Makeover Challenge Concept Reveal: BrandDirections

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“The BrandDirections team made us think about the logos in a different way and other parts of our branding that you just don’t notice until someone outside points them out, “ Ellie Thomas, Makeover Challenge project lead and graphic designer at Huber’s Orchard and Winery, says. “They made sure that they were up to date on alcohol labeling and other practical parts of the business. They really did their homework.”



BrandDirections also visited Huber’s orchards and headquarters in Indiana, sought the expertise of bartenders who specialized in spirits both in Wisconsin and Kentucky, and took Thomas through a brand archetype exercise.

“Our president and owner, Kris Sexton, was constantly feeding us information on the craft distilled industry and what trends and things are going on out there,” Chip Ryan, creative director and brand strategist, recalls. "We also have designed many wine and distilled products before."

Lori Daun, creative director and designer, adds, “We also delved into books about the craft brewing industry and really got ourselves grounded for this particular project by tapping all the employees involved, especially anyone who would be a potential customer for a spirits product. We even had one employee, who was actually coming through Indiana, stop and talk to different retailers about Starlight.”

Sexton remarks, “That was a bit unexpected. While this employee was passing through Shelbyville [KY], which is in Huber’s regional area, she took pictures of products on the shelf and then she talked to the retailers. Although it was nothing very formal, that’s where like Lori said, we really found out there was a disconnect between the Huber name, which was well-known, and the Starlight Distillery, which was not known. We kind of picked up on that and made that as part of our recommendations.

“BrandDirections likes to take a big picture holistic approach to branding,” she continues, “taking into consideration the entire business structure and components particularly when we are working on a single brand that needs to fit within that system. We looked at the entire Huber organization as a brand and then focused on the Starlight Distillery brand logo. Although it was not part of the Makeover Challenge, we made some company-wide brand recommendations.”

One such recommendation was to ground the package design with a reference to the well-known Huber brand. Each of the redesigned labels prominently feature the Huber name in white on a dark colored bar, aptly called the Brand Signature.

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Above the Brand Signature is a Flavor Circle that holds all the product information. “We needed to include those terms that signal these are quality craft products,” Deborah Rice, art director and designer, explains, “such as copper-pot distilled, small batch and farm-to-bottle. We also wanted to play up the word artisan where we could.” Sue Geniesse, project manager, adds, “But we made sure that product flavors are the largest words on the label.”

Behind the Flavor Circle is a Flavor Pattern, which is a strong graphic pattern in a craft woodcut style—each a different pattern and color. At the top of the body label is the Brand Zone, which enables consumers and bartenders to quickly identify the brand on shelf.

But Thomas’ favorite part of the redesign lies on the neck. “We really


liked the hang tag idea,” she remarks. “We’ve been talking about trying to do that for a while, and we have a few neckers that we use now but I really like BrandDirections’ interpretation of the hang tag and how simple it is.”

Throughout the process, Thomas says, she enjoyed working with BrandDirections. Thomas felt the agency collaborated well and made extra efforts to be communicative throughout the process, and she appreciated its commitment to get to know its clients’ businesses well. Thomas also noted that working with BrandDirections will forever change how Huber looks at the scope of its work and how the brand is expressed throughout all of its products and sub-brands.



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You can cast your vote now for the BrandDirections concept at The agency with the most votes wins the challenge and will be featured in the December 2017 issue and invited to the 2018 BXP Live conference (, to be held at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa in Bonita Springs, FL, on February 26 to 28.