In 2014, the Morrison family, owners and operators of Whisky brands in Scotland for over a century, began work on a new distillery in Glasgow. The first of its kind to be initiated in the city in over 100 years, the Clydeside Distillery was envisioned as both a distillery and visitor centre. With a clear vision to revive distilling in Glasgow and tell the story of Scotland’s greatest export, Manual was commissioned to work closely with the founders, architects, and experience designers over a three year period to craft a brand that both the city and the family could be proud of.
The siting of the distillery played a significant role in shaping the brand identity and the facility itself. Located at the mouth of the River Clyde and originally built in 1877, a historic clock tower and pump house that provided hydraulic power for the Queen’s Dock and its swing-bridge formerly occupied the site. It was closed in the late sixties and subsequently in-filled to create the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre site. Incredibly, it was discovered that a Morrison three generations prior had been a contractor on the project, providing a strong family connection to the place and deep roots. Historically the port supported shipbuilding and trade of an enormous variety of goods around the world—which of course included copious amounts of Scotch whisky.
After multiple site visits and immersive research into the history of the River Clyde and the city of Glasgow, we developed a creative strategy linking the past with the present that helped tell the story of the relationship between whisky and the history of the site. The brand identity and experience we built references the shipping industry and strikes a careful balance between the dichotomies of history and modernity, and industrial and elegant design. At the core of the identity is the Clydeside type family, a custom designed headline font a used through all brand touch-points and communications, that creates an instantly recognizable and distinct voice for the brand. The typeface is backed by a monogram and palette of color-split combinations, a design influenced by the markings and colors of ship hulls.
The historical and industrial influences of the surrounding area deeply influenced the architectural vision, informing everything from the contemporary glass-box structure of the new distillery in juxtaposition with the historic brick clocktower, literally bridging the past with the present, and providing stunning views of the River Clyde at the same time. The copper stills sitting proudly on display are currently producing a high quality Lowland single malt Scotch whisky—though it will be three years before the distillery can call officially call it that. On the visitor experience side, we worked with designers Bright 3D to bring the identity to life ultimately developing activities and experiences including wayfinding and a ‘label-your-own’ Whisky station to allow visitors to leave the distillery with a customized and gift-able dram.
Interior architecture and exhibition design: Bright 3D