Marx Design 60 Darkside

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Director
    Ryan Marx
  • Ringatoi Matua / Design Director
    Manuel Payan
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Members
    Rachel Dredge, Hannah Jensen, Nicola Kearns
  • Kaitautoko / Contributors
    Dan Bycroft, Drew Robertson
  • Client
    Murray's Craft Brewing Co.

Our design exploration took a sharp turn to the dark side when tasked with bringing new energy and a more playful attitude to spirits via Darkside coffee liqueur.

We embraced the idea of channelling the essence of the night, inspired by the dark and smooth product with notes of mischief and mystery. Imagining Darkside as an invitation to take a walk on the dark side, to try something deep and stimulating, to chase the night instead of turning in early.

Simplified eye graphics create an instantly recognisable visual presence, embellished on the bottle with glow in the dark ink. The graphic versatility of the eyes allowed them to be used in a variety of subtle ways, combined with equally minimal stars or peering out from behind foliage. The bold Darkside wordmark was inspired by night time shadows, with a diffused and grainy look fading across the logo. The yellow against the black highlights gives the impression of the coming sunrise, and gold foil was used to add a touch of premium elegance to the bottle.

Australian independent brew masters Murray’s Craft Brewing Co were stepping up their range of spirits, enlisting us to develop the brand identity for a new coffee liqueur. Darkside is the perfect combination of cold brewed coffee and carbon filtered vodka, featuring a unique nutty flavour derived from native wattle seed. Aimed at discerning millennials who might not usually be tempted by top shelf liqueurs, Darkside is the perfect espresso martini starter or decadent midnight tipple.

The product was tasteful and refined, to help it make a strong impression in trendy bars and premium liquor stores required a dose of difference. Traditional design conventions for liqueur veer towards the premium and pretentious, we set out to flip this “top shelf” aesthetic on its head.

The end product is a liqueur that looks like nothing else in the category, a drink that tells a story about its inspiration and intrigues with eye-catching simplicity. A product that’s all about mischief, never malevolence, because the dark side of the night is always better when you make it back. Darkside was a runaway underground hit with record and even sell-out sales in some stores, helping drive and validate Murray’s Craft Brewing Co’s push into the liqueur and spirits market.