Mentorship Project Presentation | MELT Ice Cream
I chose Laura for my mentorship because one, I loved her work and second, I admired the fact that she left industry-life to do her own freelance design work. When I first contacted Laura, she was super enthusiastic to start working together– which put me at ease. It’s always scary consulting an industry professional, especially if their tone is intimidating. But that wasn’t the case with Laura. She was so welcoming and kind and did that thing where she ended her sentences with smiley faces, which is always a sign you’re dealing with a decent person.
Before sending her my brief I ran a couple of possible project ideas by her and she sent me back a thoughtful response addressing way more than just my 3 tentative project ideas. One thing she said in the e-mail that really stuck with me was this:
“…you only want to put out work that you’d like to get back. For example, if brochure design for dentistry isn’t your thing, but you recently designed a piece, I wouldn’t even mention it or show it on social media. I might tuck it away somewhere though just in case a corporate brand you want to work with is looking for a brochure – it’s nice to have those types of things filed away for ‘just in case’. But every time I post new work, say, for instance for a coffee shop, I get 10 new emails from coffee shops wanting work done. Potential clients don’t really make the correlation that you’re a designer and can tackle any industry, they always associate your type of work to their type of business.”
I pitched her my idea of doing an ice cream truck, which would be targeted to adults and positioned in a unique way: evening-operated in late-spring and summer. I sent her my initial moodboard along with my brief and, lucky for me, she was into it right off the bat. She helped me iron out some flaws in my brief like for instance, I had these ideas for fun high-sugar flavours, but wanted to make the ice cream organic, to appeal to Vancouver’s health-conscious market. She didn’t think that made sense. So instead we went with dairy-free. Overall, she liked my positioning and the moodboard’s retro feel, so we ran with that and the ball started rolling.
Self-Evaluation | 9/10 | Lots of time spent on ice cream websites and in the frozen section of the grocery store for this. I had fun moodboarding my unique direction and I think that shows through.
I was really excited about my initial direction for my brand, but after consulting Laura, she brought up a ton of great points about things that were and weren’t working. I had to go back to the drawing board and really think about what direction made sense with what I had outlined in my brief.
She brought up that the colour palette and pattern motif felt too 70s whereas my moodboard was more 90s. She suggested I think about what era I wanted to portray and stick the the theme consistently. With that said, she also suggested I have the flavours be named after 90s TV shows or some sort of pop culture reference, to tie everything together. And I thought that was a great idea. Overall our exchange of e-mails during this period was very helpful. I think I had way too many ideas, that didn’t really fit together yet, and Laura helped ground me, and gave me a direction to explore a bit further.
Self-Evaluation | 8/10 | I spent a substantial amount of time sketching and experimenting with different avenues, I wish maybe I had pushed myself to come up with a couple more different directions though.
After working on my own for a week, and doing more research and sketches, I came up with something that felt a bit more 90s by changing colour palette, typography and a new moodboard of nostalgic inspiration to guide me through it all.
Laura said she was loving this direction and it felt a lot more fitting. As you can see, it was still very rough, but the gears were starting to turn and there are concepts in this document I sent her that made it through to my final product. For example, the neon-inspired typefaces that fit in with my idea of creating icons in a neon style and the wavy glitchy tv colour bar lines.
I started creating some rough versions of deliverables to get her thoughts on my first go at it. Below are some of the images I sent her in that week’s e-mail.
Laura applauded me on the distinct direction and encouraged me to keep refining at this stage. Both of us agreed the tubs didn’t look at all like ice cream tubs (there were limited mock ups for the kind of tub I had in mind), the labels had to be bigger, and the logo needed a bunch of refinement. She liked the version of the logo that had the connected lines vs the separated letters, which I asked her specifically about. I chose to run with her preference. Laura wasn’t sure about some colour choices. She had attached a screenshot of a colour palette she felt was more 90s (see below). Although going forward with this project, I might reconsider her advice on this, at the time I rationalized my choice by explaining that the colours I chose were more TV-like (RBG), and were unexpected for an ice cream brand. Unexpected and bold are two of my brand characteristics.
Self-Evaluation | 10/10 | I really got into this stage of the project. I started with one direction, and almost completely changed it from my ideation stage, which is always hard to do when you’re really wanting something to work. I also did a lot more research in this stage having now decided to go the 90s direction.
I kept working on the project for about a week before sending off my refinements to Laura. I wanted to have something substantial to show her so that I could use her feedback in a more focused way. I had also presented in class prior to sending her the next e-mail, and wanted to use my class’ feedback to make changes before sending Laura where I was at. I had a couple of questions about my tub design, and wanted to get Laura’s opinion. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get her feedback on it. I should have e-mailed her with what I had, the day I presented to the class, but the perfectionist in me wanted to refine before showing my mentor my work. I also think Laura’s busy right now. It normally took her a few days to get back to me, and I should have taken that into account. fortunately though, from my last e-mail with her, she gave me very specific things to work on, so I kinda knew what needed to be done to further my project. And after all, like Laura said, the brand direction was strong, so I felt like refinement came very intuitively.
Self-Evaluation | 7/10 | I wish I had gotten one more check-in with her, and really it’s my fault I didn’t take her response-time into account)
Overall this mentorship was a great experience. If I could change anything, it would be that I wish I had been able to meet weekly with Laura in person (but she doesn’t live in Vancouver so that wasn’t really possible) and I wish I had e-mailed her more! I feel I could have benefited from a couple more check-ins along the way. I think I struggled a bit with not wanting to be overbearing–after all she’s running her own show and is a busy lady–and not wanting her to have to hold my hand the whole way through, but rather be a touch point for some out-of-the-classroom professional feedback. I guess this is all a learning experience. You live and you learn. I’m still super happy with the feedback I got from Laura. She wrote very thoughtful, focused e-mails. Also, with my last e-mail to her, I invited her to send me any feedback for this project because I want to keep working on it, to make it a solid portfolio piece.
Self-Evaluation | 8.5/10 | Not sure whether this bit is supposed to be an overall evaluation of this mentorship project with my reflection in mind, but I’m going to treat it that way. I’m giving myself this grade because I worked hard on this project and became passionate about it. Like I previously mentioned, I think I could have put my desire to refine my work before showing Laura aside, and checked in a couple more times with her.