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Iterating whisky brand designs

Using data driven design to make multiple whisky brand concepts for a more diverse and untraditional audience.

For Springfield Spirits, I created branding, packaging and bottle concepts for a line of whisky that would be marketed towards a more diverse consumer group than traditional brands. The main aim was to destigmatize the presumption that whisky was only for old, rich, straight white men and could be enjoyed by everyone however they liked.

I personally loved working on this project for two reasons: Firstly, I'm always looking to make products more inclusive and bring them to a wider market. Secondly, this was an opportunity to use both data and empathy-driven design to really make an impact within an industry that by nature, is quite unapproachable. Considering the task at hand, I decided to approach this project with the double-diamond method. The first stage of this was the discovery and working out how to break people's presumptions about the whisky industry. I created lots of quick branding to see what would work and how different concepts would be viewed by survey participants.

Market Research Results
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Following this data, it was clear how to narrow the scope of design to a few brands that performed successfully such as Cowcoction. Unfortunately my personal favourite, Mixcraft, was one of the least successful concepts so this was dropped without further development. At this stage, Springfiled spirits had a few favourites that they wanted to develop alongside the data such as the brand Inverfiddich and The Devils Cut. This was due to the heritage that comes along with those brands, having them tie back to the location the whisky would be produced and a traditional industry term.

Whilst this did go against the brief, the clients were presented with the evidence to show the lack of reception for these concepts but the history became the winning factor for them over the data. After further exploration then refinement of the selected brands, further testing was done to explore the changes made to the concepts and how potential customers would react to them.

second survey results
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This study helped to outline some of the key details that people cared about regarding the developed brands and really assisted the further development and direction to move in. This time a more extensive analyses was given to Springfeild Spirits to further show the value of the research done. As this was signed off, the company started to file for the intellectual property regarding the brands being worked on. Unfortunately, there were issues with all brands chosen by Springfeild Spirits due the historical significance of the names chosen. This meant that without a legal battle, these names could not be used.

Whilst the main aim of the project was the escape this prestigious stereotype and create something really engaging, on this occasion the 600 year old industry fought back against the client resulting in the project grinding to a hault. Although this project could not progress further, I still loved being able to tackle such an interesting problem and have always found my mind wondering back to how I would approach the situation or pivoted to one of the original well performing brands.

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