Uptown Liquor was a typical small liquor store in Portland, Oregon. The owners had a dream of making something bigger and better and had the opportunity to move into a retail space four times larger two blocks from where they were. Originally they just asked for our help with a simple update to their existing logo. They had wisely retained retail designer, Shelley Prael, to design the store and she realized that more than a simple logo was needed to make it the store the Randalls hoped for. By the end of the project, the work comprised a new logo, exterior signage, window artwork, a graphic treatment for the entrance and exit doors, wayfinding signage, interior wall graphics, as well as other needs that pop up during a rebranding effort—van design, coming soon graphics, and design work for the billboard above the store.
In addition to the logo update, the owners wanted to tell a story with the 70-foot run of windows that faces one of Portlands's busiest streets. We presented three concepts. The clients were especially keen on the photorealistic, multi-scene montages we offered: four windows for each product category—spirits, wine, and beer—to fill twelve windows with a logo display on the remaining window.
Shortly after we finished the window art, the client was thrown a curve ball and told they couldn’t use the name “Uptown” at the new store. So, in a town known as “Rip City” since the 1970s, “Sip City” became the name of the new location. All visual ties to the old store were jettisoned and we worked towards an interpretation of Shelley’s fun take on modern industrial design.
We tried several typographic approaches. In working with University Light Ultra Condensed, the “Y”in “City”suggested a sherry glass. Once we capped it and raised the baseline so it tucked up under the “P”in “Sip” we knew we had it. Shelley and the Randalls saw it and jumped right on it.
The employees and customers have enthusiastically embraced Sip City's visual branding. Sales have been extremely strong and Sip City has solidified their place as Oregon’s top retailer of spirits.