Case Study: Victor’s Liquors, Manchester, Lancashire

Victor's Liquors, Sale Road, Manchester

The finished article - slicker than your average!

Victor’s Liquors is a new off license and liquor store in Sale, Manchester. In the summer of 2009, I was approached by the owner to manage the whole project and get the store ready for it’s opening in August, 2009.

The Brief – ‘The Best Dressed Off License In Manchester’

Victor's Liquors, Sale, Manchester

Herbie Hysteria and Victor Victorious

Victor Shah, the owner, is a charismatic kind of individual who certainly knows what he wants. ‘Herbs, I want the slickest and most fuckin’ best-dressed offie in Manchester!’ was the brief he gave me. Hmm, ‘Thanks for the detailed brief, Vic’, I replied. Having secured the premises lease, a prominent property on the Sale Circle, Manchester, we set off one morning, Red Bull in hand, to view the battered property. Apparently, the previous owners also ran a liquor store there but it was evident they didn’t spend any money on making it look at least decent. It was a mess, here is what it was like – before, I got my filthy mitts on it:
Victor's Liquors, Sale, Manchester

The state of the shop, before the fun began

Logo Design and Branding

Victor's Liquors Logo

Victor's Liquors Logo

The project started with a brand new logo design and branding. At the time, I was contemplating using just the ‘V’ and ‘L’ in the logo. However, after some initial drafts, I thought a shield design would envisage Victor’s own personality – ‘authoritative’ and ‘outspoken’. Adding two crossed liquor bottles to the bottom of the logo made it instantly relevant to the service. We decided on the orange, white and black trim after reviewing all the other various shops around the property. Orange would make sure it stuck out like a sore thumb.

I chose two typefaces for the whole project. The main font used in the logo is called Anticlaire Display SSK, a personal favourite of mine. I think it’s clarity and elegance worked well whilst remaining simple and readable. I stuck with normal Arial to be used on information such as products, opening times and such.

Painting and Colour-Coordination (RAL)

Picking the correct shade of orange was extremely important. This is because the orange had to be exactly the same colour for the paint as well as the vinyls. I started by viewing all the possible orange shades available in outdoor-vinyl. The colour-matching system I used was the RAL system, of which ‘pure orange’ was RAL2004. this ensured the same shade would be used on both the vinyls, signs and paintwork.

The horrible green colour which adorned the exterior didn’t really make you jump out of your pants(!) Therefore, all the exterior wood, bollards and pillars were painted using exterior gloss paint. The pillars and bollards were painted orange and black with a small white trim to break the colours further. The metal window frame was painted black using gloss black metal paint-spray.

Window Graphics

Victor's Liquors, Sale, Manchester

Window vinyls and graphics

Initially, the idea was to cover both ground-floor windows. This was to create a real ‘hardcore liquor store’ feel. After contemplating the decision, I decided to cover the right-side window fully, but keep the left-side window only half-covered. This would ensure some natural light got through into the store. The window design was simple, a bullet-pointed list of products and services. The left window would show the opening times in a ‘week summary’ style, instead of listing each day of the week seperately.

I had to be careful I didn’t ‘over-design’ the windows, if you get my drift. This was because the first-floor window boards and light-box sign would be graphical and creative enough. The windows were covered with black vinyl and the text layerd on. I kept the bullet points of the text orange so the colour-co-ordination would match.

Light-Box Sign

The biggest and most expensive part of the project was the main light-box sign. Measuring nearly 16 foot across, it was big. This was great for the desired effect, an illuminated ‘Victor’s Liquors’ sign which shone like a beacon at night. The main lettering was left transparent so the light could shine through.

Victor's Liquors, Sale, Manchester

The light box, illuminating the neighbourhood!


The aluminium light-box was powder-coated the same orange (RAL 2004) colour. It matched the paintwork beautifully and fitted in great when it was installed. Hooking it up to the electrics was easy enough so the sign could be switched on or off from within the shop.

Window Boards

Victor's Liquors, Sale, Manchester

Hand-painting the window boards, HH in action!

The first floor windows of the property were in a horrible state. The wooden frames were rotting and the paint was flaking off. Just giving them a lick of paint wasn’t going to be enough. Replacing the window frames was not within the budget. So, I improvised and suggested covering the windows with half-inch thick wooden boards, hand-painted of course.

Custom Printed Sweatshirts

To really finish the project off, I supplied printed sweatshirts for Victor and his staff to wear as their uniform. The big shield logo was transferred onto the backs of the sweatshirts, which also provided added promotion for the shop. In closing, this was a project I thoroughly enjoyed and the locals absolutely loved it. Job well done!

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