Emerging from the creative pool of the University of North Texas, Kristina Armitage is a promising talent stirring up the design world with her fresh perspectives. Winning a Gold in the New Talent 2023 Awards for her rebranding project for “Rowdy Tiger,” a whiskey bar and restaurant based in Atlanta, her work is a tasteful blend of playful sophistication and restrained elegance resurrecting the vibe of the roaring 20s. Under the watchful eyes of professors Ryan Bailey and Stephen Zhang, Kristina’s work exudes a deep understanding of brand aesthetics, color dynamics, and typography, taking a fun challenge and turning it into an award-winning design. The project showcases her design and technical skills in creating a unique whiskey label mockup. Learn more as she delves deeper into her innovative project and creative process below.
By: Kristina Armitage
Rowdy Tiger is an Atlanta-based, prohibition-inspired whiskey bar and kitchen that combines the free spirit of the roaring 20s with the comforts of Southern cuisine. The objective of this project was to redesign the brand in connection with the launch of the restaurant’s own whiskey. The spirit of Rowdy Tiger is lighthearted and playful, but it also has deep historical roots and a clear element of class. I wanted to create an identity that brings out the playfully sophisticated heart of the brand.
Finding this balance proved to be a fun challenge. I leaned on the color palette and the typography to help accomplish this. The muted, quiet colors that make up the base of the palette (faded black, beige, and deep green) are juxtaposed with a vibrant red-orange and a lighter salmon to bring the palette to life and create a more unexpected dynamic. The typefaces are also based on classic forms, but with subtle alterations that give them a funky, modern twist. The width and high contrast of the primary typeface are reminiscent of 1920s typography, but the sharp, chunky serifs give it a unique vibe that helps bring it into the present. Even in the logo, the twisted, “rowdy” form of the tiger is grounded within a clean, structured lockup. All of these decisions were made to strike the balance between a playful funkiness and a restrained sophistication.
Another more technical challenge was creating the mockup for the whiskey label. I had a specific idea of how I wanted the bottle to be shaped so that it would complement the label; rather than the traditional elongated, curved at-the-neck, almost vase-like form of a whiskey bottle, I wanted something more unexpected and rigid to go with the strict, almost modular composition of the type. In the absence of any existing mockups that fit what I had in mind, I found an existing bottle of whisky that was similar to my vision, removed the label, took photographs, and adjusted the proportions in Photoshop to get the desired result.
This was such a fun project to work on, and it pushed me outside of my stylistic comfort zone in many ways. Receiving the New Talent Award was a huge honor. It’s always encouraging to be validated as a creative and to see your work being recognized—especially when the work was genuinely so much fun to make. I am very humbled, thankful, and inspired to continue creating!
Kristina Armitage is a designer and illustrator currently based in New York. She graduated summa cum laude with a BFA in communication design from the University of North Texas in 2022 and has since been working as a visual designer for Quanta Magazine, a nonprofit online publication dedicated to science journalism.