Caleño is a new non-alcoholic spirit, created by entrepreneur Ellie Webb. We partnered with Ellie to build the Caleño brand story from scratch, and to start writing the design rules in this emerging new category.
Like their alcoholic equivalents, non-alcoholic spirits need well-crafted designs that communicate the complexity of the liquid’s ingredients and production methods. Using our expertise in the drinks, FMCG, and luxury categories, our challenge was to create a vibrant brand world for Caleño that celebrates its Colombian roots and supports the brand’s belief that you don’t need to drink alcohol to be spontaneous and have fun.
At the same time, we needed to achieve stand out in the emerging non-alcoholic spirits category and do something completely different to competitors who tend to focus on the botanicals and ingredients of their products, borrowing from the world of gin. We were also mindful that we wanted to provide the start-up brand with more than just a beautiful bottle.
Ellie’s vision for the product and brand was rooted in her Colombian heritage, so we dove into researching the country’s culture, paying special attention to the city of Cali, famed for its salsa dancing. There was so much visual inspiration, and the rich colours, patterns, stories and iconography we uncovered all fed into our design.
We were particularly drawn to the dynamic character of Huitaca - a free-spirited goddess of arts, dance and music in pre-Colombian culture. She embodies Caleño’s brand message of “Carpe diem, carpe nocturne”, which translates to “Seize the day, seize the night”. Huitaca became a focal point of the design, dancing energetically around the bottle in a billowing dress of bright, colourful patterns inspired by traditional Incan textiles.
There are lots of other carefully crafted visual elements to discover that add to the story, such as the feathers woven into Huitaca’s dress and our illustrated owl on the back label, hinting at the mythological connection to owls and a play on the idea of taking flight into the night. When it came to crafting the wordmark, we took inspiration from South American shop signage (and you’ll find another feather hiding here, too).
All of the individual elements of our design were carefully crafted to provide Caleño with a suite of assets that can be used as part of the wider brand world including social media, retail, and in experiential and promotional contexts. Ellie has done an amazing job bringing the brand to life further using our shared creative vision.