A Yorkshire Collab: Designing Celebratory Merchandise For Whitworths Sugar's 40th Birthday!
This is one of the most exciting blog posts I've written so far and it includes the fabulous Whitworths Sugar, a Yorkshire based sugar company in Normanton.
In celebration of the brands 40th birthday this month, they asked me to design a collection of celebratory merchandise which best represented not only their eclectic and vibrant brand but also their origin of Yorkshire and the surrounding community that they're so proud of.
From a few meetings with the incredible team we decided a cityscape inspired illustration would be best, made up of some of Yorkshire's most iconic landmarks. These included Leeds Corn Exchange, Ribblehead Viaduct, Flamborough Head Lighthouse, Halifax Piece Hall, the Humber Bridge, and of course York Minster. I decided to incorporate as many sweets and cakes into the architecture with a particular homage to liquorice (hay-bails and 'all sorts' hidden in the Leeds corn exchange) and rhubarb trees, two of Yorkshire's iconic sweet treats.
I also drew bunting at the top of the designs to symbolise celebration and community, an iconic British decoration for every event from a school bake sale to a royal coronation at which many a cake, scone, and pot of jam are required.
Firstly the Whitworths Celebration Ceramic Mug artwork... Celebrating all aspects of Yorkshire I decided to draw a chicken and a cow to portray the vibrant agriculture the county is famous for along with tea cups and biscuits floating down the sugar cube river a staple diet of any hardworking Yorkshireman or woman. The hills in the background represent the gorgeous moors and dales with a bold Yorkshire flag proudly standing next to the Whitworths sugar factory.
For the Whitworths Celebration Cork Coaster the same theme was decided upon however the signature Whitworths Sugar stars were added to this design to portray a night time scene in contrast to the mug. I particularly love how this illustration came out, I initially found it difficult to balance the buildings around the circle without them becoming too cramped but after a lot of tea and biscuits it all seemed to come together. Of course it wouldn't be Yorkshire without a little Yorkshire greeting, our charmful party hat wearing chicken and cow duo sharing a 'Hey up!' and an 'Ow do?' illustrate another tribute to Whitworths Sugar's amazing local community.
And finally, last but not least, we have the Whitworths Celebration Poster! If you're a fan of Freya Niamh Design you'll know that art prints are a specialty, travel art prints to be precise so drawing this print for Whitworths Sugar was such an absolute delight. The common theme of the Yorkshire sweety architecture was kept although we shifted the main focus of this illustration to the party duo which we thought would add that extra Yorkshire charm.
I started my art business in 2017 and over the years seem to have developed my own signature colour palette of vibrant oranges, pinks, and yellows specifically chosen to be as uplifting and fun as possible, for which most of my customers come back time and time again for. I thought for this collaboration sticking to this restricted colour palette would best reflect Freya Niamh Design's personality intertwined with Whitworths Sugar.
This project felt so special to work on for Whitworths Sugar, after telling my mum she laughed at how full circle this collaboration feels. As a child I was notorious for stealing cake mixture bowls mid-baking, fruitcake mix was a particular favourite. In fact I've already promised mum a few bags of Whitworths Sugar to make up for all the faulty Christmas cakes haha.
Adding the sugar and cake elements to my architectural drawings was something completely new to me and such a fun exploration which I really hope you enjoy. Let me know in the comments how many sweet-themed illustrations you can find within the artwork!
There we have it my very own illustration collaboration with the iconic Whitworths Sugar! I absolutely loved working on this collection with the team and really hope you like what I came up with. Let me know in the comments what your favourite piece is. You can shop all three products along with lots more beautiful merch on the Whitworths Sugar website:
Thanks so much for taking the time to read! Have a great one.