Alternative product, alternative type: Studio Makgill creates a font for Rogue Oat inspired by 70s milk cartons

Created on a limited budget – like the product it’s designed for – the typeface offers a fresh alternative to typical food and drink packaging.

Date
18 August 2022

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In the past few years, oat milk has had a shoot to stardom. With people becoming more conscious of what they consume, the milk alternative is now a staple on cafe’s menus and supermarket shelves. Designing a typeface that stands out amongst the crowd may therefore seem like a pretty daunting challenge, but it’s one that Studio Makgill has well and truly risen to. Being enlisted to create the identity for Rogue Oat, the newest Oat Milk brand fresh from the Cotswolds, the studio has designed a stylish and distinctively retro type that still feels effortlessly fun.

“Designing products for supermarkets is always an interesting challenge, because it’s such a visually loud environment,” says Hamish Makgill, founder and creative director of the studio. “You can either choose to shout louder or go in the other direction and let the design sit back.” As you can probably tell, the studio went with the foremost option and chose a strikingly “bold” aesthetic.

For inspiration, Hamish looked to his childhood growing up in the 70s and 80s. Milk advertising was “everywhere” and there was a “simple warmth to it”, he explains. Moreover, Hamish identifies that while the 70s may have been a politically challenging era, its exuberance and the rise of health foods has similarities to today’s milk-alternative led wellness movement. More generally, the rounded and retro bubbly typeface also has a distinct connection to popular 70s fonts, especially those featured on Oz Magazine and on gig posters from The Fillmore in San Francisco.

The studio is clearly always up for trying something new and this is reflected in their working practice. Since we last caught up with Hamish, he’s moved the studio from Brighton to Lewes; after lockdown, he realised how the studio’s location was longer so important. Now, it operates a hybrid model. Moreover, the studio has also implemented a four-and-a-half day week for everyone. “It’s not been difficult to introduce, and the benefits have been really noticeable,” Hamish adds.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the whole project is (quite surprisingly) how small of a budget it was completed on. “There are always obstacles when working on a limited budget,” Hamish details, “but the trick is to turn those obstacles into opportunities.” Being a small studio, Hamish says that, usually, the team loves collaborating with other creatives, but on such small-budget projects they turn to the skills of the permanent staff. Throughout the project, the only aspect collaborated on was the charming series of illustrations of farmers from Form Play. With the team having such a history of experience with typefaces, the final Rogue Rounded font is a truly dynamic one – it has the ability to go really large with the Shadow version, as well as use single characters. Its Bounce version is also particularly impressive, as the team had to write a script with the type so that it knew how to alternate between letters. “It was really satisfying to get that working,” Hamish concludes.

GalleryStudio Makgill: Rogue Oat (Copyright © Studio Makgill, 2022)

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Studio Makgill: Rogue Oat (Copyright © Studio Makgill, 2022)

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About the Author

Olivia Hingley

Olivia joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.

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