Willie Nelson is known for many things besides country music. His activism. His braids. His tax problems. And, you know… something else.

Thanks to laws passed in 2014, Willie’s now free to share his love for that other thing—in Washington and Colorado, at least—and he’s decided it’s high time he got started. But when Willie and his people got down in the weeds to ponder the venture they were calling Willie’s Reserve, they realized they needed help.

And when the smoke cleared, they turned to RIVAL.

Brand Strategy
Package Design
Logo Design
Brand Voice

The Willie’s Reserve labels made their first appearance at an exclusive reveal held at Willie’s Heartbreaker Banquet in Luck, Texas, during SXSW.

Willie’s special new product needed a brand as distinctive as the man himself, something that captured a blend of his outlaw reputation, his wisdom from years on the road, and his overwhelming belief in fun and freedom.

We delivered a logo that pays homage to Willie’s western heritage, love of music, and positive attitude, and paired it with a tagline that speaks to the power and fame of the product itself. Along the way, we deconstructed Willie’s famous guitar to create art pieces, crafted word lockups that illustrate the brand’s personality, and designed labels that will adorn the packaging around Willie’s potent product.

These assets, plus everything needed to grow and maintain this budding brand, were rolled into a complete brand guidebook that included the logo and variations, tagline, additional art exploration, voice and tone, color palette, fonts, and more.

The visual elements of Willie’s trusty guitar, Trigger, were brokendown for use as graphics within the brand’s design language.

The Willie’s Reserve labels were revealed to acclaim at an exclusive soft launch at Willie’s 2015 Heartbreaker Banquet in Luck, Texas, during South by Southwest.

And on April 20, 2015 (a.k.a. 4/20), Willie made it official, announcing his new project during a video interview with Rolling Stone magazine that prominently featured the Willie’s Reserve branding. The story sparked coverage from around the world, instantly putting Willie’s Reserve on the lips of everyone from activists and TV comedians to news commentators and average citizens.

Judging by the buzz, Willie was pleased.