At Pump Street we’re always looking at ways to innovate and to champion young creative talent where we can.
Taking our seasonal bar made with cocoa from the spice island of Grenada, scented with nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and studded with currants. We've just launched our University of The Arts London Special Edition Hot Cross Bun 58% bar.
This limited edition design is the winning entry of a project we’ve been working on with the University. We asked their students to create an innovative and experimental design of our seasonal bar, inspired by Grenada, our bakery, the bar ingredients and spices, and the Easter season. It is with thanks to Vanya Dancheva that we’re able to present our new Hot Cross Bun 58% bar in this graphic design.
We recently caught up with Vanya to delve a little deeper into her work as an illustrator, her design, and design process.
Tell us a bit about yourself as an illustrator / designer. What makes you tick?
As an illustrator I draw a lot of inspiration from nature and I am passionate about communicating its beauty and value, protecting it and overall looking for a harmony between people and nature. My practice is also characterised by elaborate and thorough research, which I believe makes for more original, unusual and interesting outcomes. I have an attention to detail and every element in my illustrations and designs has to feel conceptually and visually right.
What drew you to this Pump Street Chocolate packaging design brief?
I was drawn to it instantly. I do love fine chocolate and I love Easter. I have always associated it with optimism and happiness. Overall, I thought it was a very comforting and positive project to be working on, especially in the autumn months. Pump Street’s ethical and sustainability commitments were also an important factor for me.
What research did you carry out before starting your design process?
Since the design is for an Easter special bar, I wanted to learn more about Easter, beyond my own experiences. I am not from the UK and I started by reading about how the holiday is celebrated locally, but then continued with Easter’s history and it was very interesting to learn about its roots in non-Christian traditions as a celebration of spring.
Were there any key developments that helped inform your design?
Learning about Easter’s history and connection to celebrating spring inspired me to focus on the spring theme, which much like Easter as a Christian holiday signifies rebirth and awakening.
What inspired your design?
My design was inspired by early spring wildflowers and particularly flowers that bloom in April when Easter is this year. I think they are an authentic and beautiful way of spring telling us it has arrived. The hot cross bun was also important of course, as it is the essence of the chocolate bar.
Talk us through the use of colour in your design.
I wanted the colours in the design to feel fresh, uplifting and celebratory on the one hand but also to fit well within Pump Street’s delicate design. They were informed by the natural colours of the flowers I had chosen to illustrate and by Pump Street’s colour palette to retain a sense of identity. At the same time I also picked flowers with colours I thought would work well in the design.
Did you try any Pump Street Chocolate to get inspired?
I did. The Hot Cross Bun bar wasn’t available in October when the brief started, so I tried the Eccles chocolate bar, which has some of the spices used in the Hot Cross Bun chocolate. The cocoa in the Hot Cross Bun bar is from the Crayfish Bay Estate in Grenada, so another one I tried was the 70% Grenada bar from the same farm. Getting to eat chocolate as part of my research was a great addition to this project.
What other projects are you currently working on, anything exciting?
My current project is on a nature theme and as part of it I have started experimenting with making my own ink from natural materials, which is quite an unknown territory but also exciting and refreshing to explore, especially when a big part of our lives happen in front of a screen. It involves a lot of learning, curiosity, experimentation and patience.
How can we follow you and see more of your work?
You can find me on Instagram as @vanyadancheva.