Graphic design student Victoria Schell interned thirty miles from campus at Big Water Coffee Roasters in Bayfield. With a daily downtown view of Lake Superior, she learned the coffee business, graphic design, photography, social media, and project management.
“I loved having the chance to work with, collaborate and get direction from a professional while creating work for Big Water,” Schell said. “The freedom I had to create new media for the company and skills I learned through it will stay with me.”
Big Water Coffee Roasters is a locally owned business that has grown a successful storefront as well as a wholesale network reaching across the upper Midwest. They supply roasts to other small town coffee shops, provide regular deliveries to local food pantries, and created a special blend for Northland College, named Fenenga Fuel, for the College’s first president. M.J. Fenenga.
Schell worked directly with Kelley Linehan, who is the director of marketing at Big Water Coffee and the marketing and events manager at the Bayfeld Chamber and Visitor Bureau. The two of them met at the Northland College Job and Internship Fair in the spring and hit it off. Schell needed to fulfill a required graphic design internship requirement; Linehan needed a skilled assistant.
Big Water Coffee Roasters does all of their design work in-house, from product packaging and cafe signage to marketing materials, both printed and digital. “We are a small company, but we are very proud of our established brand,” Linehan said. “We work hard to maintain consistency in everything we do, both with our coffee product and our designed materials.”
First Schell needed to familiarize herself with the company’s branding and design style guide. Over the course of the summer, Victoria helped concept labels for a new coffee blend, she staged and took photos of existing merchandise for use in promotional materials including our digital newsletter and social media accounts.
The biggest project, included the redesign of the wholesale product catalog. The process started with a full examination of the flow of the pages and how it all worked together to communicate information about the mission of Big Water Coffee Roaster and about the coffee they sell.
This included sampling blends. Her favorite blend: Midnight Voyageur. “It is a dark roast coffee that has hints of dark chocolate and is robust,” Schell said.
Schell said she liked the Midnight Voyageur labeling. “The dark brown label with a pair of boots in a pen and ink style creates a story in my mind of a sailor or hiker coming home from a long trip to a cup of good coffee as they are preparing to tell the tales of their voyage,” she said.
For the catalog redesign, Schell helped to determine the underlying template, set up the files for population with copy and imagery, and took all of the product photography that was included in the finished version.
She met every other week to go over projects and talk through upcoming ones. “This has really helped me to prepare myself for how freelance work in the graphic design field works,” she said.
She immersed herself in computer software, Adobe Creative Cloud, and now works in the program with much more ease and confidence. She also learned a lot more about software like Mail Chimp as well as good management of social media and especially branding.
“It was hard to say goodbye at the end of the summer,” she said. “Being there allowed me insights into design and into how much Big Water is a part of the Bayfield community—it has deep roots in the area and is a really wonderful place to be.”