Marx Design 60 Departed Spirits

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Directors
    Ryan Marx, James Bruce
  • Ringatoi Matua / Design Director
    Manuel Payan
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Members
    Rachel Dredge, Michaela Spratt, Hannah Jensen, Beth Xia, Nicola Kearns, Tristan O'Shannessy, Thomas Lawlor
  • Kaitautoko / Contributors
    Yuki Sato, Drew Robertson
  • Client
    Departed Spirits Co

Melbourne-based Departed Spirits was born out of necessity. It’s a timely reaction against what has happened to the spirits category over the past five years; Departed Spirits is a movement against craft spirits. The problem with the category is the overzealous use of botanics has your gin tasting like grass clippings with hints of rainforest, and the ‘out of the box’ glass forms have meant all brands look, taste, and communicate the same way.

Departed Spirits decided to go the other way; to celebrate anti-craft and focus on purity. Departed Spirits says it like it is, after all, their tagline is ‘Top shelf spirits for bottom shelf people’. Driven by a need to bring damn good spirits back to market, Departed Spirits proudly uses anti-craft as it’s point of difference to inform the brand’s tone of voice and how it turns up in the world. Vodka superbly distilled to taste like nothing. The world’s best spirits in a tin. As simple and pure as good spirits should be. Spirits too good to be saved. You get the picture.

In terms of the design, two elements were non-negotiable: functionality and chutzpah. Like any good brand mark, the Departed Spirits logo has many meanings that can be interpreted in any number of ways. Is it a doorway to new possibilities? A headstone that houses taste cues and speaks to variant flavour? A tunnel that takes you out of the city and into nature? However you see it, it’s aspirational and leaves you wondering where the future will take you.

But it’s the format that sets Departed Spirits apart from the rest. The utilitarian tin flasks scream anti-craft and is unmistakably ‘cool kid’ material in an overly saturated category of glass bottles. Aluminium, known for its infinite recyclability, and weightlessness is possessed the remarkable ability to be reincarnated into many forms. The form sets this range apart from conventional glass bottles, it’s much lighter on carbon emissions and earns it the title of 100% smash-proof.

We reimagined what a bottle of spirits looks like, taking inspiration from functional utilitarian design and Nasa branding from the 1950’s. The Swiss typographic system clearly communicates what the product is, resulting in a brand unlike anything in this category; boasting tension between feeling utilitarian and at the same time futuristic.

The jerry cans have two faces: white for brand and colour for the variant. Because Departed Spirits is a new brand, we needed to ensure the tins stood out on shelf from the get-go. And with copy that says it how it is, design that can’t be missed in a tin that can’t be messed with, standing out from its competitors is just another string to the Departed Spirits bow.