Design: & SMITH
Location: United Kingdom
Project Type: Produced
Client: Black Lines
Product Launch Location: Global
Packaging Contents: Alcohol

Black Lines, the expert in premium cocktails on tap, unveils a new brand identity developed in partnership with London-based branding agency & SMITH.

Previously known as Hingston + Co., Black Lines is on a mission to change people’s preconceptions of how cocktails are served and experienced, delivering a selection of premium draught cocktails to exacting standards, from classic recipes to more creative serves.

Exacting standards, consistent quality
Challenging deep-seated conventions in the drinks industry that suggest each cocktail must be handcrafted in front of the drinker, Black Lines has devised a groundbreaking method of delivering an exceptional – and consistent – serve on tap.

In contrast to traditional processes, Black Lines focuses on delivering fantastic cocktails at speed without compromising on the quality of ingredients or complexity of serves. For them, the serve is everything. It’s meant partnering with fantastic independent distilleries and seeking out the best ingredients in the market, all while continuously refining their recipes and processes to deliver perfectly balanced and uncompromised serves.

Kuleen Khimasia, Co-Founder, Black Lines, says: “We want to shake up the category and introduce great cocktails to spaces where drinkers otherwise didn’t expect them to exist or where they couldn’t be executed well enough.

“& SMITH delivered a powerful, more contemporary identity that mirrors the artistic and scientific innovation behind each serve, with the energy needed to revolutionise the cocktail industry and challenge drinkers’ preconceptions.”

The meeting of art and science
To reframe the brand for a more mainstream audience, & SMITH introduced the name Black Lines, taking inspiration from Kandinsky’s revolutionary abstract painting of the same name, representing the beginning of a new era of art.

Finished in a modest black and white colour palette, the result is an eye-catching, elegant brand that brings together both art and science, showcasing the premium ingredients and craftsmanship in each individual serve.

Simple, balanced, confident
Rachel Smith, Creative Partner, & SMITH, says: “Recently the cocktail industry – once steeped in tradition and ritual – has begun to open up to more innovative serving methods, from canned drinks to unusual food pairings. Black Lines pushes this even further, with premium draught cocktails letting people order an Espresso Martini or Negroni at the bar as fast as a pint.

“But cocktail connoisseurs will always need convincing that on tap is as good as the more traditional techniques, so we introduced a new brand that is simple, balanced and confident. Original illustrations are rarely used in the spirits industry and give a fun yet elegant look and feel, appealing to a wide range of potential drinkers.”

& SMITH delivered a full rebrand for Black Lines, including strategy and repositioning, a new logo, tap badges, labelling, website design and printed materials such as business cards and sales packs.

What’s Unique?
This confident and impactful strategy is brought to life through collaborations with nine illustrators, each commissioned to craft a bespoke piece for a specific cocktail. Each artwork celebrates the art of cocktail making, each cocktail and the illustrator’s style.