*notcot in food+drink , 23:30

Absolut Packaging THEN & NOW- 12.30.09

absolutthen.jpg Apologies for going a little quiet on you. Tried to take a little bit of a break this week ~ reassess the amazing year that passed, trying again to hit inbox 0 before 2010 officially arrives… and in doing so, also finding some gems i’ve been meaning to post that sadly got buried in the chaos of my inbox. SO, here’s one of my favorites!

As we slip in to the new decade ~ here are two of my favorite slides from the presentation given by Absolut at the Absolut Art Collection anniversary event in Stockholm a few months ago. On the top you see the state of vodka packaging design when Absolut first entered the market with its shockingly apothecary styled bottle (which i adore!)… Below you see the state of things today. Yes yes, sure it may be a little biased in how things were picked, but you can’t deny that the overall trend is true, and that the it’s a great illustration of the shift in vodka packaging design over the decades! As 2010 comes upon us, i wonder how things will shift next…


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3 Notes

A somewhat valid point, but as the last commenter noted, the slides are quite biased in that they left out (at the very least) the Stoli and Smirnoff bottles in the second shot, which are virtually the same now as they were back then — and as far as I know the Ketel One bottle (used in the second shot as an example of a copycat) has not changed during that time either. There’s no doubt many new vodkas imitate the clean style of Absolut packaging, but a great number of the old brands, just like Absolute, have not changed any recognizable amount.

Put simply: without rigging the game (using the same brands in both photos), there would be little or no impact in these photos. The real story is that while new vodkas tend to mimic Absolut’s style, most of the old ones have stayed just as true to their own style as Absolut has.

It’s not “just a little biased,” it’s completely rigged.

----- Heath 05.01.10 03:44

Hi, thought this was very interesting and plan to use it in a post on our Design Gazette, but wondered if you agree that the following is fair?Thanks for the great site by the way!

Clearly Absolut is a distinctive, timeless and cool design. Indeed, it is testament to its quality that none of the designs which followed in its wake have been able to simply clone its visual DNA.

But the slides are slightly biased - Many of the brands in the “before” image are still around and have not aped Absolut. While unquestionably influential I’m not sure Absoluts’ design stands apart from (or leads) the category to the extent the slides suggest. One could argue that a widespread adoption of PSL labelling and bottle frosting techniques have been as influential on vodka design trends as Absoluts’ specific packaging.

So what? Well, have you ever worked for years on a brand, where over time the internal view of the its persona and self-created mythology become an ingrained supposedly self-evident truth? Spinning sexy stories about ones brand carries the risk that one might end up believing ones own press. Sometimes research reveals a frightening chasm between the message we think we are broadcasting and the message that is actually being received. And the first crack that creates this chasm is unthinking adoption of internal phrases and self mythologizing – referring to ones trademark as “our icon” and suchlike. Its great to get into the spirit of the brand one is serving, but its equally healthy to retain some distance and perspective.

----- Silas Amos 04.01.10 08:34

i love how subtle their statement was lol..

----- Jerome 01.01.10 15:16

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