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Case Study: O'Crumbs Bakes

I'd like to share with you each stage of the design process in creating a brand refresh for O'Crumbs Bakes in York.

I've loved working with Nicola on this project. I was delighted when she came to me for my hand drawn style. I made a comment that I thought her current logo didn't reflect the handmade quality of her bakes when I met her two years ago at a branding workshop I ran at 'Open Shop' community project.

Nicola is known for making exceptional carrot cake, hence her existing logo. She also makes tray bakes and loaf cakes.

She definitely didn’t want illustrations of pink iced cup cakes, as this didn’t fit the style of her bakes. It was quite a challenge as I felt that using a carrot cup cake as an icon would make people assume she made other iced cup cakes. Her style of baking is more honest and rustic with a focus on lovely natural ingredients rather than tonnes of artificially coloured sugary icing and decoration.

I starred by exploring designs around carrot cake, developing this onto other vegetable cake illustrations that she makes.

The final design felt right as it was obvious that it was a cake business but also had a subtle hint to her iconic carrot cake through the computation of the logo and the nod to leaves onto pop of the cake stand.

Both the cake stand and lettering where developed from hand drawn sketches. This is one of my favourite way of working as I get a softer more organic quality of line to my illustrations.

​​I designed her logo, business cards, labels, invoice and price cards. I also created a style guide and brand guidelines that showed how the logo and colour palette could be used across print, social media and her website.


Hand baked cakes using natural ingredients.

An established business, running for five years.


To create a brand refresh to reflected the companies values.

To create an professional, memorable brand image.


Hand drawn style and organic colours.

A cohesive look across marketing materials.


A fresh new look to carry a consistent visual message across the business.


I start by compiling research on market trends, customers, competitors, art styles and colours to build a visual picture.

Design stage 1

I always start exploring ideas in my sketch books first. I find this a freer way to work, as I can doodle different ideas and layouts quickly. I also carry my sketch books with me, as you never know where inspiration strikes!

I then move onto drawing my ideas in more detail. This can be in pencil, ink or printmaking techniques, depending on the style that I think is right for the brand. If I do this, I scan them in and work on in Adobe Illustrator to create a vector. This way I can keep the line quality quite close to the original drawing. For other ideas I draw directly in Adobe Illustrator.

This shows a selection of my first design concepts.

At this stage I present first design concepts to my client. I like to do this in person, so that I get direct feedback. It's surprising how much yo can judge by an expression of someones face when they first see a design.

I like to show the ideas in black and white, full colour and reversed out on colour, so that I can see how they will work across print and digital.

Design stage 2

On this project Nicola loved one of my first design concepts, so I went directly to visualising the ‘look and feel’ of the brand across print and digital.

Design stage 3

The next step is to make any tweaks to the marketing materials.

We decided that it would be better to create the artwork on a white background and print on a slightly off white matt paper, rather than printing a cream.

Once the logo and designs are approved I created brand guidelines, that have key information such as colour references, the primary logo to use and fonts.

I then supply the logos in all the file formats needed.

I create print ready artwork for the marketing materials.

I've really enjoyed working on this project and I can't wait to see it roll out onto her website.

her new website is live you can find Nicola on Facebook at O'CrumbsBakes. Until

Nicola loves her new branding and send me the most lovely feedback below.


​"I have followed you for a while and have always liked your style of artwork which I could relate to, as I thought it had similarities to the way I wanted my brand to look. A conversation we had a couple of years ago when you asked me why I hadn’t used a hand drawn image for my existing logo, resonated with me and I guess I knew I wanted that look when I was ready to rebrand.

The response has been exactly what I was hoping for ... a sample of comments received:

“perfect for your wonderful authentic bakes”

“bright, simple and says it all”

“such a fabulous logo! It’s making my mouth water – job done I reckon”

“great logo looks so natural”

So for me, the value added has been a design that totally encompasses what I am about, in the style and colours used and it now sends a clear message to my audience. I now have uniformity across social media and my website (once that has been built). I feel confident that I have a brand that now reflects me and can move my business forward in a professional way.

I first met Michelle a couple of years ago when she was facilitating a workshop at a local social enterprise event. A passing comment about my existing logo led me to calling her and our initial contact started there.

From the outset I knew I could work with Michelle because she was very clear on how to manage the project and advised all the way through about how the project would move forward.

The written information received was precise and detailed, and I was never left wondering what the next stage of the design process was going to be.

I was very clear what my brand was not about and Michelle took this on board perfectly. Our meetings, including coffee in a book shop allowed us to explore my vision in much more depth and I came away with a real feeling that she understood what my expectations were.

At the presentation meeting of the initial images I was blown away by the concepts she had come up with up. All deadlines were met and the delivery via email of all the files was easily explained. She has also liaised directly with my web designer.

I would have no hesitation in recommending Michelle and to use the phrase ‘the proof is in the pudding’ sums up exactly what Michelle achieved.

I am in love with my new brand!

...a huge thank you!"

Nicola O’Kieffe, O’Crumbs Bakes

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