The Sweet Meadow


Colour Me Happy

brand, inspirationAishe Besim
The romantic little town of Manarola was my favourite of Cinque Terre, Italy. 

The romantic little town of Manarola was my favourite of Cinque Terre, Italy. 

Colour has a powerful effect on our perception of the world around us. 

I started thinking about a colour palette for The Sweet Meadow months before I had anything ready to design. This would extend not only to the design elements of the brand but also the colour of the plates, cutlery, walls, napkins, benches, coffee machine (seriously) - everything! 

Restaurants are on to the fact that colours matter and they are starting to use it to their advantage. Serve a dark-coloured cake on a black plate instead of a white one, and diners think the dessert is sweeter and more intense. Match the colour of the food you are serving to the colour of the plate and people eat more.

I worked with my graphic designer to choose seven colours (of course) to work across every touchpoint. Most of these colours were inspired by my recent trip to Europe, Italy in particular. They have pastel-coloured villages perched on the side of cliffs overlooking the ocean - talk about inspiration overload!

I started collecting images that inspired me across fashion, design, interiors, nature, travel, everywhere really, and soon saw some common colour themes come through. This is how I chose the basis of the colour palette - it was instinctual, rather than based on any science or research (apparently McDonalds uses red and yellow because red = a sense of urgency and yellow = hungry). Keep scrolling for the seven colours you're going to see a lot more of. 

Grey - Pantone 877 C
Grey is a neutral colour that enlightens the softer colours it's paired with. Light grey is calming and soothing and also symbolises elegance (silver). I also love the look of concrete, grey timber and grey bricks as textured finishes. 

Apricot - Pantone 169 C & Rose Gold - Pantone 696 C
These are the 'neutrals' - known as the earth tones, these are nature's first colours. They are associated with creativity, heat, sunshine, warmth, health and change.

Dusty Pink - Pantone 1767 C
Pink is the colour of happiness, fun and romance. Using pink in a brand suggests a compassionate, caring, feminine and youthful identity.

Lilac - Pantone 524 C
This colour is a symbol of peace and tranquility. As it is a light shade of purple, it suggests refinement, grace and elegance. Lilac, lavender and violet flowers are often delicate and considered precious. 

Pastel Green - Pantone 566 C
Green is the colour and word synonymous with the notion of all that is fresh and new, flourishing and full of vitality. Studies show our brains associate the colour green with nature, growth and development. I intend to use this colour throughout the space in it's purest form - with plants!

Baby Blue - Pantone 2707 C
Blue is the colour of the sky and seas, often associated with depth and stability. It symbolises trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, truth, and heaven. It has also been shown to slow human metabolism and produce a calming effect.

Images of Cinque Terre & Amalfi Coast my own. All other images via tumblr and Pinterest.

The business of business cards

brand, living the sweet lifeAishe Besim

I don't care that we now live in a digital age - the humble business card is still important and will not be replaced with a digital version any time soon.

This last month has seen me have meetings with architects, builders, landlords, creatives, antique dealers and salesmen, and scribbling down my email address and phone number on a scrap bit of paper just doesn't cut it. What a way to project an image of professionalism!

I made it a priority to invest in something tangible now so that I could carry something around with me in my wallet. Not purely to hand out to others, but for myself - my dream is really in motion and I need to keep my eyes on the prize!

I haven't had my own personal business card since my first job out of uni back in 2007, so I knew I wanted to invest in something special. Having studied and worked in marketing for the last ten years, I understood that business cards do more than provide contact details. In many cases, it is a person's first impression of your brand. A memorable business card will create a great first impression and is more likely to be shared. 

A few months ago I was reading about the founder of Bespoke Letterpress, Alischa Herrmann. Alischa developed a love for the ancient art of letterpress printing (it was invented back in 1439) and after investing in an antique cast iron letterpress, she established the company in Brisbane. Now operating from Bowral, NSW, Bespoke Letterpress is one of the world's leading letterpress studios designing and printing couture letterpress stationery. I knew once I checked out the studio's website that I'd found the perfect printers for this project. 

So what image did I want to portray with my business card? Firstly, I wanted it to be printed on a recycled plant-based stock. Lots of memorable cards are printed on metal or hologram plastics, but I wanted to go with something more earthy (of course). I ended up choosing a beautiful 600gsm cotton stock in ivory, famous for its smoothly finished uncoated surface.

My graphic designer friend who developed my original logo put the design together, which was created with letterpress printing techniques in mind (letterpress doesn't look as effective with large solid areas). 

The ink colour was a soft pink that was hand mixed to match a Pantone colour, with the end result being delicate, whimsical and slightly fragile (like the Because of the labour-intensive nature of this printing process the cost doesn't come cheap, however as a creative person myself I think it's important to support these old-fashioned ways of living creatively. 

Check out Bespoke Letterpress on Instagram here

The Drawings

living the sweet life, inspiration, brandAishe Besim

Three of the seven drawings created to complement The Sweet Meadow brand logo. 

The first area of the business I worked on for The Sweet Meadow was the branding. That's right, even before I'd written the business plan or looked at the financials!

I teamed up with my good friend Sarina Coppola to create the logo, but also wanted to create a series of unique plant drawings that could be used across the website, packaging, signage, stationary and merchandise. I had been admiring the work of illustrator Ash Bewicke for a long time and knew she would be the best artist to bring my ideas to life. 

I contacted Ash soon after and asked her to draw seven plants. Choosing seven to feature was no coincidence – the number seven has a deep relevance for me personally. Seven symbolises spiritual perfection, we have seven chakras, there are Seven Wonders of the World, seven colours of the rainbow, and in many cultures it is regarded as a lucky number. In numerology, it also resonates with the concepts of independence, inner strength, peace, natural healing and spiritual awareness - all of which were very relevant for me at the time. 

The seven plants I wanted to feature were: 

Cherry Blossom - Cherry blossoms are in bloom for two weeks at most. It is a reminder that life is fleeting and time is precious. Its message is to enjoy the moment, celebrate its coming, and acknowledge its passing without sorrow. Fruit tree blossoms also reference my upbringing growing up on a stone fruit orchard. 

Dahlia - The dahlia signifies elegance and dignity. It is also a symbol of inner strength, creativity and standing strong in your sacred values. It is also my favourite flower!

Fig - In certain countries, fig trees are generally viewed as a symbol of prosperity. It also symbolises the health of the nation both spiritually and physically. It's also my favourite fruit. It is one of the key fruits that were abundant when I first began eating a plant-based diet, so they have always held a special significance for me. 

Green Zebra Tomato - One of the most beautiful, modern heirlooms now considered a classic, the green zebra tomato is unusual with a sweet flavour. The health benefits of tomatoes have been known since ancient times. Tomatoes are rich sources of antioxidants that have been proven to be effective against many forms of cancer. 

Peony - The peony is known as the king of flowers and symbolises love, beauty and affection. For the ancient Chinese culture, the peony is the ‘King of the Flower Kingdom’ and ‘Flower of Riches and Honour.’ It is often regarded as an omen of good fortune and also signifies healing, shyness and beauty.

Raspberry - these sweet berries are an excellent cleanser for toxins in the body, and are a superior female tonic. This pink fruit signifies gentleness and compassion. Thanks to freezers I get to enjoy these sweet babies all year round. 

Rose - The rose has been the emblem of love since the earliest times. The beautiful, shapely flower represents love and passion, whilst the thorns show that love is not always rose-tinted.

Keep an eye out for how these illustrations will feature in our merchandise.