Monday, 6 June 2011

Stranger and Stranger

I was recently introduced to the impressive portfolio of Stranger & Stranger who's sensitively designed packaging are lovely to look at. Yes, they're bottles of alcohol but their exquisitely executed typography and beautifully designed artwork screams luxury.

Looking through their work got me thinking about the rich visual history that's entwined with alcohol. The labels communicate something of the culture of the country that the drink originates from and even manage to embody the (implied) sexuality and class of those who should drink it. Whether its the strong Blackletter typography of the 'Flaming Heart' Scotch Whisky or the elegant Didot used in the letters for Pino Grigio, it is clear that there is a rigid visual language to associated with alcoholic drink branding.

For me, these are successful examples of design because Stranger & Stranger speak this language fluently. They have researched the rules of their language to the point where they can reinterpret them while continuing to reassure the viewer that the contents inside is still a marvelously good whisky, or an incredible full bodied red. This translation is simple because they don't veer too far away from the set visual boundaries. They never overwrite its history or alter its sexuality. Furthermore it only appears simple because we are bombarded with these visual languages day in day out. As viewers and buyers of these products we are just as fluent in their language, the difference is that people like Stranger & Stanger are masters of its execution.

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