Design House takes the seasonality out of aquavit

By Rasmus Vestergaard
Published 13/01/2023
Category: Project
Featuring: Design House

It’s mostly for Christmas; a bottle of aquavit is on the table. At Vinmonopolet in Norway, November and December are when people pick up a bottle of Scandinavian alcohol. Now, Palmer Group wanted to make an aquavit that works all year round. Oslo agency Design House helped with the concept and design of this new product. Welcome to 1531.

The origin story

There are 500 aquavits on the Norwegian market. “Many of them are developed specifically for a or a particular dish, so the task was to develop an all-year aquavit,” explains Anne-Mette Spilling, Creative Director & Partner at Designhouse. So to avoid seasonal communication, Design House and Palmer Group looked to the origin story of aquavit.

In 1531, the archbishop in Nidaros, now Trondheim, received a bottle of “Aqua Vitae” from Danish royal court master Eske Bille. This year and setting became the foundation for the design. “An aquavit rooted in history – but developed for the future,” as Anne-Mette Spilling puts it.

The bottles used at that time were a source of inspiration for Design House’s choice of an apothecary bottle and a wooden cork. “It signals tradition and quality, while the typography, the beautiful illustrations of spices and the neck label ensure an interesting, clean and modern expression,” adds Anne-Mette Spilling. “A clean expression of text and illustrations is combined with an orange colour on the neck label and the word “mild” to create a warm, gentle and tasty feeling.”

One for the adventurous

1531 comes in two versions, 70 cl and 20 cl. Anne-Mette Spilling explains, “We recommend the latter size based on the consumer insight that aquavit is strongly driven by habit and highly priced and that there is thus a high threshold for trying a new product. So, by launching a small, less expensive variant, the barriers to trying a new product would be lowered.”

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