Coffee project brews Graphic Design creativity

3rd December 2021

Graphic Design students from Stratford-upon-Avon College were recently visited by an illustrator as part of their work experience week and were set an exciting project on coffee packaging design.

Emily Pettitt from Emily Kaye Illustrations visited the students for the day to provide insight into her career and to deliver a project to develop the students’ creativity.

Emily with the students
Emily led an engaging and interactive session with the students

During her time in education, Emily enjoyed areas such as expressionism, mixed media and experimentation. As a career she decided to fuse her interest of art and maths and went into product design. She did this for 8 years but over time decided she needed a change: “I realised I’d lost my creative freedom so I started drawing in my own time. Then I realised I was enjoying that more than my work.”

Now Emily works as a freelance professional illustrator and wanted to help show the students how to think creatively and apply this to products. The task they were set was to rebrand coffee; using its origin of Mexico and Brazil as their stimulus. They did a mixed media activity to explore creating beautiful designs without being literal.

Emily was really impressed with the students work. She commented: “It has been so nice to see their development throughout the day. They have really opened up and are thinking outside the box.”

The students also really appreciated the experience. Phatcharaphon Taidonphai commented: “It’s been really enjoyable to explore creative ideas and work in your own style.” Yvette Coates added: “Seeing the sketches of Emily’s designs from her early work to now is great as its interesting to see the process of development.”

Phatcharaphon Taidonphai created excellent digital work and Ella Witheford used drawing to design her coffee brand

Helen Wright, Graphic Design lecturer, was so glad Emily had come to do the workshop sessions. She commented: “I really wanted the students to take away the idea of play and experimenting. Even in the professional world, playing is seen as a worthless task, but it can be so informative. Also, a big part of how work is assessed is showing your process. There is also a sense that everything needs to be perfect all the time but actually making mistakes is how you learn; every step is progress.”

To see some of Emily’s work follow her on Instagram at @emilykayeillustration.

Find out more about the College’s Graphic Design course: Graphic Design course