This is a recent project where I was inspired to create drinks packaging inspired by some of the main characters from Angela Carter's novel Nights At The Circus.
After reading the book, I found myself torn by my admiration for Carter's joy and command of language and characters, but also disliking for most of them, and an ill-ease with the world of the circus beyond its aesthetics. I thought it would be interesting to give the cast of Nights At The Circus their own individual beverages to be the faces of...
Each drink is inspired by aspects of the character's personality, so for Sophie Fevvers, the Cockney Venus, winged-woman and star aerialiste, I thought a London Gin seemed like a good match. Fevvers hatched in London, she is a strong, flamboyant personality and not to everyone's taste, but wonderfully unapologetic about it all. She also seems to project a vain desire to come across as refined, so I took inspiration from champagne labels and Edwardian packaging, including the beautiful lid I found whilst doing some image research. The gold toned colour in the images is intended to mark where a metallic foil would be printed in production.
Buffo the Clown is a rather world-weary character, who eventually loses his mind after a life of drinking in the circus and turns murderous in the middle of the clown's performance. This takes place in St. Petersburg, so naturally, he had to have his own vodka label.
Jack Walser, the main viewpoint in the novel, and therefore most relatable character, also happens to stumble into the role of the tigress' dance partner for the tiger's waltz act via Clown Alley, which led to the idea of a dancing tiger, and I thought that sounded like a good name for a Pale Ale!
...and finally, Colonel Kearney, the Kentucky-born ringmaster of the circus with his psychic sidekick pig, Sybil, was perfect for a quirky bourbon, housed in a copper hip flask shaped bottle.
I had so much fun working on this project! I love designing labels. Let me know your thoughts, my social media handle is @hannahfarthing - I'd love to hear from you!
Disclaimer: All label artwork is my own. Mock ups on photographs of bottles and lids use images from the internet solely for the purposes of demonstration.