Fresh From The Field — StrangeLove Waters by Marx
Ordinarily, when the DA team writes introductions for Fresh from the Field we write as an organisation – but in this instance, I am showing up in the first person to introduce a new project from Marx design that I personally, am really excited about.
As some context, in the 1980s my mum worked in programming – the visual language of that computer age holds a lot of nostalgia. Fast forward 40 years, today as a printmaker who works analogue with traditional typesetting techniques in my work, I love that StrangeLove Water draws on both those legacy graphic technologies and yet has reinterpreted them in such a contemporary way!
The design strategy is refreshing and fun, the grid underpins the structure (just like the other drinks in the StrangeLove range). StrangeLove Waters employs ascii as image, the typography is expertly considered the results are unexpected, exciting and sure to make waves in the water category.
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Melbourne-based Strangelove Drinks constantly challenge convention. They’re not afraid to flip things around and completely rewrite the script. It’s not disruption for the sake of it, more a burning desire to rethink a product from the ground up.
Following on from the success of their Tonic and Soda ranges, Strangelove believed the sparkling water category required a shake up (something not usually recommended with sparkles…)
They engaged us to develop “Another drink by Stranglelove”, a range of sparkling water; zero sugar, zero calories, yet rich in flavour. Destined for high end grocery, cafes and restaurants; generating intrigue and a strong shelf presense were key, all of course while retaining the Stranglelove challenger attitude.
Inspired by the seemingly simple letter/number combination ‘H2O’, we began exploring this fascinating and complex chemical concoction. We dived deep into an analysis of mineral content, PH levels and other labcoat influenced layers of chemical makeup.
Our exploration conjured up musty old periodic table charts from sixth form chemistry class; a timeless graphic icon which opened up opportunities to leap into new territory. We discovered a graphic parallel in ASCII code, which represents text characters in computers and other digital devices with a history dating right back to telegraph systems. The graphic language of chemistry was akin to computer progamming code and led us to investigate…
We extrapolated this graphic language further and jumped headfirst into 80’s computer game graphics. The imagery for the three product varients is formed out of multiple individual text characters coming together to form a cohesive whole. An image of a pear, apple and drop of water emerge out of the code, almost as a homage to how coding creates imagery in computer graphics.
This slightly old-school look adds in a playful pop-culture reference and offers the potential for hidden messages using the text characters. We’d found a way to communicate a lot within a very minimal framework.
The graphic potential of working with a limited set of characters also fitted perfectly with the design strategy we adopted for the Strangelove portfolio of products overall, one which constantly saw us “borrowing from the past and modernising for the future”.
The variety inspirations like “10 Timeless combos” and “Aqua centric musical acts” offered opportunities to bring in Strangelove’s signature irreverent copywriting, which adds another layer to the pack communication.
Colours took their cues from the flavour varieties, rich guava green and peach with the main font a deep blue which pops off the base colours perfectly.
“Another drink by Strangelove” is centred around the idea of many individual properties coming together to form something fresh and exciting. Slightly unassuming on the surface but with hidden depths waiting to be discovered as you draw closer. Just like the good old combination of one hydrogen and two oxygens.
The outcome is a product that brings an element of the unorthodox to a hugely popular but slightly staid category, yet still retains a high level of design sophistication.