Crit* Good Ol' Sailor Gin
by Richard Baird on 12/05/2012 | 4 Minute Read
Good Ol’ Sailor is an environmentally conscientious spirit brand recognised as being one of the first Swedish manufactures to adopt PET over glass for their bottles and use organically farmed grain for their products. As part of a packaging overhaul, design agency Motherland have developed a new structural and graphic design treatment for the brand's organic gin that moves away from the illustrative aesthetic created by tattoo artist Aniela - utilised across their vodka range - in favour of a more ‘mature’ direction that mixes traditional etched illustrative detail and bold, contemporary character work.
“Motherland has embarked on a renovation of the Good ol’ Sailor brand and first out from the fleet with a new, more vibrant suit is Good ol ‘Sailor Gin. Building on the brand with a fresh maturity and boosted clarity, Motherland has designed the original sleeve for this, the first, ecological Swedish gin in a PET bottle. Just like the popular Good ol ‘Sailor vodka, this new gin is an environmentally conscious product both in terms of packaging and content.“
Rather than the pen-work, watercolour fills and tattoo aesthetic of the vodka range, Motherland have delivered what could be considered a more realistic character solution. The solid and fine shadow work across the wrinkles, stubble and mustache, heavy but broken outlines and calligraphic-like strokes of the clothing have an improved sense of depth and detail and a contemporary vector-sharpness. Cues that subtly convey the experience required to deliver a high quality product and the brand’s new found maturity.
In contrast a new lighter and more detailed background cleverly achieves a botanical (product) and nautical (brand) duality through a very fine and hand etched illustrative style which appears to have a period authenticity drawn straight out of an expeditionary journal. They appear structured, well spaced and cover the circumference of the bottle - rather than a conventional two panel front and back label - achieving layers of visual texture, thematic richness and sense of premium quality while neatly resolving the sourcing of natural, organic ingredients, hints at the medicinal and middle age origins of gin and the themes of adventure and exploration.
The background images, printed in a light blue, comfortably sit behind the heavier fills and strokes of the black line work of the character. These are given a watery quality through the refraction and tint of the PET while the darker blue, bright red and gold/yellow highlights have a clear maritime sensibility.
Like the illustrative work the typography moves away from the looser pen-like qualities of the vodka range in favour of a polished and contemporary script set within a paper ribbon. It has a good sense of motion, features solid ligature detail, a neat contrast of light and heavy strokes, a gradient that gives it dimensionality and period flourishes. The smaller and slightly isolated all-uppercase serif, delivered with plenty of line spacing at the foot of the bottle, works well with the more traditional imagery while the sans serif fits with the more contemporary sensibilities of the hero.
Where the other bottles of the Good ‘Ol Sailor range appear to be intent on conveying brand character over product proposition the juxtaposition of light traditional and bold contemporary style here - while slightly at odds aesthetically - manages to retain the distinctive personality of the brand, refine it and introduce cues that allude to the natural qualities of the product. A contrast that could perhaps also reflect some of the complexities and subtle ingredient profiles that underpin the significant flavour of gin.
Richard is a British freelance design consultant and writer who specialises in logos, branding and packaging. He has written for Brand New and Design Week, featured in Computer Arts magazine, Logology, Los Logos, Logolounge, The Big Book of Packaging and runs the blogs BP&O and Design Survival.