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Brand Refresh For Open Water Highlights Sustainability

by Rudy Sanchez on 06/03/2021 | 3 Minute Read

Pretty much everyone drinks water. It’s one of the essential substances we consume—and no, Mountain Dew isn’t a suitable alternative, weirdo. 

But with a million plastic water bottles bought every minute, hydration isn’t salvation for the planet. Unfortunately, the same sources of that water we all rely on for life are also negatively impacted by the sheer amount of bottles we consume. Carrying a refillable canteen is an obvious sustainable (and stylish) alternative, but that’s not always a viable option, like at concerts or stadiums.

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Thankfully, some brands have sprung up using alternative materials such as paper and aluminum to address consumer desires to reduce plastic consumption, such as Open Water.

Founded by Nicole Doucet and Jess Page, Open Water was originally Green Sheep, and they decided to change the brand name to something that’s conceptually closer to the idea of canned water, a more difficult sell as recent as three years ago.

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Editorial photograph
Editorial photograph

At the onset, Open Water found success in B2B and the restaurant business but got a severe dip in revenue as everyone got sent home because of a pandemic. A brand refresh was already in the works, but the circumstances precipitated by COVID-19 provided an urgency for Open Water to refresh its visual identity and packaging to compete beyond eateries. The packaging retains some of its best characteristics, such as the wide-mouth and resealable opening and use of aluminum while adding more shelf presence.

“When we first launched back in 2014, the idea of water in aluminum was entirely foreign to customers, so it was really important that the ‘bottled water’ label be front and center to communicate what was inside the opaque bottles that were so different from the rest of the products in the market. But as the category matures and consumers are increasingly aware of the plastic waste problem, telling shoppers we're water is no longer the primary focus. Our refresh still carefully conveys that we're a water brand that stands out significantly more on a retail shelf,” said Jess Page.

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Serving up still and sparkling water, Open Water’s old labels emphasized the kind of content inside, while the new labels feature a blue graphic of waves in a similar neutral color palette that evokes purity and cleanliness, things consumers would want in a can of water. Copy now gets focused on the sustainability features of the canned water purveyor, such as its choice of aluminum and the brand’s Climate Neutral certification. 

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Copy on the packaging also pokes fun at the normally staid and boring marketing found in the bottled water market, with phrases like “Our water is filtered through deep ancient granite caves over millions of years, soaking natural minerals and purity into every pristine drop. - Every water brand on the planet.” Sure, it’s not as edgelord as Liquid Death’s approach, but Open Water’s irreverence is a refreshing departure from the uninspiring branding you'll find with the rest of the competition.

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Like rivers and streams, Open Water’s branding elegantly changes direction, adapting to the post-COVID realities of consumers dining out less with new packaging that stands out among the multitude of water brands in-store and online. No longer needing to introduce the concept of canned water to the thirsty public, Open Water’s new bottles and cans call more attention to its mission of being a more sustainable alternative to plastic water bottles.


Photos by: Breakfast for Dinner

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