Samuel Gray Art
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Behind the scenes process of my work, recaps of my live painting shows, and stories that I find valuable

Beyond the Bean

A deeper look behind the thought process and design.

Mama Carmen’s Coffee is a small, quality-focused coffee roaster based in Northwest Arkansas. Being under new ownership the past year, I was asked to help rebrand the company. It all started with painting a mural on the side of the building of Mama Carmen's which contained the new logo of the company.

(Final Sketch Design)

(Final Painted Mural)

(Sign made on front of the building)

Painting this mural was the base for the rest of how the brand was going to be rebuilt. From the black and white pallet, to the botanical drawn coffee plants, to the elegance of the coffee flower that drives the company. When I was asked to come up with the new feel of the company I wanted to make something that spoke authenticity, and a raw elegance. I loved painting the little people carrying oversized coffee cherries, and the tree branches coming out of the ground as if they were trees themselves. The coffee hills of Guatemala with volcanoes in the background were split by the stream that these coffee farmers had to go over to bring the coffee to us. Mama Carmen's is a company that not only wants to provide quality coffee to people, but empowering individuals to create wellbeing in their local communities.

As I am now in the process of finalizing new coffee packaging for Mama Carmen's Coffee. I wanted to highlight different aspects of the company. The above image is the top part of the packaging design. Quality Focused - Direct Trade - Story Woven.

This will be the first line of coffee packaging that I am designing. Printing stickers allows us to order a lower minimum instead of having custom bags designed. The packaging will continue to evolve but for now we will have stickers that will wrap all the way around the top of the bags. As you can see, I have three different focus areas/canvases on the sticker. The front I wanted to catch the viewer's eye, the top to highlight important descriptions of the company, and the back for more of the story and contact information.

Here is a look into what the espresso handle/magnifying glass process was.

I wanted to highlight the coffee flower from the original logo and have that be the most recognized image of the brand. "Magnifying" it was my initial thought, but it also derived from an espresso handle. Mama Carmen's is more than a coffee company and we must go beyond the bean to see the stories that matter. Coffee brings us together and helps cultivate community.

I hope that people's eyes are captivated by the design of the package, but turn it around in their hand and read about Mama Carmen. I was able to meet her in person and hope to visit her this June. I plan on going to the coffee farm and Mama Carmen's home and meet the children she takes care of. I want to tell the stories of the children and provide ways through my art to connect people who want to sponsor a child and support the efforts of Mama Carmen. My life goal as an artist is to weave together stories and bridge relationship gaps. Whether that is by telling stories of people in my local community, or a small coffee farm in Guatemala, I know I am called keep sharing stories through my art. 

If you are ever in the Northwest Arkansas area I would love for you to stop by Mama Carmen's Coffee. I run an art venue in the extended space of the shop and I create live art every Friday. My friend TJ Williams and I play live music and create a live painting that tells a story and we hope that you join in the collaborative process. 

I made a quick video to show a glimpse of what a Friday night looks like. You can watch it by clicking the image below. Yes, this Friday at 8:30pm I will be painting something new! I hope to see you there.

I would like to know what you think of the packaging and if it would catch your eye. Also, if you ever wanted to share a story that you would like to see painted on a Friday night, I would love to hear that too!

Samuel Gray2 Comments