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Uncompromising ambition is key to success

Gary Dawson of Pocket Rocket Creative discusses the company's commitment to challenging convention by creating uniquely crafted products for every client

Gary Dawson Pocket Rocket Creative

1. You recently won World’s Best Design Agency in the World Whiskies Awards 2016 – tell us what the award means for the company and why you think it is deserving of the coveted title?

It certainly means a lot to the business - when we first won the award in 2014, we attracted a lot of interest from potential clients, some of which we have now converted into long-term business, ensuring we can deliver quality designs for years to come. From a creative perspective, we spend a long time crafting our designs and we are hugely proud of our work, so to receive such an award when so many esteemed and often very large agencies are involved is extremely pleasing.

2. Give us a brief history of Pocket Rocket and an overview of your work and clients in the spirits sector.

PRC was founded in May 2007 and our aim was simple: deliver exceptional, hard-working creative which isn’t diluted by internal agency processes and bureaucracy, something we had encountered at our previous agency, prior to setting up the business. We currently work with a number of drinks businesses including Edrington, Isle of Arran Distillers, Tomatin Distillers, Burn Stewart, now known as Distell and Douglas Laing to name a few. Our style really tends to change, depending on what client/project we are working on at the time but we always strive to deliver creative work that surpasses our clients’ expectations.

3. What do you think differentiates the products you design from others on the market?

A large part of our success is probably attributed to our uncompromising ambition to create uniquely crafted packaging for every client – ensuring each has its own character and identifiable style. We never opt for the easy route and we are committed to challenging convention. Technical knowledge, when producing these is essential too, ensuring what we present as concept are feasibly deliverable as a finished piece.

4. You entered Ledaig Dusgadh 42 Years old which won a gold and bronze medal in the World Whiskies Awards. What do you think made this bottle stand out from the others? Please describe the design brief and how you executed this.

Interestingly this project started as a 40 year old, the client had been using another agency to produce the pack but decided at the last minute the pack wasn’t premium enough for what they were trying to deliver on. The brief to us was to make the pack look as premium as possible for the price point so the consumer knew they were buying something extremely special, which had taken time to craft, very much like the liquid in the bottle itself. We tried to ensure the highest quality materials were used throughout, ensure the quality of the pack shone through. We also incorporated a small keepsake into the pack, a copper card, which was cut from the actual still that produced the liquid all those years ago, which you see in the pack today.

5. How important do you think the packaging / label design is to the success of a product and why?

It depends who you speak to. Afficionados will tell you that packaging is irrelevant and for them, it’s all about the liquid - this is true to an extent and it really doesn’t matter if a whisky is presented in an old milk bottle – if the dram is good, that’s all that matters. For most of us – the masses, packaging is a way of displaying our lifestyle to our peers. It’s no different to our choice of brands for shoes, watches or cars. It says something about me and the brand I associate myself with. For a brand or product, tapping into this insight is key to its success.

6. Where and how do you see future growth for your business?

We are quite a small experienced business and we have deliberately kept ourselves compact, ensuring none of our work is compromised. Going forward, we want to ensure we keep delivering hard-hitting packaging, which keeps attracting both clients and consumers alike.

7. What exciting new projects can we look forward to seeing on shelf in 2016?

We are currently working on quite a lot of exciting packaging projects so you will be seeing a number of new work from us in 2016 -  we can’t divulge details just yet, but we hope you won't be disappointed.

4 May 2016