To understand the Rigel package design, we must first understand its backdrops: the extraordinary story of a canine whose name and deeds inspired this beverage.
Rigel was a Newfoundland dog belonging to First Officer Murdoch – one of the many victims of the Titanic tragedy that took place in the icy seas of North Atlantic on April 15, 1912.
After his owner sank to his death, Rigel swam in the ice-cold waters and found one of the lifeboats with weary passengers who managed to escape their terrible fate. The boat was drifting towards Carpathia, the rescue ship who came to the passenger's aid. However, the ship’s crew was on a collision course with the lifeboat which they couldn’t see in the dark.
The lifeboat passengers were in a state of shock and too exhausted to shout. Rigel barked loudly, alerting the Carpathia crew who avoided the collision and, eventually, saved the survivors.
Rigel package design is a tribute to the brave dog, whose portrait is found at the bottom of the bottle label, encircled and etched in copper tones.
Graphic Brands used this story of a dog’s gone-by heroics to create a rich tapestry of symbolism and details.
Within the squiggly lines and filigree waves of the label’s design, you will notice images of passengers’ recovered artifacts, the violin belonging to the legendary ship orchestra and a pocket watch, whose hands show the exact time the ship sank to its icy grave.
There are also the coordinates of the shipwreck integrated into the design. Furthermore, nautical elements are also included in the design, such as the Titanic's steering wheel and the ship’s onboard bell. The others are part and parcel of the traditional fleur-de-lis which was a staple iconography of European aristocracy for centuries.
Rigel package design uses several distinctive fonts that are, although mutually different, go well together.
The gin’s name, centered in big lettering, sits boldly at the heart of the design, surrounded by the arabesque of aforementioned details. Its serif font with added “hooks” in the middle, has a thick, dark blue outline and a copper filling, making the name stand out quite visibly.
The text that describes the flavor of the gin is located near the bottom of the label and uses a very elegant yet legible font in thin blue lines. The exact same typography is present in the word “Gin” signifying the type of beverage for the consumer looking for it on retail shelves.
Not counting the label’s white background, the Rigel package design relies on two main colors: dark blue and copper.
Combined with white, the illustrations’ thin blue lines convey the feeling of the ice-cold environment the protagonist found itself in.
While dark blue is quite prominent, the copper undertones are reserved for accent items and stylistic details, like the separator between the word “gin” and the description below. The illustration of a dog, the brand’s name and the compass are additional details that make use of the copper outlines.
This color combo forms a fine balance of tones that stand well against the transparent bottle and clear beverage inside.
Brands, in general, rarely tap into emotional events from the past as their central theme. Rigel is a welcome exception to the rule, having successfully combined the dog’s story of melancholy and comfort with the beverage’s content and qualities.
The bottle's imagery has its textual counterpart in Rigel’s tagline: “Lapping waves of natural botanical flavors. Sunken with notes of juniper and a hint of melancholy.” The unrepeatable patterns found in botany are clearly present in the larger part of this label design.
There is a continuity between Rigel Gin’s package design and its subject matter. The type of design used on this particular label was a norm for all beverage labels in the late Belle Epoque era whose end, curiously, overlapped, with this greatest seafaring tragedy of all times.
This positions Rigel as an unmissable product that carries a story that deserves to be told.
For its inventive take on a classic label design, and most importantly its bold and elaborate storyline, Rigel package design deservingly wins the DesignRush Best Package Design Award!