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Dulwich Gin – Mosaic with a Twist

Another unique and collaborative label project delivered by Berkshire Labels and HP for Dulwich Gin and their design partners Silas Amos and Lisa Stillman.

Guy Bibi, workflow expert and variable data printing product manager at HP Indigo takes us on the entire journey right from the start through to the realisation of 10,000 unique labels.

As four friends from Dulwich, London, decided to enter the crowded premium Gin market, they asked themselves ‘How can we stand apart, and stand for something relevant?’

They contacted Art Director Silas Amos and Lisa Stillman and together decided to look for the area’s history. London Dry Gin came to prominence in the Georgian era – the same time that the Dulwich Picture Gallery (the world’s first public Art Gallery) was established.

Roaming the halls of the Dulwich Picture Gallery, they selected 5 paintings of which they extracted 6 figures from the Georgian era and decided to change their appearance to fit today’s modern culture.

To bring them into modern times, they decided to go outside.

Nowadays, Dulwich is a place with plenty of contemporary street art where the colours and the shapes were taken from. They selected 7 colours that will be used for all characters.

The design was set to convey and connect Georgian portraits from the Dulwich Art Gallery and re-mix them to the modern trends – in other words ‘Classic Georgian dry Gin meets modern London dry Gin’.

Every label was set to have 2 characters that will be picked randomly and apply the ‘colour shuffling’ scheme.

When combining the characters and colours together, the labels were requested to look like this:

Berkshire Labels were given the task of creating this, but were also presented with a couple of rules:

Each character should have different colours. This means that the first character gets 4 colour and the other one gets the remaining 3. The last colour can be taken from the first character as long as there is no overlapping between the characters

Purple colour can’t be applied on the character’s faces as it may be disturbing and can look a bit scary

Berkshire labels tried to create the request by using with HP Mosaic’s Shuffle Colours, but since HP Mosaic is Pseudo-Random – they could not apply rules.

HP Mosaic allows users to take the colours from the seed file and to do one of two things:

Shuffle the colours within themselves

Replace the colours with a new set

But since there is no way to tell shuffle colours where to place each colour – it was not a good fit.

Then Berkshire tried to use a database, but the rules required handling the database manually – and they were not successful in creating mass-production in that method.

They turned to the GBU for help.

To assist them, I created a “Database Generator” that tells each HP SmartStream Designer channel (the box containing variable data) which colour to use. The “Database Generator” is dynamic, and Berkshire were able to set as many colours as they wanted, change the arrays of the figures, select which colours can’t be used in certain areas and define how many “records” they wanted to create. The result was a “graphic database” which has all the rules applied and specifically tells HP SmartStream Designer to apply a coloured PDF in the correct place:

Berkshire labels created all the files using the “Database Generator” and printed more than 10,000 labels.

This is actually the first brand to use HP Creative Tools to create an identity, and not a time-limited campaign.

The campaign went to market just before the New Year, and we heard excellent comments from the brand and the retail outlet:

This is a great lesson for HP Indigo customers, and they should learn from it that nothing will stand between their requests and HP Indigo’s capabilities. Even if it is not a given solution – we will make sure to find the correct path to bring these dreams to reality.

The output, outcome and responds are worth it.

Images and Copy courtesy of Guy Bibi, HP Indigo