Blackadder English Dry Gin is a passion project of mine, I've always wanted to try my hand at working with a more high-brow aesthetic and one day while watching a Blackadder re run on Dave the idea just clicked. Blackadder Dry Gin is a celebration of all things delightfully British, in particular our rich royal history and how witty and satirical the British are.
This project heavily draws its inspiration from the Rowan Atkinson starred Blackadder series, in particular Blackadder 2. I love the costume designs and aesthetics of the second season. The outlandish Elizabethan Ruffled Collars and high society extravagant feel of it all, so high brow and lavish it borders on tacky. The costumes were the main inspiration behind the custom artwork I created for the project. The intricate, complex and symmetrical pattern-work observed makes you want to pause and zoom in to inspect every detail. Peoples outfits are adorned with expensive jewels and metals. Everyone in that era were constantly peacocking and so my packaging needed to do the same.
I had an abundance of ideas and sketches for conveying this identity, the biggest problem I faced was communicating this over the top lavish peacock to a modern day audience that favours a more refined straightforward design. This took a lot of de-cluttering and several versions to get to a product that clearly communicates what it is, why it is, and is also able to draw the consumers eyes to different brand elements clearly without getting overwhelmed.
SIMPLIFY & REFINE
As heartbreaking as it is, after all the work that went into that initial concept sketch and subsequent digital work the design wasn't working. There were too many elements and my customers wouldn't know what to look at. If it existed as a piece of artwork for the Blackadder series it's bang on. But I wanted my piece to communicate what my product was more clearly.
My next step was to start removing elements and simplifying the overall design. My first change was the overall shape, a circle lends itself better to an old bottle than my intricate shape and can also be used throughout other elements of the product and packaging. I created some custom line patterns and repeated them in this shape.
My next step was to remove the custom logotype and ribbons, as nice as they were individually they served no purpose as communication elements to the overall design. I already have the product name in there and these additions simply confused the hierarchy.