The challenge was to create a limited edition rum collection that told the story of Rum Blender, a side-project I had recently started up with a friend. It all kicked off with a bunch of us sat around a table in the boardroom after-hours one night, learning a thing or two about rum; how it’s made, the different types, what Rum Blender is, and of course, a flight of seven different yummy rum samples to taste, enjoy and scribble tasting notes for. By the end of the session we had created three original blends to take forward and design custom engraved labels for... and a number of us were drunk.
Fast-forward through seven months of lunch hours and early starts and we finally managed to sign off final creative to send away for engraving. We decided to represent the journey that this rum takes - from where it's made to where it's blended to where it's bottled - in three simple, stylised illustrations. The first characterising a sun-soaked Caribbean island (West Indies), the second showing the narrow building fronts along the canals of Amsterdam (Netherlands) and the final one depicting Bothwell Castle (Scotland). These illustrations were all built on a single uniforming grid we had developed to ensure that - although three different designers were working on each individually - they would all work together and share the same style and weight.
I'm so incredibly proud of this work and can’t stress enough that the greatest part of it all was the opportunity to work so closely with other people oozing even more creative energy, passion, positivity and enthusiasm than I do. An incredible, balanced and extremely gratifying collaboration which rendered phenomenal results, not just in the form of three beautiful bottles of rum, but in the overwhelming sense of accomplishment, pride and satisfaction from all involved.
Nobody gets into design for the money, as Massimo Vignelli put it, "you do design because you feel it inside". We can’t help it, we need to make stuff and often it’s our own ideas we wish to pursue and explore.