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The Handcrafted Modern & Slender Design to Säde Schnapps

by Theresa Christine Johnson on 11/29/2017 | 5 Minute Read

There’s no mistaking it: Säde is Nordic-inspired, through and through. Designed by KOOR, these flavorful schnapps don’t use a bunch of artificial ingredients but instead turn to nature for their unique, fresh flavors. It only makes sense, then, to have packaging inspired by nature as well. We spoke with KOOR to get more info on the meaning behind the name, the effort spent on handcrafted details, and more.

Walk us through the design process that you went through for this project.

KOOR: Säde has a bit longer story behind its “birth”. Säde’s origins are rooted actually in a restaurant called Umami—owned by two wonderful guys (both foodies by nature), award-winning sommelier Kristjan Päeske and head chef Janno Leppik. Their idea behind this restaurant is to offer exquisite high-quality food using fresh and seasonal raw materials. They play around with interesting ingredients and match their drinks for it.

Sometimes it means they need to create their own drinks to match the characteristic of their food.

Their homemade liqueur got pretty popular in the restaurant and Kristjan and Janno saw a strong case to sell it in retail. A few years passed and their paths crossed with us in KOOR in their search for packaging design. Our team clicked from the first heartbeat as we were also consumers for that drink and frequent visitors of their restaurant. As first we agreed that the brand, packaging, naming has to reflect their ideology how they do things—purity, high quality and freshness—with a small twist.

So we chose the name Säde (“spark” in English) for various reasons, a major one being as the fruit gave it's “last spark of life” to become the drink.

The restaurant's food (and indeed drinks) are produced using Nordic ingredients and in the increasingly popular and recognised nordic culinary style—so we wanted to reflect this nordic purity and freshness and applied a fitting stylistic and personality to the art direction. It was fitting that the natural element of the product was proudly portrayed in a way that reflected the artisanal nature of the product.

This inspired the naturally derived prints that feature of the packaging design as representative of the handcrafting that goes into producing every small batch of the drink. Additionally, there is extensive copywriting, so we decided to call it schnapps instead of “berry liqueur” to avoid category preconceptions, and to tie further into nordic drinking culture.

What was one of the biggest goals you set out to achieve with Säde packaging and how did you accomplish it?

KOOR: We wanted the packaging to represent the natural and pureness of the drink whilst giving a strong indication of which part of the world this drink was from through its Nordic influenced stylistic. The leaf and wood motifs were created from carefully crafted ink prints and digital photographs, taken from the very trees and bushes the fruits were grown on. Some of the trees were damaged during a storm and we thought it would be a good idea to "capture their last spark (Säde)” in that way.

How does the nordic influence make this product unique, and how did you try to express that in the packaging?

KOOR: Design from the north of Europe and indeed Nordic style—it tends to be about purity of form and clarity with an edge toward minimalism and a modern look. We wanted to inject this into the product, with the pure white base offset with styled black prints and typographic and layout choices that take cues from nordic design. It was important to make this product feel contemporary and fresh—shrugging off the more classical and traditional approaches with similar products in the category. We felt the purity of design language fitted the drink very well—due to only natural ingredients being added.

What was the most challenging part of this project?

KOOR: The most challenging part was actually a bit technical as it was very hard to find a stock 350ml bottles in such a small volume, and we had a very specific bottle in mind as it had to look very pure and natural in it's form: modern, tall and slender.

Also the hours crafting the leaf and wood motifs took considerable care and attention to detail to get the result we wanted. Many photographs and ink prints were made, leaving a lot of inky hands at the studio!

If you could pick one aspect of the finished design that you like the most or feel especially proud of, what would it be and why?

KOOR: How we have taken something very old fashioned as a drink and made it something contemporary, fresh, and relevant, which we feel suits the product very well. It was also our utmost passion to  bring this great product into the limelight and open up its larger market potential through a considered and logical design thought processes. The fact that the sales vastly exceeded the client's expectations makes us very happy, as always.

Share one lesson that you learned while developing the finished product.

KOOR: Go out, talk to people, take interest in how they really think and how they approach their business, and you can achieve amazing results.

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