Si Scott Indulges His Passion and the Work Follows with J&B
The company that would eventually become J&B started creating and selling liquors in 1749, more than 260 years ago. That company has undergone many changes in the last two and a half centuries, but their logo has remained relatively untouched. “J&B” has sat proudly on the label for countless years, until this year when they used a new product to go in a slightly different direction.
With the insurgence of more complex and subtle mixed drinks, J&B infused their classic scotch whisky with honey. “Urban Honey,” is now available in a bottle that looks very similar to the iconic J&B with one major difference: the letter “B” has been replaced with a detailed drawing of a bee. Very fitting. Si Scott, the illustrator who created the drawing for J&B, commends the heritage brand for making such a bold move, “A lot of brands are sort of scared of doing anything to their logo at all, I thought it was quite brave of them to do it. I don’t think a lot of people would have.” It wasn’t always supposed to be just the “J” and the bee, it was a part of the artistic process in developing the label. As Si worked and created such an intricate illustration, J&B couldn’t reduce the image to a detail on the new bottle. It had to take center stage.
Si works by hand. The original drawing was created in two sections, the body and the wings, each drawing was independently nearly 60cm x 42cm, but brought together digitally as seen in the video they created about the process. “If you draw something large and detailed and you decrease it and print it, lines disappear,” Si explains. So, he brought the intricacies down slightly so that they could all fit on the bottle, otherwise the printing would have lost the details in unpredictable and inelegant ways. It’s a credit to J&B that they were able to use as detailed a version as they did for the label. “It all depends on the print quality. Obviously J&B made sure they got things right, got it printed correctly."
It was no mistake that J&B found Si for this particular project. He’s been interested in flying insects since he was a kid. “Especially bees and things like that because when you look closely at them they look like they shouldn’t be able to fly. Almost armored little things,” he says. “It’s just always one of those things I’m quite fascinated by.” He’s been drawing them for years. Whenever he’s not working on a professional job, he engages himself in work that he wants to do. “What I’ve found over the years, is in order to generate the kind of work you want to do, you need to do personal work that reflects that. I don’t do work that I think will please people, I do work that I want.” His personal series on insects eventually caught the attention of Diageo who commissioned him for the “Urban Honey” illustration. Si is an example of how the work will come if you follow your passion.