I have been working on some side projects on top of my service design job at Circle/Participle. I seem to pick up commissions in curious ways. This one was a particularly fun project. At a party, I saw someone drinking out of a plain bottle with some masking tape on it that said ‘rum’ in terrible red pen. He made alcohol at home as a hobby. I offered to draw him a better label – ‘just bring me a pen and some more masking tape’. He dashed off and came back with a notebook for my email address and I got more than I bargained for!
Yon on the left, Lior on the right
Yon Borthwick also makes beer amongst other alcohol at home, and he has big regular house parties, not entirely funded by himself. He wanted some labels that he could print out himself – as many as he likes – and stick on old beer bottles using cornflower paste. To reinforce the handmade, homemade feel, I designed a stamp to fit on the labels.
The labels were first used on a batch sold at a 1920s prohibition themed party. At the door, you had to give a secret password and pay £5 to cover the cost of drinks. People were drinking elderflower martinis out of jam jars; wearing fantastic costumes; swing dancing to an incredible jazz band; there was even a gambling room.
The project was a challenge in that the client wanted a template that he himself could edit, so that for future batches he could just change the name on the label and the date. The only way around that (at least that I know of) was to teach him how to use InDesign – a Word template is just not enough.
The labels on here aren’t to the standard I want them to be – the guidelines for the stamp don’t work as well as I envisioned and I have offered further assistance to fix that. I’m also not completely happy with the lettering placement/size of ‘Blind Pig’ as you can see in the first image. This is a risk when handing over a template to a non-designer: they do not have a trained eye for graphics.
The labels serve their purpose and they were good fun to make (and the payment in beer was pretty good too), but I have to think in the future about whether I want to hand over a template and lose creative control.