A few short years ago, ADC Member Lize-Marie Dreyer was a fresh-faced illustration student, before being selected as the very first South African representative of ADC’s Portfolio Night All-Stars competition, earning her a life-altering trip to the Big Apple alongside nearly two dozen other superstar creatives from around the world. Since then, it’s been a whirlwind of professional milestones for Lize-Marie; last year she founded Aurora, her own Cape Town-based design studio, and has been steadily amassing industry awards and clients.
We caught up with Lize-Marie after the launch of Greybe Fine Olive Products, a UK-based eco-friendly and community-conscious olive oil company for which she was instrumental in designing every aspect of its branding.
How does an upstart designer in South Africa end up doing the branding for a company in the UK?
I was referred to them by a client who I had previously done work for. David Greybe, one of the directors of Greybe Fine Olive Products, sent me a detailed email telling me all about their business venture and what they wanted to achieve as a company. Needless to say, the directors of Greybe Olive Products and I ‘clicked’ immediately! We have since formed an excellent working relationship.
Describe your process in developing the branding. It must have been a challenge to make it stand out from other olive oils — a product whose bottles always seem to be featured in award shows.
In that very first email, David attached some photographs he had taken in southern Peloponnese, Greece, of an amazing 400-plus-year-old Koroneiki olive tree which they wanted to use as inspiration for their company logo. He wrote: “I’ve attached a random selection from around the world of olive tree logos to give you an idea of what’s out there. Personally, I don’t think a lot of them are very creative or even that good. However, it does illustrate the fact that the ancient olive tree is often the centre point of company logos in the global olive oil business.”
When I first read this I thought to myself: ‘Oh boy, the olive tree logo has been done over and over a million times! It’s going to be a real challenge to make this one stand out from the rest.’ Then I opened the attached images of the tree in Greece, and all my worries disappeared. I replied saying: “The tree is incredible! The very first thing I thought of when I saw the tree was two arms and hands intertwined.” Well, the idea just snowballed from there.
“Oh boy, the olive tree logo has been done over and over a million times! It’s going to be a real challenge to make this one stand out from the rest.”
The olive tree was once considered a sacred tree, and often used as an offering to the gods. This and the fact that two hands symbolize balance and more specifically, the act of giving and receiving set the scene for a logo rich in symbolism. Not only did it make for an olive tree logo that was definitely different from the rest but it also went hand-in-hand (get it? get it?) with the Greybe Fine Olive Products ethos of circular economy – which is to give back to the community, environment and people that give to them.
The logo had set the tone for the whole brand and after that the rest of the branding just flowed and fell into place.
How did it feel when it all went from concept to reality?
The best part of working with GFOP was the trust and freedom they gave me with the design of their brand. Taking complete creative control of a brand definitely did come with a few bumps and bruises along the way, but I feel I have undergone an exponential learning curve and come out the other end much wiser. I am so grateful for being given this opportunity to grow and to GFOP for trusting me every step of the way.
“Taking complete creative control of a brand definitely did come with a few bumps and bruises along the way, but I feel I have undergone an exponential learning curve and come out the other end much wiser.”
The day that the online store went live was definitely a highlight for everyone involved in making Greybe Fine Olive Products a reality. It was great hearing everyone’s positive responses to the branding but the biggest reward by far was hearing how satisfied and excited the directors of GFOP were about their brand. As a business owner I understand how amazing it is to be able to have something you’ve dreamed of, planned and sweated over for months, become something you can physically see and hold in your hands. It is extremely rewarding to be involved in that wonderful process.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently in the process of branding a few more companies plus working on a number of other exciting design projects – so stay tuned! Aurora Creative Studio is growing faster than I ever could have imagined and my goal now is to keep nurturing it until it fully blooms!
Tags: Lize-Marie Dreyer