Cellar Door Window Lettering
New Victorian lettering for a local coffee house in Portland
Andrea reached out to me to redesign a window decal for the front windows of her cafe. Unfortunately, one of her shop windows had been broken, so she needed to redo the lettering especially since they are on a fast-moving street, and the window lettering is crucial for advertising.
The Cellar Door building has a Victorian like aesthetic, so she wanted lettering inspired by that same era. All in all, she wanted her new signage to be playful, beautiful and unique enough that would make passer buyers take a second look.
Time Spent: 27.5 hrs
Below is an outline of my process from start to finish. Here you will be able to dig deeper into my design decisions and see for yourself how I ended up with the final result.
I started my process by collecting a series of inspirational images to fuel some design ideas I had for this piece. I put together 58 samples of illustrations, Victorian lettering, and vintage ads into a Pinterest Mood Board to then review with Andrea.
From our meeting, we decided that the “Cellar Door Coffee” lettering would be a classic Victorian serif style similar to the Roosevelt and Best Suburbs examples from our Mood Board. The word Roasters will be in a different font placed in the 2nd to the left panel with two accents pointing towards it. The letters will be filled with inline decorations similar to the Victoria example with some subtle inline strokes to make this design “more special”.
For the supporting illustrations, we decided on including the Arabica plant with scattered leaves and coffee beans throughout the piece. These illustrations would only consist of thin strokes to draw more focus to the type itself. Finally for color, we decided on using white and gold to ensure maximum readability.
Along with the Mood Board, I also provided the best three thumbnail sketches for this design. This process was tricky because the window was divided into four panels instead of being just one large panel of glass. Each piece of text had to remain on each panel while still looking like one continuous piece.
Ultimately we ended up going with the bottom sample because it allowed the most amount of light to show through. Later on, we decided to fill the 4th panel with plant illustrations to better fill the space.
I began drawing up each window panel piece by piece so that I could include all the little details I needed to make this design shine. Each window was drawn on its own piece of paper and was laid out to ensure that each piece lined up with the next.
I drew each window twice adding more and more detail each time. I did this to make sure I had a good balance of text and illustration while allowing the text to remain readable and engaging.
Doing the final ink illustration was fairly easy considering I had drawn and redrawn this piece enough to know it well. I added extra leaves, embellishments and details on the last draft so the final deliverable would seem more ornate and interesting.
Once I had my final ink drawings scanned in, I was ready for Illustrator. I simply live traced these pieces so they would still look handmade. Also, I choose to vectorize this piece so the final file wouldn’t look pixelated when stretched across a window almost 40″ wide.