As one of the most recognisable and cherished labels in the gin market space, Tobias collaborated closely with the Pearlfisher team for the past 18 months, ushering in a refreshing transformation as this beloved British brand enters the U.S. market.
While evolving the iconic Swan motif, Tobias has skilfully preserved its unique charm, using his distinctive brushwork to retell the brand's narrative. The juniper tapestry that surrounds the iconic swan is elegantly adorned in shimmering gold foil against a backdrop of opulent green on the classic London Dry Gin bottle. The imagery works equally as well across the whole range of coloured flavour variants in the range.
Tobias took time to tell us all about the process:
The new label looks incredible. How do you approach the challenge of updating a brand whilst retaining it’s charm?
I think in the case of Sipsmith, it was about establishing where that charm came from; the old illustration/logo had plenty of quirks to it, but a lot of those were to do with how it had been drawn and the form of the swan, which was a little surreal and not especially true to life.
Part of the brief was to make the swan more recognisable as a swan, so a lot of that surrealism had to go. But we established that we could retain some of it through keeping the droplet shaped eye; it’s a relatively subtle feature and one that perhaps isn’t immediately obvious, but elevates it from being a normal swan to the Sipsmith Swan. Obviously the fact that the swan is coming out of a distillery still also helps to retain some more of that quirkiness and familiarity.
Were there features and guidelines to retain, or did you have lots of creative freedom?
It was a bit of a trial and error thing really - initially we tried quite radical changes but these were knocked back until we settled on something that felt more familiar.
What are some of the biggest challenges you came up against in the refresh?
There are a lot of stakeholders involved on both sides of the Atlantic, and a lot of those had a really strong affinity with the brand. So as always on branding projects such as this, it’s important to balance the needs of all those involved, which can be a challenge!
Were there any ideas that didn’t quite make the cut that you’re still fond of?
Not all of the work I did on the logotype and the simplified Swanstill marque saw light of day, but most of the logotype recommendations made it into the final thing, so i’ll take that!
I think it’s always really fun seeing how it translates to a printed label, especially when you’re using foiling; it really elevates what you see on screen into something with a lot more depth.
Cucumber, or slice of lemon? How do you like your G&T?