Earlier this year I was approached by Edgcumbe Tea & Coffee to collaborate with them to design and illustrate a commemorative print for their 40th anniversary.
It was great to be approached with such an interesting brief and Edgcumbes' clarity in their thoughts on the direction they wanted the print to take and how they would like to celebrate their brand made it easy for me to develop ideas. Their openness to my suggestions made for an engaging and collaborative project.
I think Edgcumbe put it best themselves,
"We really wanted to produce something quite different with a bit of (excuse the pun) EDGE. As part of our ethical sourcing policy, we travel around the world searching for premium tea and coffee and we wanted to share this wonderful side of the tea & coffee industry.
We presented Victoria with a pretty concise, yet elaborate, brief: Edgcumbe-Rendle family crest and Edgcumbes’ emblem ‘Wolfie’, meandering through the coffee farms of Colombia and the lush plantations of Sri Lanka with a gentle nod to our coastal location ‘Sussex By The Sea’. Victoria has really exceeded our expectations and we are very happy with the innovative print that has been produced.
It is always a pleasure to work and collaborate with independent businesses. Never underestimate the power of collaborative working and celebrating each other’s achievements. "
Once we had discussed the brief I began by looking at Wolfie and photographs of wolves in the wild and developing the shape and character of the print based Wolfie. It still retains the feel of the original Edgcumbe emblem, with one front leg raised and the characteristic collar but has been simplified and reduced to something simpler. It was important to keep Wolfie looking obviously wolf-like (not veering into dog or fox) so I spent time developing the facial features, keeping them refined and not overly complicated but retaining the aspects that would make sure Wolfie's true wolf character showed through.
Following Edgcumbes' brief to include aspects of the coffee farms, plantations and a nod to their coastal location, once we'd agreed on Wolfie as a character I looked at how best to incorporate it into a landscape that would convey these ideas and locations without becoming too complicated and allow Wolfie to be complemented by these other elements and remain the central focus of the print.
The patterns created by rows of coffee plants in the farms of Columbia inspired the look of the background behind Wolfie. I really wanted to give a sense of perspective with those horizontal lines but it took time to develop them so that they worked smoothly, fading backwards towards the mountains, framing Wolfie and putting him centre stage. A hint to the tea plantations is suggested through the small leaf pattern to the right of the print.
The final limited edition giclee print was printed onto 300gsm paper by an independent printer here in the UK. It captures every detail of the design from the nod to the 40th anniversary on Wolfie's collar to the fine lines and detail used in the landscape surrounding it and the colour scheme perfectly complements the Edgcumbe brand. Each print is individually signed and numbered making them very special mementos celebrating Edgcumbes' unique brand and anniversary.
It really was such an interesting brief to be given, to be asked to look at landscapes and starting points that were integral to the Edgcumbe brand but completely new to me was both inspiring and challenging but I'm so pleased with the finished print and the experience of working alongside Edgcumbe really was a pleasure.
To find out more about Edgcumbe Tea & Coffee, their anniversary and details of how to purchase a print please follow this link. The print is available exclusively through Edgcumbe Tea & Coffee.