Pack of the Month: Berg, Right Ahead
by Bill McCool on 03/31/2021 | 4 Minute Read
When White Claw Summer became Pandemic Hard Seltzer Hangover Calendar Year, we could forgive you if you thought that our universal love of alcoholic bubbly stuff would finally go the way of the Zima’s of the world. Plus, with a plethora of hard seltzers on the market, a lot of the design and branding were starting to look the same.
But hard seltzer pulling a Jurassic Period isn't even remotely imminent, particularly as our arms get loaded up with vaccines and the weather starts rising into the noticeably pleasant. And, if you happen to be down New Zealand way, you’ve got a new drink of the summer in Berg.
Looking to show that there’s a lot more going on underneath the surface with this upstart hard seltzer brand, Berg brought in Marx Design to create the packaging and branding identity. We spoke to Marx senior designer Manuel Payán about the hidden depths in their design for our March 2021 Pack of the Month.
Take us through the design process that you went through for this project.
From the start, water was a central part of this product. We began with the exploration of water themes as lenses to apply through design. Using phrases like "what lies beneath," "more than meets the eye," and "refreshingly deep" informed our design territories. There were several explorations of related ideas, but the most iconic idea won in the end—an iceberg.
Why did you decide to go with a literal representation of an iceberg for the identity? Was the name already chosen at that point?
The name was already decided as a play on hard seltzer/hard water.
Berg is water-led and created from a unique method that's new to New Zealand, resulting in a uniquely clean tasting drink. We played on the concept of the above/below divide of a floating iceberg, using hidden depths as a visual device to communicate Berg’s uniqueness. It took some deep thinking to look this effortless, and that beneath the surface, there was a lot to discover.
What was one of the biggest goals you set out to achieve with Berg packaging, and how did you accomplish it?
This was a big bet for the client, therefore, we needed to develop an iconic solid brand that would deliver results in the coming summer. The visual idea of the above/below divide of a floating iceberg had the right simplicity and charm. So, we carried that through to the packaging and communications using the blue horizon as the anchor. Our goal was to create a standout seltzer in a saturated market.
What was the most challenging part of this project?
This project ran through a pandemic! For the first time, our team had to work remotely and all our face-to-face time with our client suddenly stopped. Looking back on this time, we learned a new way of working. That said, we really appreciate being back together in the studio. The challenge was to deliver our best work through uncertain and sometimes complex work environments.
If you could pick one aspect of the finished design that you like the most or feel particularly proud of, what would it be and why?
We had the opportunity to take this project right through to comms. Having a say in the final presentation to market meant we could showcase the product as the hero – taking the horizon line from the cans and the pack and making a simple horizon the recognizable visual cue for Berg.
Share one lesson that you learned while developing the finished product.
A hard seltzer made of a pure, clean alcohol base was brand new to NZ.
It isn’t vodka, gin, or whiskey – just a simple clean form of alcohol. That meant we had to drop our conventional responses and create a new space for a hard drink with no known base. That, I think, led to "blue sky" thinking that placed Berg in its own ocean.
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