Never Now produces an elegant typographic identity for small-batch Australian whisky Hillwood
Hillwood is a single malt, single cask, small-batch Australian whisky. It’s made at Tamar Valley Distillery on the banks of the Tamar River in Northern Tasmania using water tapped from a natural Permian age glacial spring. Gently filtered through rocks deposited over 250 million years ago, the water is some of the cleanest in the world and is packed full of essential minerals.
The distillery is run by the locally born-and-raised Herron family, with Paul acting as the Master Distiller with support from his triplet sons: Daniel, Joel and Oliver. Their first release, Hillwood, is named in tribute to the town of the same name in which they’re based. The small rural location is home to a pure, nature-loving community and an abundance of clear air and water.
Melbourne-based studio Never Now worked closely with the Herron’s to develop the visual identity and packaging for the first Hillwood whisky, a 60-62% ABV Single Malt produced in a limited run of 216 bottles. The result is as elegant and thoughtful as the whisky itself, with a level of craft reflective of the distillation process.
At the core of the identity is a custom serif wordmark, which Never Now Creative Director Tristan Ceddia explains “comes from a tweaked Adobe system font”. It’s embossed onto the bottle label in front of a light grey ‘HH’ monogram, which combines the Hillwood and Herron initials to create three vertical strokes representative of the triplets, connected by one horizontal stroke for their father. The labels themselves are a laid paper stock, chosen to “avoid any gimmicks or fancy finishes, keeping them clean and pure like the whisky”.
For the accompanying typography, Never Now developed a compressed version of Bretagne’s Self Modern, a sophisticated serif inspired by a traditional Japanese font known as ‘Mincho’. Ceddia adds that “Self Modern is one of the most elegant typefaces around. I wanted to give it slightly different energy with some compression.”
Moving onto the design of the bottle itself, he reveals that “as the whisky is produced in such small numbers, it didn’t make sense to produce a commercial quantity of custom bottles”. Instead, they “scoured the market for what was available, settling on a bottle with clean lines and a nice weight to it. The bottle tops are timber with a cork plug. The timber varies in shade and grain, adding to the handmade feel of the bottle”.