Jim Kennelly’s bottle for Foxtrot and The Violet Hour’s whisky celebrates the history of Chicago
Digital corner store and delivery service Foxtrot have partnered with Chicago’s artisanal cocktail bar The Violet Hour to devise a whisky blend of Kentucky straight bourbon. Tasking Milwaukee-based multi-disciplinary creative Jim Kennelly to help tell their story, the resulting identity is one referential to The Violet Hour’s pre-prohibition-style attitude to whisky, while being fundamentally celebratory of the liquor’s hometown of Chicago.
Finding its graphic voice through vintage printed materials, such as newspapers and liquor labels, Kennelly’s typographically-led identity and bottle design demonstrates creative strength in the nonchalance of its aesthetic. Combining characterful illustration and tender typography to create something both familiar and visually distinct.
Discussing the influence from vintage newspapers, Kennelly tells us that knowing the solution was going to be typographically focused, “we had to create a look that allowed us to give consumers multiple points of information as quickly as possible,” Kennelly explains. “We immediately were drawn to the idea of treating this as a sort of tabloid,” he adds, “using headlines and visual hierarchy to tell consumers what they need to know through an editorial format,” noting the aesthetic reference to America’s prohibition era.
With this in mind, Kennelly opted for Epoque Black as the primary typeface alongside Agipo Bold Condensed for the secondary headlines, with the editorial-esque construction of both lending themselves to the overarching chosen aesthetic.
“Once we landed the editorial style, we explored many colour directions,” Kennelly recalls, “we were hoping to do something unexpected and poppy,” he adds, before ultimately returning to the brand’s original strategy. “It had to work well on the shelves of Foxtrot,” Kennelly explains, “but it also had to feel at home in the low light of The Violet Hour,” he notes, detailing the latter as a Michelin star establishment. Needing to therefore feel both friendly and premium, Kennelly recalls the decision to implement a more traditional editorial palette, “allowing the focus to be on the story,” he concludes, “and not on crazy colour choices.”