Established in 2015, Oslo Håndverksdestilleri (OHD) is the first independent distillery to open in Oslo since the State Wine Monopoly acquired the city’s last operational distillery in 1927. Dedicated to ‘the creation of high quality spirits, brought to life with Norwegian botanicals’ OHD initially approached Contagious to create a corporate identity for their new distillery and a retail brand for their forthcoming range of spirits. We were subsequently tasked with designing the bottle and packaging for their first release, Marka, a 35% vol. cask matured Norwegian Bitter. With the qualities of heritage and craft inherent in the spirit itself, our brief was to position the new distillery, brand and product at the heart of a stylish, modern Norway.
For the product branding, we wanted to encapsulate OHD’s ‘spirit and spice’ positioning and used a monoline illustration to interpret the distillation process and marry those elements with the botanicals that inform the unique flavour of the new OHD products. Taking cues from alchemic symbols, we then housed the on-trend and iconic illustration within a triangle encased by two roundels. Marka, OHD’s first release is a Bitter, a hugely popular spirit among audiences in cold Nordic climes and European ski resorts who relish its warming, spicy properties. Developing the monoline theme, we told the story of Marka’s origins through a stylised Norwegian mountain scene. Initially viewed from afar, the illustration works cleverly around the bottle, drawing the eye deeper into a woodland, rich with botanical motifs, which concludes with a close-up of a small wooden cabin, nestled within the forest foliage. Beautifully crafted copy is set amongst the trees and flowers, birds and bees to bring Marka’s story to life: “… long summer evenings and Norwegian forests in full bloom. Life renewed after a hard winter. The pungent, peppery smell of angelica. The sweet sticky notes of bog myrtle. The tang of the rowan berry…”
Intelligent use of our client’s budget was a critical element of our brief, coupled with a very tight timescale in which to get Marka to market, so we went off the beaten production track to deliver a high-end finish that was impressively cost efficient. Using a brown glass bottle to reflect the woody, spicy nature of the spirit was a key element of the packaging design, but rather than using expensive brown glass (which needs to be pre-ordered months in advance and at a relatively high unit cost) we sourced a specialist company to spray standard clear glass bottles brown as a cost and time efficient alternative. Our decision to screen print the ‘label’ design directly onto the glass not only delivered a more interesting and undeniably premium finish, it also saved significant expenditure on traditional label printing and application costs. Marka has been received with great enthusiasm in the Nordic markets following its initial launch and work is well underway in the Contagious studio on OHD’s next spirit releases. Watch this space!
"Contagious has an exemplary track record in projects of this nature. Our previous work together resulted in significant design awards so for me Contagious was the obvious choice and the team didn’t disappoint." - Marcin Miller, Partner OHD