Absolut Unique, Gutenberg would be proud

In 1440 Guttenberg celebrated moveable type, in 2012 Absolut Vodka celebrates moveable design!

It only took 572 years for the folks at Absolut to find a way to go beyond the holy grail of the printing and design industries . . . the notion of exactly identical printed objects.

With the recently announced Absolut Unique package design project, the brand is creating 4 million unique bottles, each with a different, and random, brightly colored background pattern that is applied to the glass during the decoration process. And each label is also uniquely numbered, making the 4 million bottles truly one of a kind. Below is a short video showing the production process.

Last night was the first night of the semester at my SVA Masters in Branding class. And this class was focused on the notion that printing and printed objects from the 15th and 16th centuries, represented the very first use of technology that allowed for the wide distribution of cultural information and ideas. These objects like books, wall coverings, decorative prints, and maps . . . available for the very first time, really were the earliest objects setting the stage for a common set of cultural and aesthetic values, and then eventually brand creation in later centuries.

It’s really exciting to see printing technology come full circle and allow for the creation of uniquely crafted brand solutions. As I said . . . Guttenberg would be proud.

Finally, in the interests of full disclosure, I am proud to say that Pernod Ricard is a client. And they should be deeply proud of this program.

Here is an Ad Age article that gives a bit more detail.

About Richard Shear

designer, husband, teacher, blogger, father, athlete, author, historian Richard has over 25 years of brand identity and package design experience, with a wide range of clients such as Ahold, Coca-Cola, Hasbro, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Pernod Ricard and Procter & Gamble. He began his career working with the legendary advertising art director, and AIGA Medalist, George Lois and the British design manager Clive Chajet. In his next design management position at Lippincott & Margulies, he worked with Walter Margulies learning the complex skills of global corporate identity. He then became Creative Director and Partner at Peterson & Blyth, one of the premier brand identity and package design firms of the time. He is a founding faculty member of the Masters in Branding Program at New York’s School of Visual Arts. He publishes the blog The Package Unseen, and has been a guest lecturer at colleges including FIT, Trinity College and Tyler School of Art. He is a graduate of the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. Richard is a Board member of the AIGA MetroNorth Chapter, past President of AIGA‘s Brand Design Association, President of the Package Design Council and a member of its Board of Directors. He is a member of USA Cycling and US Rowing, a nationally ranked masters bicycle racer, and a member of The Saugatuck Rowing Club, the 2010 Masters Club National Champion.
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1 Response to Absolut Unique, Gutenberg would be proud

  1. Fun, for sure! These bright colors would definitely attract me to make at least a first-time purchase. Do the colors correlate to specific flavors, do you know? Or are they all regular flavor?

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