Whisky Reimagined with Steven Bonner


Eat Your Words: Whisky Reimagined with Steven Bonner

Wednesday August 12th, 2015 by Extensis

Not Our First Food & Type Rodeo

We love whisky (and whiskey), and we love typography. So when we stumbled across the breathtaking illustrations of Ballantine’s 12 Year Old Scotch Whisky tasting notes by Scotland-based designer and illustrator Steven Bonner, we poured ourselves one, and typed up a list of burning questions for this food and type creative.

Whisky Reimagined with Steven Bonner
Clementine and Oak; Ballatine’s Scotch Whisky


As this is the second installment of our Food & Type series, take a second to check out our history of marrying tasty treats and typography. Grab the mic and join the ruckus on twitter with #tastytype, then be sure to head over to our Fontspiration board on Pinterest (we know you probably have the tab open already) where we feature artistic typographical tidbits for foodies and beyond.

There is a funny recurring theme around here. One in which we find ourselves salivating over food and typography. Something about reimagining type outside of traditional contexts rapaciously piques our interests.

It’s fun to see typefaces in new contexts, and we’re inspired by the delectable and unending creativity on the subject. Oh, and we love a good laugh, like the one that teetered around the office when this “meatpersand” by Brittany Edwards made its rounds.

Whisky Reimagined with Steven Bonner; Meatpersand by Brittany Edwards
Calgary Farmers Market Ampersand Typography by Brittany Edwards



But now, back to our man of the hour: grab a glass on the rocks and enjoy.


An Interview with Steven Bonner:

Why do you think people adore the combination of food and typography so much?

I think it’s the way it stimulates more senses than just the visual side of things. Food is such a big part of our lives that images associated with it can evoke feelings about tastes and smells that are ingrained in us. Similarly, type can be just as evocative, so marry the two and it’s a powerful combination of mental triggers.

Whisky Reimagined with Steven Bonner
Pear and Vanilla; Ballatine’s Scotch Whisky


Had you worked with the concept of typography and food / drink before you took on this commissioned project by Ballantine’s?

Yes, I’ve been involved in quite a lot of packaging–especially in the drinks industry. It’s really one of my favorite areas to work in. I have also worked on typographic titles for various recipe books and magazines about food but nothing that called for something as open and illustrative as the Ballantine’s work.

Tell us more!

Work Club commissioned me to realize the tasting notes of Ballantine’s as decorative drop caps, and referenced some of my earlier work to give me a start on the sort of style they wanted. The styling evolved over time and brought things into a new territory for me, adding in more and more detail to really pull out the flavor of each letter.

Whisky Reimagined with Steven Bonner
Honey and Cream; Ballatine’s Scotch Whisky


Which letter was the easiest to imagine as a flavor? Which was the most challenging?

I don’t know about easy, but the quickest was the ‘O’ for oak. I knew right away how I wanted to approach that one and it the process ran really smoothly. The toughest was probably the ‘C’ for ‘clementine’. That one took a lot of hours of experimentation to draw the flesh in a realistic way that still spoke to my style. All the caps ended up with more detail than I had been putting in my work up till that point, so there was a learning curve involved on almost every letter. None were what I’d call easy. The whole project was challenging in a lot of ways.

What’s your idea of perfect happiness?

A happy family and a quiet life.


For more awesome art to cheers to, stay in touch with our #tastytype blog series, and jump in on the conversation yourself on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.