Purple Creative designs responsive whisky website to create-your-own rare Glenfiddich

Purple has designed a customised retailing website for Glenfiddich to serve the luxury market and highlight the brand's new visual identity.

Purple Creative has just finished working on Glenfiddich Gallery, a responsive whisky website that allows malt lovers to create their own one-of-a-kind Glenfiddich.

Built by e-commerce development specialist The Constant Mediathe site allows users to buy some of the rarest Glenfiddich whiskies in the world as well as create and personalise their own luxury bespoke packaging.

Purple was responsible for all design aspects of the Glenfiddich Gallery programme, including the digital and print materials and advertising to support a launch event.

There are a range of rare and unique whiskies available on the website at launch, but many more will be added in time, with prices ranging from £390 to £100,000 - the most expensive being a 56 Year Old whisky with only three bottles available in the world.

“It’s been a real privilege to create the new Glenfiddich Gallery website” said Gary Westlake, Purple's founder and creative director. “In design terms, we started with a blank sheet of paper, but were inspired by the Malt Master Brian Kinsman’s laboratory, which is clean, contemporary and full of sample bottles – a really pioneering place to visit and spend time in. After creating the new visual identity for Glenfiddich, it’s been fantastic to be able to apply it to such a high profile and luxury channel.”

Purple has worked with Glenfiddich for over eight years, with highlights including the creation of the world’s first virtual distillery tour, a Visitor’s Centre in Scotland, multiple launches of new single malts, including the Glenfiddich 50 Year Old and 18 Year Old, along with their beauty imagery, and the previous visual identity in 2008.

Sarah Macaulay, Glenfiddich's global marketing manager, revealed there were several key objectives for the new identity, particularly the aim of embedding Glenfiddich into the world of luxury brands. According to Macaulay, Glenfiddich also wanted to ensure a strong global consistency for all consumer interactions and to harness the strength of brand 'equities' such as the pioneering spirit and family run nature of the business, in order to make the brand truly distinctive.

Elements to the project included evolving brand elements such as the stag icon and the Glenfiddich logotype, creating two new bespoke fonts. Purple also developed a new imagery style, a new colour system and luxury graphic embellishments, as well as a a new tone of voice for the brand.

“The luxury drinks sector has always been image-led, with the competition constantly raising the bar,” said Gary Westlake. “That’s why we wanted to reappraise and equip Glenfiddich with a brand world for the future. Understanding the brand and its history has allowed us to add real depth and rationale for our creative solutions. My personal highlight was having the chance to perfect the stag icon, one of the most famous brand logos in the world.”

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“Our stag icon is Glenfiddich’s strongest brand equity, and the best way to gain brand recognition,” said Glenfiddich's Sarah Macaulay. “It needed to be fit for purpose in a new era of global communications.”

Purple's Gary Westlake said the stag icon represents Glenfiddich’s provenance and the pioneering location in the Glen of Fiddich, Gaelic for ‘Valley of the Deer’, where the distillery has stood since 1887.

“It is also a key emblem of Scotland itself – representing pride and strength,” he added. “We looked at Glenfiddich’s use of the stag throughout history, the use of stags in the Gordon clan crest, and at the overall symbolism of the stag in art and literature. The stag first appeared for Glenfiddich in 1968, as a stylised version on bottles in the US, and proved so popular that a UK version was created. This UK version was based on the Monarch of the Glen painting by Sir Edwin Landseer.”

“Based on his antler points, the current stag is 8 years old, a young male within a herd,” continued Westlake. “We wanted to turn him back into a royal stag – a majestic 12 pointer, which denotes the alpha male, masculinity, power, confidence and maturity. We redrew the stag’s face to make him more anatomically correct – the antlers were too small for his body and the face looked slightly feminine. We also wanted to elevate the icon’s status – to ensure it wasn’t recessive within the overall brand logo.”

Purple created two versions of the stag icon, one for light and one for dark backgrounds. The new design strengthens the jawline, broadens the nose and raises the profile. Westlake said the new icon is active and energetic, and naturally dynamic. “The logotype was thinned out to make it more contemporary and we removed the Single Malt Scotch Whisky product identifier to simplify it and add an air of confidence,” he added.

“Our stag has the most brand recognition, so we wanted to elevate and maximise its presence wherever we could,” added Macaulay. “To that end, we gave designers and markets permission to allow the stag to ‘roam’ - appear on its own - within designs, elevating its status.”

The project also saw the development of two new bespoke Glenfiddich typefaces.

“Premium and luxury brands often have their own bespoke fonts, and apply a consistent typographic approach in all their communication,” said Sarah Macaulay. “We know our fonts should also embody our premium credentials, allowing us to deliver a rich, individual, crafted, masculine personality.”

Gary Westlake revealed that Glenfiddich only used one font in one cut for all its communications, which limited typographic applications.

“We approached this project in an unusual way,” he explained. “We wanted to create a storytelling, bespoke font, which gives depth and authenticity – one that was distinctive yet uniquely Glenfiddich. We immediately looked to William Grant, Glenfiddich’s founder, as the epitome of the brand’s pioneering spirit. We went through the company archives, looking at much of William’s early correspondence from his key pioneering years. We scientifically analysed William’s handwriting using graphology, hoping it would tell us more about the man.”

