Pack of the Month: Cutthroat Gin Is a Cut Above the Rest
by Bill McCool on 02/28/2022 | 3 Minute Read
I'm not sure I've ever seen a bottle that looks as if it's been cut in half by a samurai sword and is about to slide off precariously from the point where it was sliced like something out of a B-horror movie. But that's Cutthroat Gin in a nutshell.
Designed by Greek agency Mousegraphics, the matte glass bottles feature one of the most memorable packaging silhouettes in recent years, and it perfectly exemplifies the brand's "sharp" motif. Taking inspiration from Jack the Ripper, the bottles also feature a small macabre illustration of a straight razor, letting consumers know that this is a bottle that is definitely not fucking around.
We spoke with Greg Tsaknakis, creative director of Mousegraphics, about their design for Cutthroat Gin and why it's a cut above the rest.
Walk us through the design process that you went through for this project.
We focused on the sense of "sharpness" that was prominent in the brand’s approach. We examined the historical-cultural context of the distilling tradition that the brand reclaimed and studied facts and lore around Jack the Ripper in London mixed with stories of human lives steeped in difficulties and gin. The once cheap drink, which started as medicine in mid 18th century, gradually became part of worldwide stories that involved working people, pioneer feminists, American gangsters, sophisticated Englishmen, burning slashes, wild tastes, razor-sharp spirits, and many more.
That is the story we had to know, forget and re-tell in one design gesture.
What was one of the biggest goals you set out to achieve with Cutthroat Gin packaging, and how did you accomplish it?
I am quite suspicious of goals and accomplishments. I prefer processes, the ones that are condensed and clear, razor-sharp, and yet gentle in their cross-over to the public taste. I believe the design for Cutthroat Gin almost mimics the feel of a sip of good gin. And so, it manages to enact this gin’s story well and preserve its mystery.
You definitely created a memorable packaging silhouette. How did you land on the bottle shape, and was it difficult to produce?
We conceived the container as the "vehicle," the conceptual carrier of "the cut," i.e., the decisive gesture that acutely separates and clearly distinguishes. We planned for a ceramic bottle, and for cost reasons, we ended with a glass alternative with a coat of matte paint. We are happy that the outcome is iconic.
What was the most challenging part of this project?
I guess it was answering these questions in English. My command of the language leaves much to be desired.
If you could pick one aspect of the finished design that you like the most or feel proud of, what would it be and why?
I am quite satisfied with the design of the tonic.
To minimize costs, we had to choose an existing type of container and still be faithful to the atmosphere of the design for the gin. We came up with the solution of a different cut—the label instead of the bottle.
Share one lesson that you learned while developing the finished product.
Same as always—let the design emerge free and trust it to tell the story