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How this Gin Strikes a Balance with an Elegant Yet Sexy Design

by Theresa Christine Johnson on 01/25/2017 | 7 Minute Read

Temple Distilling produces award-winning spirits, so for the design for their latest gin they needed something that would communicate excellence and intrigue. Fresh Bread Design developed the packaging for Woodcut Barrel Rested Gin, complete with a gorgeous and classy-looking label that will instantly draw you in. We asked Scott Wetzel of Fresh Bread Design all about designing this striking gin, the biggest challenge in the process, and why you should always sleep on your designs.

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Walk us through the design process that you went through for this project.

Fresh Bread Design: Like any project, I always start by asking a lot of questions: who the target market its, price points, etc. I’ve worked with Temple Distilling on multiple occasions and have a really good feel for their artistic direction but I never want to assume. Every other label we’ve created for Temple Distilling has had a book theme and this one is no different. Temple had already come up with the name “Woodcut” so I spent hours poring over old woodcut lettering, books, and illustrations. I sketched multiple lettering styles before settling on the “Woodcut” you see on the bottle. The other side of this project was that we had to maintain some semblance of continuity between the other Temple gins while still ensuring the customer knew that this is a different product entirely. We did that by keeping the die cuts very similar, as well as including some key design elements and paper choices. We also used the same bottle.

I use a pretty traditional process of research and sketching. I sketch for hours before I ever settle on any one part of the design. For this particular project I knew there were going to be several elements that needed to be fleshed out. The “Woodcut” lettering, the bottom scrollwork and the corner scrolls. Each of those elements were developed separately before I scanned them and drew them in illustrator. Once they were vector I arranged my layout and added a bit of patina. I’m fairly certain we only did one or two simple revisions to this label before it was signed off on.

As far as the printing process goes, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted for embellishments but the fear was going too far. I worked pretty closely with Labels West to ensure we had a lot of embellishments but didn’t lose balance or overdo it at any point. They were amazing at making the vision come alive and really showed how important it is to have good communication and open dialogue with your printer.

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How did you give Woodcut Barrel Rested Gin a distinct look so it would stand out in a saturated market of spirits?

Fresh Bread Design: There are a couple of things we did. One was allow for some negative space. There is a LOT going on in this design but all of it has breathing room so you can appreciate the elements, especially the branding. The other is texture. This label looks like it needs to be touched. And then it’s got this great tactile experience…so the linen paper, embossing, gold foil and high build gloss varnish really engage multiple senses. It makes you want to feel it.

What was one of the biggest goals you set out to achieve with the packaging and how did you accomplish it?

Fresh Bread Design: The product itself is a gin that’s been resting in bourbon barrels so one of the biggest goals was to bridge a gap between gin and whiskey drinkers. I love both but the marketing of the two products is ultimately very different. We needed to attract both types of drinkers. One way we did this was balancing a warm color palette with an off-white base color for the label. Again, we made sure we weren’t afraid of the negative space. So, the label itself is bright without sacrificing the warmth. We added a patina to it to keep from being too bright. 

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What was the most challenging part of this project?

Fresh Bread Design: The “Woodcut” lettering was difficult to create. It needed to have a vintage whimsy but I also wanted it to be elegant and sexy. Those two things are really difficult to marry. I spent a lot of time researching original lettering from different old woodcut prints. Eventually I found one that was the inspiration for this lettering. In the end, our lettering wasn’t too heavy and the movement wasn’t too sweeping. It felt comfortable, but I went through a lot of different styles and sketches before that happened.

If you could pick one aspect of the finished design that you like the most or feel especially proud of, what would it be and why?

Fresh Bread Design: I LOVE the tactile experience of this label. I just want to touch it. It has so much texture going on between the paper choice and the embellishments that it’s just fun to run your fingers across it. That was one of the goals but it turned out much better than expected.

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Share one lesson that you learned while developing the finished product.

Fresh Bread Design: Always sleep on your design decisions. I had decided I was going to do a high build gloss varnish on multiple parts of the design. I’d even talked it over with the client and we agreed it was a great idea. I sent it to my printer late in the evening. The next day I woke up and just knew it was way too much. I called my rep and told him I’d be sending over another version. He agreed it was probably too much. That’s another lesson I learned; the importance of using an experienced printer and trusting their experience.

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