Absinthe Case Study
by Gina Angie on 10/19/2011 | 3 Minute Read
Product Ventures embarked on a design journey to showcase their unique ability to combine structural and graphic innovations. The alluring spirit of Absinthe was chosen as the platform, because of its richness and complexity. The design team leveraged their package design talents to unleash the true essence of this misunderstood spirit. After countless hours of research, the collective perception of Absinthe was deconstructed into meaningful facets of its character. Each facet was then translated into a visual language of imagery, elements, colors, and textures. The designs that resulted were: Tarts & Dandies, Mortier & Pilon, Sarabithia, Paradox, L'OR, and Enchant.
Tarts & Dandies is reflective of the Art Nouveau design style of the La Belle Epoque with the label design itself in keeping with the illustrious posters and filigree patterns of the period. Framing the label panel is a fluted column, while the left and right package panels incorporate additional decorative embossed textural details. The bottle itself is squat and stable in proportion with a square cross-section. Gleaming inspiration from the elegant accoutrements used in the ceremonial service of drinking absinthe, the name hints back to the social frenzy which was so much a part of the Moulin Rouge.
Mortier & Pilon is inspired by Absinthe's medicinal origins and natural herbal ingredients, reflected in the apothecary shape, proportions, and glass stopper. The metal nameplate affixed to the bottle is reminiscent of an old elixir and the metal base adds a premium aesthetic appearing as a decorative chalice. Ornate decorative patterns from the period further express the botanical ingredients. A blue-green hue is chosen for its "fresh and clean" tonality to pay homage to its Swiss roots (many Swiss Absinthes are actually clear and showcased in a blue bottle). The name is derived from the concept of a mortar and pestle, as the purest method of mixing ingredients.
Sarabithia’s vine-like, plated cast metal necklace is suggestive of its natural roots while the arched indentation above the label connotes a portal to another world. The deep and dark elements on the panel speak to fantasy and wonderment, while the sitting fairy's coaxing gaze allures all those who pass by. A decorative brow encircles the upper part of the label taking its inspiration from a tree hollow. The ornate closure provides an ergonomic grip for cork removal and is reminiscent of the seal on a potion or elixir.
Paradox is inspired by the Art Deco architecture and speakeasies of the 20s. Evoking exclusivity and confidence through the bottle’s accentuated height, the design also reflects the higher level of awareness and sensory experience often connected with this spirit. The positive and negative space, along with the reflective quality of the chrome inlay, provides a feast for the eyes that gets more decadent with each and every glance.
L'OR is associated with the Prohibition period and inspired by the Art Deco style. The gold label and cap along with the decorative ribbon convey a premium aesthetic, while the use of the "140" could be interpreted as an exclusive address. Set within the bottle, the ribbon and the label are placed upon a raised platform in order to provide a level of dimension. The stepped structural detail is indicative of Art Deco architecture.
Enchant suggests the psychedelic effect of this intoxicating spirit and its ability to release inhibitions. The faceted nature of the bottle creates various reflective interpretations, conveying a premium look similar to fine crystal stemware. A multi-faceted closure creates a kaleidoscope effect when looking through the top. The unexpected metallic orange label adds a touch of vibrancy and vitality to the overall package design.