Dram good design – 25 years of Stocks Taylor Benson

As some of you may know, one of the ways I was first introduced to graphic design was through my Dad. He is the co-owner of Stocks Taylor Benson, an agency based in Leicestershire and they’re currently celebrating their 25th Birthday. (Anniversary? Whichever you prefer!) Now I don’t tend to talk about their work much as I don’t want this blog just to become a promotion for them, however their recent project to commemorate this momentous passing of time is one that I’m really quite a fan of.

Even Better With Age-1

Stocks Taylor Benson 25 years

I can put this appreciation down to a number of key features, the first and main one being the plethora of witty word play and puns they’ve managed to incorporate throughout the packaging, this, as well as the level of detail (even down to the year the typeface was made coinciding with the year the business was formed) and the lovely tactility in the orange foiling really makes it a stand out piece of work in my opinion.

Stocks Taylor Benson 25 years

The entire concept is based around the idea of 25 years, whisky was chosen as 1988 was a good year for whisky and the specific whisky they have packaged is Glenfarclas – a 25 year old single malt. As well as this, the boxes were produced in a limited run of 250, which were hand numbered, no less!

In their own words, ‘Once the box is opened the recipient is invited to share in a wee toast, “Here’s tae 25 years of spirited graphic design”, foiled onto a heavyweight board flap that hides the contents and builds the sense of anticipation.’

STB design, whiskey

Beneath this there’s a booklet to tell you all about the business (and the whisky) which features some lovely bits of copy such as ‘That’s the spirit” and “Like a good whisky we’ve become even better with age” further reinforcing the link between the company and whisky.

Stocks Taylor Benson 25 years

The bottles themselves (one is whisky, the other water) are simple but beautifully crafted. Beyond the initial word play on the products, they feature some neat details such as ‘Still – designing with passion’ on the water.
Even Better With Age-6

STB packaging

I love the way they have treated every element in the package as an opportunity and the entire thing is beautifully considered and thorough. A great celebration of their work.

You can find out more about this project here.

Oh, and also you can vote for this to be featured in The Drum via this link. You just have to click ‘Like’ next to their pictures.


A Smattering of Brilliant Packaging Copy

Recently I’ve been working on a project that needed me to think of as many ways to say ‘pouring honey’ as possible! This reminded me of some brilliant work from Lewis Moberly which was done before this blog was started so never got to feature. I’m thinking about doing a few more posts like this and less just about recent work to make sure this blog is full of stuff that actually inspires me and not just the top link on creative review!

LM’s task was to create a range for Waitrose Cooks’ ingredients and they decided to focus on the language used by chefs and tap into the colloquialisms of cooking.

Lewis Moberly Waitrose Cooks' RangeI think this is a brilliant way to engage with the audience and bring some personality and warmth to the brand. By keeping the rest of the packaging simple it really pushes the copy and keeps the range looking clean and up-market.

Lewis Moberly Waitrose Cooks' Range

Lewis Moberly Waitrose Cooks' RangeBy generally keeping the same “A ____ of _____” format and neat rectangles of typography, Lewis Moberly have ensured that all of the products clearly belong to the range no matter what bottle or packet the label is applied to. It also allows them to change the background colour of the labels to add some interest and complement the product they are placed on. Having said that I like the fact they’re not afraid to break that format and have fun with some of the copy such as “Easy on the Dijon smooth mustard” which brings even more humility and likability to the range.




Hat-Trick Design show a Passion for Opera

Every time I leave a gap between posts there seems to be more pressure on the next thing I write! Normally I can find tonnes of things to inspire me but none of them seem quite “worthy” enough to write about! However I can always rely on the work of Hat-Trick design and their new work for the Welsh National Opera hasn’t let me down.

Hat Trick Design Welsh National OperaHat-Trick based the identity on using a painted brushstroke for the ‘O’, they then commissioned Howard Hodgkin (a friend of WNO’s artistic director) to create a painting based on this O which can be seen on the cover:

Howard Hodgkin for WNOTo bring the identity to life Hat-Trick design added rough and raw brushstrokes to photographs of various operas to really pull out the idea of emotion and passion.

Screen Shot 2013-02-11 at 20.06.38 Screen Shot 2013-02-11 at 20.06.47 Hat Trick Design WNO identityPossibly the most effective implementation of this, in my opinion, (aside from the dramatic slash across Anne Boleyn’s neck) is the one pictured below:
Hat Trick Design WNO identityThis really sums up why the identity is so brilliant, it makes the opera become accessible and easily understood. The almost childish strokes make what could be quite a contrived or even clichéd idea seem fresh, natural and exciting.

Even the pages without a photograph are brought to life by these vibrant stokes:

Hat Trick Design WNO identityMaking things look intentionally ‘messy’ or unfinished is a very difficult thing to pull off well but I think this solution is executed perfectly.

Once again a brilliant bit of work, you can read about their Horniman Identity here or Jim Sutherland’s own project The Disappointments Diary here.

Found originally on Design Week and It’s Nice That.

