Graphic design student designs hand sanitizer label during coronavirus pandemic


One TCU graphic design student provided his talents to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Junior Derek Bowers was hired by his uncle, the owner of Adirondack Distilling Co., a small distillery in Utica, N.Y., to design a new product label when the distillery switched from producing spirits to making hand sanitizer amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

Junior graphic design student Derek Bowers. Photo courtesy Derek Bowers.

Like many distilleries nationwide that made a similar move, Adirondack Distilling Co. had to act fast to get its hand sanitizer on the market. Bowers spent one week developing the product label, including researching the rules and regulations of the Food and Drug Administration, developing the logo and laying out content—a quick turnaround for a design project like this one.

The result was the Hand In Hand Instant Hand Sanitizer label.

Bowers designed a new hand sanitizer product label in one week amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

“Normally with design projects, I start by brainstorming ideas without limitations on concept or theme,” said Bowers. “This time, it was almost the opposite. I had to start by learning the different regulations and rules [for creating a label with] medical information, on top of regular limitations that a client would tell a designer, like the number of colors that I could use and the content of some of the copy.”

Bowers was originally tasked with using only one color on the label, which helps keep the cost of printing down. According to FDA regulations, a label’s drug facts are required to be in black, which wasn’t the look Bowers wanted for the product’s logo. Ultimately, he selected a shade of green for the brand’s design to signify health and safety. Another challenge was the small size of the label for a four-ounce bottle.

Yet, Bowers said the experience was “extremely exciting” because of the fast timeline. He credits many of his design courses and professors at TCU with the success of the Hand In Hand label design.

“My design entrepreneurship class with Dusty Crocker helped me navigate the process of working with clients in a freelance setting.” -Derek Bowers

“My design entrepreneurship class with Dusty Crocker helped me navigate the process of working with clients in a freelance setting and taught me which questions to ask to get the creative process rolling quickly and efficiently,” said Bowers. “Each of my typography classes with Jan Ballard, David Elizalde and Lewis Glaser helped me learn how to think outside of the box to find creative solutions for projects. My current classes in corporate identity (with Bill Brammer) and experience design class (with Yvonne Cao) have helped with the way that I approach designing projects like these, where I start to think about the user and the main purpose first, rather than what would be the easy way out to please the client.”

Since Hand In Hand Instant Hand Sanitizer hit the market, Adirondack Distilling Co. and its distributing partner, Mountainside Medical Equipment, have received orders for more than 1.5 million bottles. As a result of Bowers’ dedicated and professional work on the Hand In Hand label, he will soon start on another project for Adirondack Distilling Co., designing a vintage-style label for a brand new spirit.