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FIG rebrands Ketel One Vodka using hand-drawn doodles with animation from Niceshit

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Niceshit: Ketel One Vodka characters

New York-based studio FIG has developed a new brand identity for Ketel One Vodka by Barcelona-based studio Niceshit featuring doodles of a cast of eccentric characters. These characters developed by FIG and Niceshit aim to give an animated effect as though they had been doodled on a cocktail napkin and had spontaneously sprung to life. 

They depict a toga-clad artist’s model quaffing a cocktail, a group of happy drinkers celebrating a cocktail-mixing parachutist, a beret-topped gentleman toasting a shrub, and many other amusing scenes revolving around vodka.The intention of the rebrand, led by FIG, and illustrated by FIG head of Design Max Friedman, was to create a cast of interesting characters and personalities to send the message that everyone is welcome in the Ketel One universe. Fig Chief Creative Officer Scott Vitrone says, “Anyone can look at one of our ambiguous characters and put themselves in their shoes – even if those shoes are on a person suspended by balloons dropping a lime into a Dutch Mule.”

In order to create something “distinctive and own-able”, Niceshit developed a bespoke brush in Photoshop – a “pencil-style line with all sorts of human imperfections meant to mimic a hand-drawn stroke, that varied depending on the pen inclination and pressure,” a release about the project reveals.

The challenge of the project was bestowing each character with an immediately readable attitude and personality through minimal physical characteristics, be it a moustache, wristwatch, hairstyle or hat. “Nothing too distracting or overbearing, but enough to help make a distinction, create a diverse realm of characters, and allow for endless possibility for iterations,” the release continues.

Vitrone adds, “We weren’t inspired by or taking cues from The New Yorker, but it does have a timeless feeling like The New Yorker. The illustration style does an incredible job of distilling an idea down to its simplest form and using very few lines to tell a larger story.”

Niceshit decided to animate each of the drawings using fewer frames per second than normal to make the animation feel more approachable and handmade. Timing was a key part of the project to make sure that there was space to get to know the characters and for the gags to land. Nice shit indeed.