Responses by Rowena Curlewis, chief executive officer and cofounder, Denomination.
Background: Capitalizing on the success of its wine brand, South Australian winery Tread Softly is taking its momentum into the spirits sector with a gin. Currently, masculine block branding and foiled label solutions dominate the spirits market. Tread Softly wanted to disrupt it with a sustainable, feminine and natural approach.
Design thinking: The considerable success of Tread Softly’s wine demonstrates the consumer thirst for brands with genuine ecocredentials. Given that the brand had already been established, we wanted to develop an approach built on existing brand recognition while also bringing something new to the spirits sector, known for its innovative approach to labeling.
Challenges: Like every other drinks brand, we suffered at the hands of global glass shortages and international shipping delays. We had to make weekly—then daily—calls to suppliers to see how we could get around these issues and meet the retailer deadlines. Working out the overseal dieline was essential to ensure product safety without using plastic.
Favorite details: The aesthetic complements the brand premise and name. On the small front label—which is fashioned from natural paper stock—there’s a tiny illustration of a ladybug, encouraging consumers to lean in and investigate. The screen-printed design on the back of the bottle features beautiful, generous illustrations of flora and fauna. The illustrations can be seen through the glass and the liquid, amplifying the natural message and reflecting the brand’s awareness of its environmental footprint.
New lessons: We chose 100-percent recycled glass from packaging supply store Estal for Tread Softly as it best aligned with the brand’s sustainability platform. We learned that the glass color would change slightly for each production as it’s entirely dependent upon the inputs of which the manufacturer has no control. Some are slightly blue, some are slightly green and others shades of both. We needed to test both the liquid color and the graphics to ensure that the changing glass wouldn’t reduce the aesthetic appeal of either the gin liquid or the packaging design. Minor tweaks to the Rosé Gin’s liquid were made to withstand the color variations, and we increased the contrast of the brand illustration to accommodate.
Divergent paths: We would have started earlier in the process to ensure that we avoided the stress of meeting the retailer deadline. Knowing now the impact that both the glass shortage and shipping delays upon everyone, we would have done better to either add more time to the project or start discussions earlier in the process.