Ragged Edge’s identity for East London Liquor Co. strips away the pretension of craft spirits
Developed over the course of 2020, the London-based branding agency totally overhauled ELLC’s existing aesthetic, crafting a bespoke wordmark and a custom supporting sans-serif in collaboration with NaN. Within these letter sets are ‘found letters’; alternative glyphs to individual letterforms that were reappropriated from graffiti and ephemera located around the distillery, providing a dose of character and expression to a stoic, refined typographic lock-up.
Creative Director at Ragged Edge, Matt Smith, tells us that “ELLC has always stood for great quality at great prices,” explaining that their strategy consisted of remaining contrary to “crafty bullshit,” and the accompanying extortionate price tag. Mirroring these principles, Smith clarifies that the subsequent branding was required to be “simple, punchy, and to demand attention,” acting as “the antithesis of the fiddly detail that ‘craft’ is often synonymous with in the spirits category.”
The graphic elements of each bottle, such as colour and abstract shapes, were determined and inspired by the individual spirit the bottle houses, for example using the distillery chimney to influence the design of the gin bottle. “The gin is sort of the original icon of ELLC,” Smith recalls, “so using the iconic chimney from the distillery, right next to the greenery of Victoria Park felt right.”
This sentimentality is also seen in the use of the River Thames on their Vodka bottle, representative of their relationship to the spirit. “ELLC make their own grain spirit (their vodka), and it’s at the heart of most of their products,” Smith explains, “so representing the river through the heart of London felt like a nice metaphor.” The passion shown by ELLC is also reflected in Ragged Edge’s approach; undertaking an ambitious project, with lots of moving parts and prominent principles to abide by. The result is an exciting brand that is understated without being boring or minimal – and successfully steers clear of an overdone, ‘crafty’ aesthetic.