I started this project about a week ago when I found myself a little extra time. It was inspired by this very lovely class by Mary-Kate McDevitt that was free on Skillshare a couple weeks back. She does a great job of laying out her whole process and if you’re at all interested in vintage type, you’ll probably find it just as interesting as I did.

I took inspiration mostly from stuff I had on pinterest, which was a shame but yard sale season hasn’t picked up yet, so finding actual vintage specimens wasn’t on the table. My idea was to create a label for a quack-medicine, like snake oil or cod liver oil or every diet pill ever. I swiped the name off the 5-and-dime in town, since that seems like the kind of place that would sell their own cure-all remedies.

First, sketches:
Four options. I narrowed it down to the two on the left, and made more detailed versions. Then I decided I really liked the beehive-themed one.

A photo posted by Katie (@katharinelissa) on

After that, digitization. I took a photo of my inked sketch and brought it right into Illustrator. It’s still not totally cleaned up, I’ll probably go back later and fix up a lot of these curves. But the dirtiness of it doesn’t really bother me.


I tried a few different layouts for the actual on-bottle label, since the all-white background seemed kind of stark. I ended up going with it though, it grew on me the more I looked at it. These are some of the other options:


The finals are here!