Brand Zone

Field Notes: A Work of Art?

Posted: December 12, 2016 by
Linda Casey

In an effort to animate and reinvigorate the brand’s connection to art, Van Gogh Vodka has redesigned its packaging. “With this new package, we strove to create a collection of labels that are equal parts artistic and appealing—each one had to be a work of art to match the craftsmanship of the liquid inside, translating the spirit of Van Gogh’s Expressionism and bold vision in an engaging manner,” Norman Bonchick, chairman and CEO, 375 Park Avenue Spirits, the importer of Van Gogh Vodka, tells Package Design.

“It was important that the new package live up to and respect our namesake, Vincent Van Gogh. “By working with an artist who painted through the lens of Van Gogh we were able to have paintings created using our 16 signature flavors as inspiration. Each of these paintings then became one of the labels you see with the release of the new package.”

In this the final installment of Field Notes, we ask Package Design readers if the new packages are stars or if the designs leave 375 Park Avenue Spirits’ branding goals in the fields.

 

The new packaging is powerful, fresh and simple in its design, providing unity across the varieties within the line-up. The use of artwork inspired by the signature flavors and in the style of Van Gogh gives the product an air of authenticity, which is appealing to a millennial consumer. Additionally, the image of the entire lineup is highly appealing and would draw consumers to the shelf set.

Tristan Simpson
Chief marketing officer, Ready Pac Foods.


This is a compelling design that should help the consumer relate to the brand even better. Each bottle is unique but also can stand on its own, which isn’t a simple task. I really like that the strategy will allow for future flavors or special editions to be more easily recognized on shelf too, maximizing the brand equity.

Adam Schettle
Head of packaging at Logitech

 

This bold and elegant re-design of the Van Gogh Vodka line is a breath of fresh air in a crowded marketplace, and sets it apart from its previous designs. The name Vincent Van Gogh summons up images of master works of art and emotions of another time and place, and yet this contemporary look created by Spring Design Partners and Joy Olney clearly delivers on the history and namesake, while doing justice to the license. The tall, thin, elegant bottle, with its defined shoulder, splash of textured color and knockout type treatment really elevates this brand to another level.

Tony Serebriany
Director of inventor relations and new product development, USAopoly Inc.

 

Though the brand refresh delivers a stronger shelf presence as compared to its dated and tired predecessor, the style of the individual flavors feels a bit arbitrary and generic to me. If the goal was to channel the unruly expressionist spirit of the great Dutch painter, I would want to see more vibrancy and energy reflected in fruit expressions. Instead, the chosen style feels a bit timid and devoid of character.

However, the use of the varnish is admittedly a nice touch as it adds much needed tactile sensory quality to the overall presentation.”

Yuri Shvets
Founder and creative director, Yuri Shvets Design, LLC
 

The tie in between Van Gogh and the art on the bottle is very clever. It’s simple but colorful enough to stand out on a shelf that may be cluttered with other beverage bottles. I think many consumers will be happy to have this smart bottle on their shelf in plain view at home.

Bill Casey
Director of product development, Henny Penny

 

There’s no question this is flavored vodka and that it will create a strong block at shelf. Perhaps the missed opportunity is in fully capturing the expressionistic spirit and style of Van Gogh’s paintings. The flavored variants could have been pushed further, so they were less literal and more abstract. This would have created a much more artistic spirit for a brand intent on celebrating its handcrafted tradition.

Allison Koller
Executive creative director, CBX

 

The redesign of the Vincent Van Gogh Vodka unifies the brand, which allows easy recognition on the shelf through its simple and clean scheme. Its exclusive connection with the artist truly embodies the link between the fine craft of the product with the artistry of Van Gogh.

This is especially portrayed in the distinctive label designs that were modeled after the iconic paintings and provide a visually informative tool with the consumer. In addition, the textual varnish on the labels that add yet another layer to the emotional-function binding the consumer has with the brand. 

Guido Schmitz
Director of packaging design, Bayer

 

Van Gogh’s rebrand has indeed met their goals of creating strong branding and a unified portfolio, though there’s a bit of a disconnect with the strategy “to contemporize the brand for today’s consumer who is focused on authenticity.” In an effort to modernize the package, authenticity has fallen short in representing the era of the namesake. In addition, the communication of what’s in the bottle—vodka—has now become even more recessive than in the previous package.

Juli Shore-Sonke
Owner and creative director, Juli Shore Design

 

Sharp new look for Van Gogh vodka with strong uniformity across the range of flavors, and the screen printing on the bottles continues with the premium look. My only negative is that the flavor image is possibly hard to distinguish behind the brand name, especially from distance like within a bar.

George Shropshire
Vice of marketing for Love Beets USA