Crit* Prometheus Springs

by Tiana Spellman on 05/15/2012 | 4 Minute Read

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Prometheus Springs is a new brand of ‘elixir’ that blends capsaicin, the chemical component that gives chilli its heat (and believed to have numerous health benefits), with fruit, pepper and lychee wasabi to create an unusual and fiery range. Based around the theme of alchemy, the packaging solution fuses the high quality, traditional design cues of serif typography, a simple natural colour palette and oval layout with layers of archaic symbolism.

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“We at Prometheus Springs encourage you to research and explore the wonders of capsaicin and the rich history that surrounds it. Search and uncover the many mysteries that shroud our curious elixir and share your thoughts and experiences with us here.”

-Taken from the Prometheus Springs website

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There is a very strong traditionalist approach to this design that is reflected in the structural design’s squat nature and wide neck, the craft-ale sensibilities of the label’s oval layout, its simple two tone colour palette and straightforward approach to flavour differentiation. This aesthetic is warm, familiar and clear in its retrospective representation of honest values, qualities and simple pleasures but one that is frequently replicated. What really sets this apart is the introduction of old world alchemic symbology that neatly captures the product’s ‘scientific’ composition and experimental gastronomic potential. (Prometheus Springs’ website offers a variety of recipes that utilize the elixirs).

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The etched illustrative qualities of the Oroboros and surrounding stars have been really well rendered with an authenticity that looks like it could have been pulled directly from an 11th century manuscript offering a mystical quality that plays well to the recent popularity in the novelisation of ancient mysteries and religious practices. The iconic representation of fire (science) and water (nature) set at the heart of the label offers a subtle representation of the dual nature of the flavours but also draws a parallel with the scientific techniques emerging in modern restaurants. The label, perhaps to its detriment, requires a degree of engagement (and research) to decipher the multitude of references but it does manage to retain the necessary cues to convey the basic proposition and value while offering an alternative to the common illustrative horticultural aesthetic of brands such as Belvoir.

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The ribbon introduces a nice sense of depth above the oval that in conjunction with a typographic combination of modern and italic serif covers the basic traditional qualities, and while there are some awkward, unnecessary ligatures in the names and problematic spacing across the logo-type but generally it is competent, neat and well spaced. A navy blue gives the brand stature, more impact and cross variety consistency, the brighter highlights offer a contemporary twist and reference the sweet and spicy contrast of the ingredients.

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There is a subtlety to what is essentially a bold and fiery proposition that leans more towards establishing the lofty conceptual ideas and mythology of the brand rather than conveying the individual and unique flavour profiles of the elixirs. It does however successfully balance and resolve traditional values and mystical alchemic qualities that together deliver a layered and unconventional solution that feels distinctive and engaging.

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Opinion by Richard Baird


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