Launched in 2016, in part as a response to over-consumption of sugary and sweetened beverages, Ugly Drinks is a range of unsweetened, naturally flavoured sparkling water available in the UK and soon to be available in the U.S.. Ugly Drinks recently partnered with Green Park Brands (the team behind organic chickpea puff brand, Hippeas) as part of a newly completed funding round that will give the Ugly team the resources to develop and grow the Ugly brand, including a new logo and packaging designed by the London, UK office of Jones Knowles Ritchie (who also designed Hippeas).
Ugly Drinks exists as a healthy alternative to the sugar loaded fizzy drinks category – but we believe that healthy doesn’t need to be boring. Channeling the rebellious spirit of the founders, we created a brand that points out the Ugly Truth and says the unsayable, but still leaves you with a smile on your face. A provocative identity with an unfiltered tone of voice creating a legitimate alternative to the big dog competitors.
Stephen McDavid, design director, JKR
The old logo had definitely captured the ugly aesthetic with a Flintstones-esque wordmark that was somewhat interesting and looked good in the old packaging (image of that further below) but it was definitely not a fun or engaging logo; it felt more like the logo for a nonprofit organization bringing water to underdeveloped parts of the world. The new logo is a fantastic combination of attitude and style with the “U” of the name bringing an ugly attitude as a tongue defiantly stuck out but rendered in a super stylish, fun, market-friendly wordmark (finessed with utmost care by Rob Clarke). The tongue-U is also used on its own as the brand’s icon and it works surprisingly well — probably the best use of a stuck-out tongue since the Rolling Stones — floating against blue backgrounds or stuck to anthropomorphic fruits with an attitude problem.
The illustration style is great, with thick, harsh strokes unifying the logo and the authority-figure-challenged pieces of fruit. How awesome and non-politically-correct is it that the mango is wielding a bat? (It is clearly not to play baseball, it looks like it’s gonna go all Clockwork Orange on some unsuspecting chelloveck.)
We already had a really powerful name and product, but we needed a brand that we could take to the masses to really get our message out there. We wanted to truly define our purpose and create a brand that people would be happy to be seen with – rather than a healthy badge of honour. The new identity we created with JKR does just that, perfectly positioning us to spread the Ugly Truth on a global level.
Hugh Thomas, co-founder, Ugly Drinks
The old packaging was somewhat interesting in the texture it achieved and the large logo worked well but it felt like it was trying too hard to look ugly yet still like something fun someone would want to grab off the shelves. The new cans take advantage of their kick-ass logo and simply emblazon it large across the vibrant light blue brand color. The flavor names are the one slightly odd thing in the project, with a hard-edged speech bubble holding the names; it sort of breaks the carefree attitude with a very controlled, neatly aligned design element. Still, it’s a cool can and it also introduces Rodger, a chunky rounded sans serif with great personality, as the brand font.
The 6-packs are super fun as well, with more tongues, fruits, and bold colors adorning all sides but keeping a minimalist aesthetic (without having that un-designed feel).
Between the characters, the quirky font, and the attitude to spare, the identity extends great into any kind of application, from posters to stickers and gives Ugly Drinks the potential to become a well-known brand, possibly one of those cult-faves that transcend from product to lifestyle brand — I would wear that ugly cap in a heartbeat.