Tonik may be new to the distilling world, but the families that are starting the company are certainly not. Brothers Rick & Randy Nixon have distilling in their blood. Nixon’s great grandfather spent the early 1920’s running rum, distilled by his family, to the thirsty people across the borders of Montana. Add to the party Master Distiller Robert G, who’s great grandfather spent his entire life crafting award winning wine in Italy, and you’ve got yourself a wealth of knowledge that can’t be bought. Together we crafted a brand inspired by Prohibition era Tonics & Liquor, bringing the wit and character of that era into a modernly relevant product line.
FICTION MEETS FAMILY
Pulling from the family’s history in prohibition distilling, I created a large suite of typographic marks and illustrations all inspired by the styling of that time period while making sure to maintain a modern relevance so the brand didn’t feel dated. While the 2 founding families didn’t know each other during that time, we decided it would be more interesting and engaging to imagine a timeline where they did. So we imagined a story where Great Grandpa Nixon met Great Grandpa Givelle and they started a distilling revolution together. This story made for the perfect foundation to build a tongue-in-cheek brand feel that would instantly make Tonik stand out.
WE PRESENT YOUR MIRACLE CURE
Inspired by the “Miracle Tonics” and high-proof liquor of the prohibition era, the brand suite consists of a multitude of marks that all pay tribute to an old-world style, while having a modern sensibility. Just like the cheeky sayings that would populate these “Cure-All” potions and tonics sold door to door, the illustrations and logomarks are accompanied by exaggerated claims and remedies like “Sent From the Heavens” & “Your Miracle Cure”. Blending this tongue in cheek sarcasm with the beautiful typography and illustration style of this era creates an extremely unique brand look & voice. The perfect balance of fun & class.
The Prohibition era was the birthplace of so many amazing and distinct styles that I wanted to develop a few different stylings for the main logomarks to live in. Each core logomark features 3 seperately styled versions that all have a unique look and feel. This allows for marks to be swapped out and provide a fresh vibe without losing their recognition.
OLD WORLD INSPIRED STORYTELLING
To give a better overview of the brand story we wanted to tell, while also showcasing some of the companies unique traits, I created a system of Old World inspired stamps and illustrations. Designed to be paired together or used on their own, these stamps create an engaging way to convey brand attributes while still being fun and beautiful to look at.
BREAKING THE VODKA SODA MOLD
The Vodka Soda market is flooded with samey cans that all look the same, use the same styling – and to be honest, lack a lot of soul. My goal with the Tonik vodka soda line was to use the brand story to our advantage and embed some more soul and character into the cans to help them stand out on store shelves. The brand voicing mixed with the unique brand styling in the space made for a beautiful toolkit to create something really special. Featuring full hand drawn illustrated patterns, and vibrant exciting colours – these cans stand out from the pack of “white cans with black text” that are constantly seen on store shelves.
To further integrate the “Cure-All” Tonic vibe, each Tonik product is equipped with a “Possible Remedies” banner that is designed to give people a chuckle and promote a relaxed vibe & spirit.
LIVE YOUR LEGACY
While the goal with the Vodka Soda lineup was to bring life, energy, and wit to that space – Legacy Vodka’s main goal was to promote it’s class and clarity. As Tonik’s first bottled spirit being distributed to stores we wanted to make sure the bottles looked clean, and gave a beautiful introduction to the brand to start building awareness in the market. Expanding the style that I established with the vodka sodas, I created a label that uses the clarity of the liquid to it’s advantage, while looking extremely classy.
My partners and I took on a huge project that had no business working out. That we made it out of the gate is due to the support, creativity, and general wizardry of Zach Silver. Zach was there for anything and everything our project needed, including marketing and business advice outside the realm of his contract. While we hired Zach because of his impressive portfolio and passion for design, we were completely unprepared for him to become one of the most influential people to touch our project. If I was thinking of doing another project, Zach wouldn’t just be a call, he’d be my first call (then the bank to beg for money).!
JESSE ROBERTS – CO-OWNER
Brand Photography by Dariynn Silver of Reflect Design Co. & Morgan Turner of MTurnerPhoto