Creative Agency: Cue
Creative Director: Alan Colvin
Designer: Matt Erickson, Nick Brue
Project Type: Produced, Commercial Work
Client: Whyte & Mackay, John Barr
Location: Minneapolis, MN USA
Packaging Contents: Spirits
Packaging Materials: Glass Bottle, Paper Label

John Barr was an award winning Scotch whisky from times past, but the packaging lacked quality cues. Owned by Whyte & MacKay, the John Barr brand asked Cue to redesign in preparation for a re-launch, with new design and improved spirit.

Our proposition “Tradition Forward” inspired a new design for John Barr Reserve (black) and Finest (red) Blends. With a Tradition Forward approach, we evolved the bottle silhouette and retained color references, but pushed the brand boldly forward, embodying a more forward-looking expression to stand apart on shelf.

In the 20th Century, John Barr was widely known in his homeland as a first class whisky man. Traveling the globe as an ambassador of his country’s signature spirit, John Barr is renowned for bringing a richer style of blended Scotch whisky to the world. His namesake whisky honors this legacy, raising expectations once again.

John Barr Reserve Blend is a newly awarded Scotch whisky, having earned its place as the ultimate blended Scotch whisky in its category and price tier at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2016. The new brand aimed to support this premium position with a new design. Adding “Since 1881” on the bottle pays homage to Whyte & MacKay’s longstanding whisky credentials. A newly crafted brand expression incorporates a wordmark and monogram along with refined label treatments that balance traditional whisky cues with a more relevant, modern premium expression.

John Barr Finest Blend is the second Scotch in the brand’s portfolio, utilizing the same architecture of elements with its own bold brand color (red).

A variety of applications, from website to point of sale were created to launch the new John Bar brand. “Raise expectations” was used to communicate to those familiar with the brand, or not, that John Barr is worth serious consideration as a newly refined product. The website is expressly simple and premium, using bold color and imagery, both as a backdrop to stage the product and to make a strong brand statement. For the new expression, a new set of brand elements was created, including wordmark, monogram, signature, simple color palette and typography.

The new brand is expressed borrowing from tradition, but boldly moved forward to stand apart.