Saving Lives at Sea – A Typography Project

As promised here’s the other project I’ve been working on for the past semester. This was broken up into 3 parts: a poster, a catalogue and a typographic installation. There are some issues with ‘of’s in Bell MT italic, I’m not sure why but they randomly shift to the right when exporting (annoyingly because they all needed kerning individually!!) so I’m aware these can look bad in places!

I’ve shown a few bits of these projects along the way but these are my final outcomes. The three sections didn’t have to have a link but they could have a similar style or connecting features if we wanted.

My poster is probably the weakest part of the project, you can see the evolution of it starting with this post and carrying on in this post. I’m happy with the hierarchy and the general attention to detail but I think it lacks impact:

saving lives at sea typographic poster

This uses the same colour scheme as my catalogue. I was generally pleased with the outcome of my catalogue., you can read more about the grid and typefaces I used as well as various other features in my earlier post here. I changed a lot of the photography for my final catalogue as I felt the images were stronger. There are hundreds of tiny changes and tweaks throughout! One thing I liked but didn’t mention in my earlier post is the use of catchwords throughout the extract pages, they’re used on the bottom of a page to tell you the first word(s) of the next page, sadly they’re no longer used in books but I’d love to see them back.

Click for larger images:

Saving lives at sea catalogueFinalbookletspreads_Page_02Finalbookletspreads_Page_03Finalbookletspreads_Page_04Finalbookletspreads_Page_05Finalbookletspreads_Page_06Finalbookletspreads_Page_07Finalbookletspreads_Page_08Finalbookletspreads_Page_09Finalbookletspreads_Page_10Finalbookletspreads_Page_11Finalbookletspreads_Page_12Finalbookletspreads_Page_13Finalbookletspreads_Page_14Finalbookletspreads_Page_15Finalbookletspreads_Page_16Finalbookletspreads_Page_17Finalbookletspreads_Page_18The final part of the project was Type in the Environment. For this we had to take a story or text that we wanted to show typographically and put it in a place that helped tell the story. The materials we used and the typography also had to be considered to best reflect the story or the feel we were trying to create.

I decided that I wanted my typographic piece to serve some sort of purpose and to do more than just look pretty so I settled on a quote from the founder of the RNLI that was all about the dangers of the sea. I wanted this to act as a warning but also to celebrate the heroism of the members of the RNLI. One of the biggest RNLI disasters was the Penlee Disaster so I decided to situated the quote there to remind villagers of Mousehole (the place many of the RNLI members were from) of the bravery and to keep the story alive through the generations.

The installation was also there to promote the Saving Lives at Sea exhibition so I used a typeface that I liked from a plaque outside the National Maritime Museum (where the exhibition will be held.) I couldn’t find the right typeface so I wrote the quote out by hand and then used illustrator to neaten it up!

The quote before:

Hand rendered type


The quote after:

Hand rendered typeYou might have noticed that I used this as the endpages for my catalogue, this was an attempt to link the two together but also just because I thought it looked nice! I had a few problems with rivers and I tried lots of things to avoid them but more kept appearing so this was the best I could get it!

The typographic inspiration came from this plaque:

plaqueThe problem with the condensed typography is that it’s quite difficult to read so I decided that this should stay as a plaque:

typographic plaqueTo make the text come to life I decided to take the most emotive words and place them along the pier in Mousehole, reflecting the plaque. To make them serve their purpose as a warning and not an eyesore I found a medium called rust oleum, which only shows up when wet. This means that the message would only be displayed in bad weather, when it is actually relevant.

The words I picked out:

letteringIn context:

typographic installation


If you missed my post on my consumerism work you can find that here, if not, you’re fully up to date with my life / work! I hope you like what I’ve been up to and I’d love to hear your feedback!






New Year, New Post.

I got my blog stats in the other day that tell me all sorts of exciting things about views and popular posts during the year. If you’re interested in that kind of thing then have a nosy here. Anyway it gave me a bit of a kick to start posting again so what better day than new year? (Although I have to make it clear it’s not a resolution because I don’t like them. They seem silly and are nearly always broken by the 5th of January anyway!)

So for this post I thought I’d show a nice bit of topical packaging that I don’t think many of you will appreciate seeing today!

Created by Brandhouse, an agency I was unfamiliar with up until now, for Berry Bros. & Rudd this packaging really stood out on the shelf and made me interested to find out more about the brand and product.

Screen Shot 2013-01-01 at 20.21.29Their brief was to create the most premium gin brand from a company that had over 300 years experience in wine and spirit making, which is pretty much a dream brief for anybody, I’d imagine. Brandhouse based the brand around the location of the company, working with the address, maps and even a key embossed into each bottle.

brandhouse gin packaging


I love the typography on the label and the way it continues to reflect the idea of heritage and ‘London.’brandhouse gin packagingI also particularly like the way the key concept is taken to the primary packaging using a really simple keyhole die-cut.Brandhouse dry gin packagingReally nice stuff and hopefully you’ll agree, a good start to the year!