It's a lonely life...that of the necromancer, er freelancer

A blog by a designer and illustrator, for designers and illustrators which may contain musings on art, movies and random weirdness.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


A client of mine has been in the process of developing and marketing a product called "Firedrops". These are organic sugar drops loaded with cayenne pepper, which if taken at the first hints of a cold, will almost literally burn the sick right out of you. At first she made them in small batches at home, but they became so popular that she looked into having them manufactured in larger, industrial quantities. As she did this, she realized that they would need a definite identity. She asked me to help.

She liked the idea of a shield motif, as the drops were a "shield against colds".
She also wanted to convey how hot they were, as even the reduced strength drops were very hot, sweat-inducingly, tongue numbingly, hot. She also wanted a look that conveyed that the ingredients were all natural and organic.

I started by doing some sketches by hand.

I wanted to get down as many ideas as possible. Some ideas included a phoenix, or firebird motif, the possible use of a dragon as a mascot, a flaming meteor, and a throat showing the spreading warmth. Although she found some of the ideas intriguing, none of them were quite what she was looking for.

She tried doing a rough sketch herself. Here it is.

This took me in a different direction.The directness of picturing the cayenne pepper seemed like a good idea, but how to do it in a way that was visually interesting and conveyed the hotness of the drop. The sketch also seemed a bit text-heavy, but I gave it a shot. First I did research on cayenne pepper and the plant that supports it.

Working directly in Illustrator, I worked up several basic ideas. The first was just a simple reinterpretation of the shield motif.

This seemed kind of boring. So I started to add in the elements of flame, as well as the rest of the copy. Trying to find a balance of the elements of image, colors and text.

These ideas were well received, but some were eliminated, the rest were tweaked, refined and simplified.

This second round is where we left off, with me waiting for the client to pick an option. Which one do you like?


  1. 2c and g. The logo benefits from the cayenne being more visible. I think I prefer c-the whole thing flaming as opposed to just the stem. however, having just the stem alight reminds me of those firecracker appetizers that Bugs used to serve to the Tasmanian Devil. I like the playful look. fun project.

  2. I don't see them as being associated with stopping colds, 'I'm left thinking rescue what.