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In-Depth

JKR Designed this Soda to be Way More than Just a Beverage

by Theresa Christine Johnson on 12/19/2017 | 4 Minute Read

Ugly Drinks isn’t just a line of beverages with attitude—it’s a lifestyle that thinks bigger than soda. Jones Knowles Ritchie (JKR) took a different approach to the branding, envisioning Ugly Drinks as a street wear brand. JKR told us a little more about developing Ugly Drinks, from giving it a unique voice to staying consistent throughout the design, and more.

What was one of the biggest goals you set out to achieve with Ugly Drinks packaging and how did you accomplish it?

JKR: We set out to expose the Ugly Truth to the world, starting with the sugar loaded soda category.

We wanted to create a healthy brand that didn’t play by the rules. Through early discussions with the two founders of the brand we soon realised they are rebels with a cause so we created a brand that was full of attitude but always leaves you with a positive feeling.

The illustrations with this project are really fun! How did you develop them?

JKR: In collaboration with “Hide Your Toys” we developed a provocative yet playful style that could support our mission. It gives us the ability to tell stories beyond our product attributes and they can say the unsayable.

How did you design Ugly Drinks to transform it from just a product to more of a lifestyle?

JKR: We made a conscious decision to think bigger than soda. For example we approached the merchandise as if it were a genuine street wear brand rather than just branded clothing. Sticker packs were created to give our Ugly Mob the ability to call out the BS in the world. Also, we used social media to play a key role in spreading the Ugly Truth.

What was the most challenging part of this project?

JKR: Making sure the brand felt consistent across touch-points but also not predictable. The hardest part was creating an authentic brand that would tell it like it is but still remain positive and aspirational.

If you could pick one aspect of the finished design that you like the most or feel especially proud of, what would it be and why?

JKR: I think we managed to create a healthy alternative to the mainstream sodas that doesn’t feel like a compromise. A brand that is ultimately a challenger but doesn’t act like one. Ugly is now not only visually distinctive but has a clear point-of-view on the world and tells it like it is across every touchpoint.

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