“Based on the insights from graphologists, we endeavored to capture William Grant’s personality in a type,” continued Westlake. “We created two bespoke fonts, for future use on all creative communications. One, clean and modern, will only be used for headlines, while the other has more personality, and will be used for body copy.”

“Glenfiddich Modern is a pioneering font fit for Glenfiddich now and into the future,” Walker explained. “Inspired by the Glenfiddich logotype, which has over 50 years of heritage, we’ve crafted a modern interpretation of its fine and sharp serifs and embodied it into a unique Sans Serif font. It is confident, clean, unique, premium and crafted. It has been inspired by the Glenfiddich logotype – using the recognisable serifs in a subtle way.”

The other typeface is Founder’s Script. “Like William Grant, this serif typeface is completely individual,” said Westlake. “Inspired by analysis of his handwriting, it captures and embodies the founder’s unique script characteristics and personality traits, like dynamism, imagination, innovation and confidence. We added unique letterforms to make the font more expressive and to bring out the character of the founder more. We also created a large range of ligatures to help add a handwritten script feel.

“Colour is one of the single most identifiable elements that aids brand recognition,” said Gary Westlake. We wanted to create colours that were authentic, relevant and story-telling, but most of all, differentiated the brand."

Purple looked back through 125 years of Glenfiddich’s history, to see which colours William Grant and the subsequent five generations of his family had used most consistently. The services of the Glenfiddich archivist, Paul Kendall, were enlisted to study all of the bottle designs, bottle labels, early advertising and distillery signage since 1887.

“Most of our competitors use black or white as the colours that best show off their ranges - it’s the conventional ‘language’ of luxury,” said Westlake. “We chose a copper colour palette, which we called Pagoda Copper, inspired by the second-hand copper stills that William Grant bought when he founded The Glenfiddich Distillery."

"We were also inspired by the constant care of the on-site coppersmiths, and the copper stag on the distillery’s pagoda roof. We also chose secondary colours of New Make White, which adds a fresh and contemporary feel, and Fiddich Stone, inspired by the slate and granite that was used on all of William Grant’s original warehouses.”

“This authentic and evocative colour palette represents Glenfiddich’s luxury credentials, and will play a vital role in shaping consumers’ perception of the brand,” said Sarah Macaulay. “It will be a defined brand colour palette, used for all core range communications, whether 12 Year Old or 18 Year Old, that will differentiate Glenfiddich from its competitors.”

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“The drinks sector is image-led, and so Glenfiddich needs top-class imagery to compete, reflect our brand credentials and achieve premiumisation,” said Sarah Macaulay. “Another key objective was to create imagery that will be globally consistent.”

“Glenfiddich had a somewhat inconsistent signature style,” said Westlake. “It had amassed a huge library of imagery over the years, all shot by different teams, in different markets, in different style and with different budgets.”

“Using the new Glenfiddich colour palette, we created a recognisable, memorable and premium image style that was fit for a modern brand.

“We created a harmony of copper across all our imagery, which instantly gave consistency, by either using a richer, warmer palette. For example, in a warehouse with the warmth of oak coming through, or a whiter, cleaner and more modern palette, balanced by copper.”

The project also included unveiling a new family of graphic embellishments.

“A strong luxury visual identity needs a recognisable graphic device, which can also be a flexible design asset for all our global markets,” said Glenfiddich's Macaulay. “Most luxury brands use graphic textural elements to create layering, tactility, attention to detail and imply craftsmanship.”

“Creating the graphic embellishments was a project within a project,” said Westlake. “Building on the core message of Family Run Since 1887, we assigned individual family members to each of the variants. We talked to the Grant and Gordon family members who still run Glenfiddich – and we have featured individual members from all generations in the stories.

The embellishments all highlight the unique features of each variant – whether the virgin oak of Rich Oak, or the unusually small stills used in the Glenfiddich 12 Year Old, which gives it a noticeably fresh and fruity flavour.”

A new tone of voice for Glenfiddich was also part of the overall rebranding.

“The Glenfiddich tone of voice should be distinctive, recognisable and unique,” said Sarah Macaulay. “Luxury brands ruthlessly express their personality in every aspect of their brand, including tonally. Up until now, different touch points have told Glenfiddich stories in different ways and in different styles. By writing in one style, what we say can become more engaging, more convincing and more trusted.”

“We wanted to create a tone of voice with depth and authenticity,” said Westlake. “We immediately looked to William Grant, Glenfiddich’s founder, as the epitome of the brand’s pioneering spirit. We used the results of our graphology research to get to the heart of who he was as a man, and captured William Grant’s personality in a brand tone of voice.”

“Three words sum up the new Glenfiddich tone of voice: Warm, proud & authentic,” he continued. “We created one of the most comprehensive tonal guidelines we’ve seen in the industry."

"It includes practical writing tips on how to make copy warm, proud and authentic, before and after examples of best practice copy and a tonal language bank that, like an image library, can be used by writers in all markets as their signed-off copy template."

"We also produced social media writing tips and brand tonal guidelines that focus on creating copy consistency - dealing with capitalisation, punctuation, hyphenation, naming conventions and numerics."

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