Operators order onions in bulk and need them to keep fresh and have high quality. Using both technology and the art of farming, Gills ensures this is the case from start to finish in its process.

Design thinking: We wanted the work to mirror Gills’s approach to farming as it is equally dedicated to innovation and heritage. We took inspiration from old-school scientists like Darwin, who used detailed drawings to illustrate flora and fauna. These drawings reflect both science and craft, which represents Gills’s process.

Challenges: The client’s budget was minimal, so we had to get creative to spread the message.

Favorite details: The illustrations. We searched for an artist who was authentic to the craft and found Wendy Hollender, who not only does have a representation but happens to be a teacher of botanical illustration. When we saw Wendy’s work, we knew she would be perfect.

New lessons: We learned that the composition of minerals in soil impacts the health and the flavor of the onion. We also learned that biowaste powers Gills’s production facility: 100 percent of its onion waste is converted into virtually emissions-free electricity. Finally, we learned that onions grow to be enormous with the right science, soil and care.

Visual influences: The visual style is a mix of craft and science. The initial inspiration was formed from the study of botanists and scientists like Darwin, who would draw their plant and animal subjects. When considering the research and development that goes into the perfect onion, the style of botanical illustration seemed a perfect solution for Gills.

foodmix.net

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