Vodka: intelligent design

When it comes to design, vodka is in a league of its own.

5Unlike other spirit categories, vodka brands have been known to rely more heavily on design and brand awareness to entice consumers, rather than the liquid itself. While there has been a notable shift towards emphasising the importance of quality and flavour of vodka in recent years, and flavour is carrying increasing weight within the category, a vodka brand’s ability to communicate its authenticity, personality and status is key.

As such, design has become the primary battleground for vodka, a market that has become known for its often left-field approach to packaging in a bid to stand out from the crowd. In a notoriously competitive and increasingly diverse market, brands are seeking out new ways to use design to break away from the mundane to secure longevity. While shock factor has helped many brands achieve a level of success, some have fallen foul of eye-catching but tacky aesthetics. Others meanwhile have harnessed the power of design to secure iconic status – however, the formula to success is far from clear-cut.
With producers still battling against the false belief that all “vodkas are the same”, design can be crucial in drawing in consumers in the hope that they will become “equally interested in the quality of the liquid”, says Raffaele Berardi, managing director of Fraternity Spirits which owns Boker Vodka.
“In a market that is becoming increasingly competitive, both in the on- and off-trade, the design of a bottle of vodka can mean the difference between success and failure,” says Berardi. “After all, most vodkas are of the neutral variety, selling themselves on their purity and, increasingly, heritage and story which creates the personality of the brand. Thus the design of a bottle has to reflect that personality and be true to the heritage of the brand.”

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