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About hiredguns

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    Vancouver Island
  • Interests
    Providing bad-ass branding and packaging design for distilleries, breweries, and wineries.

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  1. hiredguns

    Hello from Oregon

    Hi @kelbor & @JustAndy - we're grateful for the shout-outs! Thanks to the distilleries you guys reporsent, we've got twice as many distillery clients in Oregon than any other state. Would love to go for a hat-trick, if anyone's up for it ;-) Cheers!
  2. hiredguns

    Round and round in Pennsylvania

    Hi Jessica, I can help with info on pricing for the design side of things: branding, packaging design and brand collateral design. You'll find everything from the local, generalist design shops who will quote fairly low rates for this type of work to specialists (such as ourselves) to very large specialists in large, swanky offices in large cities who will quote you 6 figures +. Let me know if I can help provide more concrete figures for you. Cheers!
  3. hiredguns

    Southern California

    Hi Roger, Welcome to the forum! I'm relatively new here myself. If/when you get to the point where you're starting to think about branding / packaging design for your distillery, please don't hesitate to get in touch! Cheers!
  4. hiredguns

    How did you come up with the name your product?

    Is my opinion there are seven essential qualities of a great name: • Meaningful – communicates the essence of the brand, supports the image that the distillery wants to convey • Distinctive – unique, easy to remember, spell, pronounce; differentiated from the competition • Future-oriented – accommodates change in the structure or focus of the distillery • Modular – facilitates easy building of brand extensions • Protectable – can be owned and trademarked; the domain name is available • Positive – has positive connotations in the relevant markets and doesn’t have negative connotations • Visual – well-suited to graphic presentation (logo, text, etc.) When we name products for our clients, we run all the possibilities through this list of criteria to weed out the weak choices.
  5. I want to give a shout-out to one of our clients, Arbutus Distilling, who just opened their doors for business this past week. I don't believe they're active on this forum, (although maybe they are and I just haven't come across them yet.) They're based in Nanaimo, BC (on Vancouver Island) and they launched with their first product, Coven Vodka. They are going to be following that up with a gin called The Empiric and an absinthe called Baba Yaga. The packaging design for the absinthe has yet to be released but it's even crazier than the first two. We provided product naming, consultation on glass, and packaging design services for them and they've been a great client to work with! During their start-up phase Arbutus made two interesting choices on how to approach their product lineup: 1. play down the overall distillery brand in favour of creating unique names/brands for each of their products. 2. create prototypes of the products and push those images out into the world as early as possible to build buzz around the products before the distillery was open for business. From our end, this allowed us incredible freedom to create innovative brands with depth to them... brands that were designed to compete within their product categories (vodkas vs. vodkas, gins vs. gins, etc.) It also gave us time to push those designs out into the design community and the alcohol manufacturing community. Their vodka won a couple of major international packaging design awards in the months leading up to its release and the gin is gaining buzz as well. Initial feedback from their sales reps indicates that their vodka looks like it'll be a hit. One other tidbit that might be of interest is their approach to glass. They decided to put all three products in the same bottle. This gave them an advantage when it came to buying glass because they could order a larger quantity. We suggested that they spray the glass - white for the vodka, black for the gin - and leave the absinthe bottles clear (because the colour of the liquid itself is so much fun.) This approach to glass helps avoid a feeling of homogeneity when you look at their product line. And there's no end of colours that can be used to spray bottles, so the sky's the limit when it comes to new products that they may release down the road. We wish them the best of luck in the next phase of their journey and look forward to working with them for years to come!
  6. hiredguns

    How did you do your distillery website?

    Huh... interesting. My experience with the current Squarespace templates has been just the opposite... I find them to be fully responsive and consistent across the various browsers. And re. the larger point... I totally agree with you. I wouldn't push people toward Squarespace if I didn't believe their platform was up to the task.
  7. hiredguns

    Conference Presentations - available yet?

    I'd be interested in these too. I was so busy at my booth that I barely had time to eat lunch those two days, let alone duck out to catch any of the presentations.
  8. hiredguns

    How did you do your distillery website?

    Yeah, Squarespace is fantastic. Responsive out of the box. Get some great photography of your products, people, and facilities and pop that into one of their templates. Adjust the colour scheme to match your brand. Can't go wrong. And yeah... Serpent Cider was on the DieLine a little while back
  9. hiredguns

    How did you do your distillery website?

    Website design is a service that we offer. (We actually started out as a purely web design company.) But honestly, we’re slowly getting out designing and building websites. There are so many great tools that let Joe Public create very slick sites with no training and they’ve cheaper than they’ve ever been. Squarespace is at the forefront of this, IMO. Essentially, the bottom is falling out of the web design market. There will always be organizations that need large, custom sites. But for smaller sites… well... designers and developers just aren't needed any more. I’d say you should avoid anyone who quotes you more than $3k for a site these days. They probably have a set platform that they like to work with and they probably like to work with it because they work with it. (Most web shops aren’t eager to explore new tools as they come available.)
  10. hiredguns

    How do I ship direct to customers?

    Up here in Canada, Purolator seems to be a popular choice among the BC wineries for DTC shipments. Also, once you're up & running with the DTC, you should look at the "Wine Club" model that a lot of wineries use. Get customers to sign up for a regular shipment (monthly, quarterly, bi-annually... whatever.) Works out well for the wineries... gives them regular, recurring income that they can count on and the cost of each sale drops significantly after that first Club shipment is processed. There are some great website options for handling the ecommerce and order fulfillment part of the equation.
  11. Good advice about the glass. (+1 on the French comment). Having to warehouse a larger quantity of labels isn't nearly as much of a (space) issue as storing a large quantiy of glass. I'd suggest doing the full run of labels in one order. The printers are going to want to run the labels just once and probably won't be interested in storing the extras and shipping them to you on a regular basis. (At least that's been my experience with printers.)
  12. Hey Dave! Greetings
  13. Not sure if anyone here is marketing gluten-free products... if you are, this might necessitate a change in how you're labelling your products: http://www.thespiritsbusiness.com/2014/02/ttb-issues-new-gluten-free-labelling-policy/
  14. hiredguns

    Frequency of label redesigns

    I'm curious... How often do distilleries redesign their products' labels? (I'm talking about major redesigns here... not just minor tweaks.) In the case of products sold in boxes (like whiskies), my question would extend to the design of the boxes. If you've been through a packaging redesign, what sort of results did you see from it? Cheers!