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Right Side Up/Upside Down New Label

Written by in Color & Texture


New Label Design from
Device Creative Collaborative
Will Turn Your Head

The work of Shane Cranford, 38, and Ross Clodfelter, 33, of Device Creative Collaborative in Winston Salem, NC, is nuanced and deep. Their often handcrafted print work features rich combinations of scores, folds, diecuts, embossing, duplexes, and varnishes with gorgeous hand-lettered type and amusing copy at the margins. DCC’s package design for Piedmont Distillers of North Carolina is a perfect example of their work.

Method + Standard is a new vodka label. Device helped develop the name for the brand and executed all the brand standards. The big idea behind the name, design, and production of both product and label is that the word Method speaks to how the beverage is made, and the word Standard speaks to its authentic taste. The team worked on the launch of the new brand over the past year. It shows.

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Printing  on Neenah Estate Label

• Client: Piedmont Distillers
•  Brand Launch: Method + Standard (pronounced Method “and” Standard)
•  Label Paper: Neenah Estate 8
•  Printing: 4-color digital
•  Finish: Color foils for flavor names, black foils for logo and back side elements, 3d emboss on logo, and custom die-cut

“The brand name and label were created to sell the product and the craft, not to pose as a ‘lifestyle’ brand or some made up story,” says Shane Cranford, co-founder of Device. “This is an honest brand that has something real to say to vodka enthusiasts: it has all natural ingredients with whole fruit steeped into the batch for days, or weeks—not fruit extracts, preservatives, or concentrates. This gives it a natural taste far different from the fake whipped cream, geese, castles, cinnamon buns, or frilly flavors.  The descriptor we helped formulate states ‘It’s vodka the way nature intended.’”

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Device was asked by the client to “shake things up” and raise the bar in the category, “so we shook things up with upside down graphics,” says Ross Clodfelter, co-founder of Device. The label name is an intelligent (and subtle) play on words: Device juxtaposed two brand characteristic: The Method used in the vodka-making process creates the Standard that others in the industry will have to live up to.

“We followed this through with the logo. When the bottle is upright, the word ‘Method’ is upright as that is how the method gets added into the bottle. When pouring a glass or cocktail, the word ’Standard’ is upright to signify the standard being poured into the glass,” says Cranford.

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In case delighted tipplers think they are seeing things, the team added another graphic element to help them see straight: “We use a bold font for the word Method to hint to the modern process and bold stand this product takes. For the word Standard, we used a more classic font, to hint to the timelessness and natural standard.”

Dizzy? Wait, there’s more: “We continued this thinking through to the copy on the backside of the bottle. The copy that explains Standard is upside down, but interlaced with the copy that speaks to the Method, because both the concepts behind method and standard are inseparable. A numeric system was created to help distinguish each flavor. The original flavor is Method No.1, Raspberry is Method No.2, and so forth with matching cocktail recipe cards,” explains Clodfelter.

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If you miss those playful nuances, the design is graced with drop-dead beautiful illustrations. Cranford notes, “We commissioned illustrations of fruit in their natural form, still on the branch. For original flavor, we chose to show corn as a baby stalk because it was more elegant. The look of the fruit still on the branch is a subtle message that speaks to the all-natural ingredients in the spirit.”

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Method + Standard is premium priced to compete with such fine brands as Grey Goose and Belvedere. The spirit is designed for people who care more about what they are drinking than the mood or place it is served and the social aspect of the experience.

“It’s not about the party drink, or frilly fake in the bottle. It is about the quality of the drink and the level of excellence it offers,” Clodfelter adds. Their choice of Neenah Estate Label paper was as deliberate as the design and illustration. “We went with Neenah because not only did they have a great line up of label stock, but the company as a whole carries a more natural appeal, and this only seemed fitting with the brand.”

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The two designers say they go the extra mile because they enjoy it, not because it’s in the creative brief. They are evangelists of great design, and their clients, their client’s clients, and anyone who encounters them or their work will get swept away by their passion and fervor. Well, we will raise our glass to that!