Your Moment of Design Zen: Taylor & Smith Distilling Co.

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On the island of Tasmania in the capital city of Hobart, there is an independent small-batch distillery with a story so warm it melts the snow in nearby Mount Field National Park.

Owners Natalie Smith and Ben Taylor started their spirits business by surprising neighbors on Friday nights with a small jam jar full of gin left on their doorstep. People would in turn reciprocate the kindness by offering lemons, cumquats and botanicals that could be made into more gin. The process led to a form of experimentation you don’t often see in the distilling business. And just because the results were ultimately delicious enough to form Taylor & Smith Distilling Co., the team never strayed from their handmade roots—to this day, not a single automated system is used to distill their spirits.

When it came to the company’s branding, identity and campaign strategy specialist Megan Perkins knew the look needed to reflect the care and beauty bottled in every batch of the duo’s spirits.

“For the identity we looked to Taylor & Smith’s approach to distillation, drawing upon traditional spirit bottle typographic references,” writes Perkins. “A bold, contemporary solution, conscious of its heritage, provides strong shelf presence and a flexible typographic system that could be easily adapted for new packaging and communication requirements.” The results were beyond successful, selling out the first two batches and raising nearly $34,000 via a Pozible campaign that helped launch the business in 2018.

When 2020 rolled around and COVID-19 hit Australia, resulting in lockdowns across the country, Taylor & Smith needed a new way to provide their customers with a delicious spirit experience. Again with the help of design mastermind Megan Perkins, the distillery launched a “sub-brand collaborative cocktail range” with local cocktail creatives Dier Makr. The collab provided an awareness and sales boost for Taylor & Smith.

“The familiar round typographic brandmark is shaken up in a playful, cocktail appropriate way,” writes Perkins. “We retain key brand characteristics of the bold palette and colored glass along with handmade qualities of waxed lids and rotary screenprinted branding. The solution is viable for small runs, has capacity to include a handwritten best before date and has high shelf impact.”

Taylor & Smith cocktails and spirits can only be shipped within Australia, which leaves this stateside writer longing for the days of 2019 when one could still plan a dream vacation down under. At least we have this gorgeous packaging design to admire in its stead.