We fell in love with the technical detail of the early-1900 illustrations used on our Summer Lovin’ can this year. Recently released from copyright, these animal drawings were created less for art and more for reference; a documentation of each animal for the sake of studying, capturing, and sharing information. Each artist processed and recreated incredible detail, from the glint in a hawk’s eye to the position of a single moment in a hare’s leap. We approach coffee and design with the same analytical observation.
“I love the style; someone drew that animal 100 years ago,” says Graphic Designer Shelly Tansy (@crowberryco). “I also liked the idea of what these past artists had to go through to create these drawings. They either had to see the animal live or have another account. It took another level of intimacy to create a technical drawing of an animal that long ago, and I think that’s a dying art. I have a lot of respect for those artists.”
Shelly arranged these illustrations to tell a story, or multiple stories. There’s a full and brief energy in summer, compounded by natural elements like intense heat, long days of sun, sudden thunderstorms, and plants bursting with fruit and bloom. This label captures fleeting looks and memorable interaction between animals native to North Idaho in summer: the black bear, the hare, the mule deer, the falcon.
When designing, Shelly chose not to use these animals true-to-size in reference to one another. She very intentionally considered spacing and layering to create a narrative. In the chaos of summer, some things loom large and dramatic while other things quietly slip by. The bear is perhaps the most eye-catching creature on the label, but each animal portrays movement and story. The deer, for example, is mostly hidden in this label. It comes to the viewer later when examining the image and hints at all the quiet forces and energies that act upon us this time of year.
“As I arranged the images, they started to take on a life of their own,” says Shelly. “To me, they represent the coming-and-going wildness of summer. We try to pack so much into the days and the days are so long. Then, all of a sudden, summer’s over. It’s here one moment and then it’s gone.”
In this design, there’s also a true botanical of the coffee plant imposed into the fray, a technical drawing of the same era and style as the animals in Summer Lovin’. For Shelly, this technical coffee plant represented DOMA’s value of continuous learning and teaching in the coffee world.
“It’s a reminder not to turn off that educational side of your brain,” says Shelly. “Always be changing your mind and listening to people.”
We hope this label inspires you to tune in to the detail of the natural world and see what you find. Spend your summer days running, hiking, swimming, and jumping out into the world with these animals that are often unseen in the woods, playing out their own fleeting summer dramas.
For more about the Rwanda and Peru coffee blend in Summer Lovin’, check out our Summer Lovin’ page.