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NIPKE, laboratory for beer and spirits

Contributed by Eva Silvertant on Nov 16th, 2021. Artwork published in .
    The NIPKE logotype, set in Nip Sans—a redrawn and revised version of Arial Narrow Bold.
    Source: www.deronners.nl Studio de Ronners. License: All Rights Reserved.

    The NIPKE logotype, set in Nip Sans—a redrawn and revised version of Arial Narrow Bold.

    NIPKE is a beer and liquor brand initiated and designed by Studio de Ronners. The name is based on the Dutch word ‘nippen’, meaning ‘sipping’. Studio de Ronners writes:

    NIPKE bundles our most outrageous ideas and experiments in taste, aroma and design. We founded the brand as an outlet for anything that doesn’t fit our regular work. In close collaboration with professional partners, we develop beers and spirits of gastronomic quality. NIPKE is also an exercise in uncompromising marketing: we go against all standards in alcohol branding and packaging to create a product line with a distinctive look and feel.

    NIPKE products are enjoyable and drinkable, but they are also exclusive, coming in limited and hand-numbered bottles. This exclusivity is represented by the design, which makes it clear that this is not your average drink. With its bold lettering on back-to-basic monochromes, NIPKE can be seen as a kind of anti-branding, not obviously aimed at ‘selling’ the product. The raw style shows that this product is the result of lab experiments. It’s a collector’s item. The labels as well as the packaging are sophisticated, but they also exude a DIY punk attitude that goes against the predictable norm.

    As part of NIPKE’s uncompromising branding, the idea emerged to use one of the most overused typefaces, which comes free with Windows: Arial (1982) by Robin Nicholas (1947—) and Patricia Saunders (1933–2019). You might be surprised, thinking the NIPKE typeface doesn’t quite look like Arial, and you would be right!

    Together with Studio de Ronners, I revised—and redrew some letters of—Arial Narrow Bold, to change it from a typeface many people are tired of seeing, to something with a bit more intrigue. I removed the calligraphic influences (the curved leg in R has been straightened), I fixed some letters (I felt the weight distribution and curves of S around its spine were awkward), and I exaggerated some features. One of the most obvious changes is the enlargement of bowls—such as in P—and the widening of circular glyphs.

    As a result, Nip Sans (English: “Sip Sans”) has a much more open and polished appearance compared to Arial, as well as a slightly erratic rhythm due to the large counter spaces in circular glyphs. To better understand what I’m talking about, have a look at MD Nichrome by Rutherford Craze, which features this effect in a more exaggerated way.

    Also, Nip Sans features 4 stylistic sets with which you can activate characters of different extents of exaggeration or deemphasis. With its design and optional features, Nip Sans is decidedly more playful than Arial, with a bit of a DIY punk attitude.

    The NIPKE brand won bronze at the European Design Awards 2020.

    A comparison between Nip Sans (black) and Arial Narrow Bold (yellow).
    Photo: Eva Silvertant. License: All Rights Reserved.

    A comparison between Nip Sans (black) and Arial Narrow Bold (yellow).

    NIPKE No. 1 (Herr Heino) features Nip Sans, Neue Helvetica Medium (Weizen + Juniper + Lagering), Gloucester Extra Condensed (Herr Heino), and  Medium (OLD GENEVER, 42% VOL., 500 ML).
    Source: www.deronners.nl Aad Hoogendoorn. License: All Rights Reserved.

    NIPKE No. 1 (Herr Heino) features Nip Sans, Neue Helvetica Medium (Weizen + Juniper + Lagering), Gloucester Extra Condensed (Herr Heino), and Haarlemmer Medium (OLD GENEVER, 42% VOL., 500 ML).

    NIPKE No. 3 (Dibbes) features Nip Sans, a horizontally compressed/distorted Times Regular (DIBBES), and a horizontally compressed/distorted Times Bold (TRIPEL BEER + JUNIPER + LEMON + CORIANDER + GENTIAN ROOT, MOUTWIJN, 39% VOL., 500 ML.). The trolley is a custom design by Remmelt Deriksen.
    Source: www.deronners.nl Aad Hoogendoorn. License: All Rights Reserved.

    NIPKE No. 3 (Dibbes) features Nip Sans, a horizontally compressed/distorted Times Regular (DIBBES), and a horizontally compressed/distorted Times Bold (TRIPEL BEER + JUNIPER + LEMON + CORIANDER + GENTIAN ROOT, MOUTWIJN, 39% VOL., 500 ML.). The trolley is a custom design by Remmelt Deriksen.

    NIPKE No. 2 (O’ Manta) features Nip Sans, and Heroic Condensed Black Oblique (O’ MANTA & the rest of the typography). Mommeriete + NIPKE (Swampy Wood) features Nip Sans, and a horizontally compressed/distorted Times Bold (MOMMERIETE, Swampy Wood, Porter, 5.7% VOL., 33 CL), and an undistorted Times Bold (SMOKED PORTER).
    Source: www.deronners.nl Aad Hoogendoorn. License: All Rights Reserved.

    NIPKE No. 2 (O’ Manta) features Nip Sans, and Heroic Condensed Black Oblique (O’ MANTA & the rest of the typography). Mommeriete + NIPKE (Swampy Wood) features Nip Sans, and a horizontally compressed/distorted Times Bold (MOMMERIETE, Swampy Wood, Porter, 5.7% VOL., 33 CL), and an undistorted Times Bold (SMOKED PORTER).

    NIPKE, laboratory for beer and spirits 6
    Source: www.deronners.nl Aad Hoogendoorn. License: All Rights Reserved.
    NIPKE, laboratory for beer and spirits 7
    Source: www.deronners.nl Aad Hoogendoorn. License: All Rights Reserved.
    NIPKE, laboratory for beer and spirits 8
    Source: www.facebook.com Aad Hoogendoorn. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Typefaces

    • Nip Sans
    • Neue Helvetica
    • Gloucester
    • DTL Haarlemmer
    • Heroic Condensed
    • Times

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