Take 5... Design's top mineral water packaging

One category. Every two weeks. Five of the world’s most charismatic designs.

Welcome to Take 5 where The Drum, along with jones knowles ritchie (JKR) Singapore strategy director Katie Ewer, take a bi-weekly look at some of the design industry’s best imagined packaging design where you, the reader, are in control.

Every other Friday we’ll pick a theme and ask you to submit the design you feel deserves a top spot. You’ll have one week to get your entries in, the votes will be counted and the best of lot will be published the following Friday. (Make sure you scroll down to find out the next topic winging its way).

But back to today's theme, water; the ultimate commodity and a category of identical products with no differentiating product characteristics discernible to the average human being. And as a result an extremely innovative field for creative branding.

Ty Nant

Ty Nant’s now iconic ripple effect water bottle took the market by storm when it launched in the 1990s. For every ounce of praise the design earned, it took an equal amount of flak. "Poorly branded", "no standout", "a gimmick".

Really of course, the brand’s equity is in the bottle shape, not in a conventional paper wrap label, giving it more standout than almost all of its competitors. "You need to start everything afresh, like you know nothing", said its designer Ross Lovegrove. Which explains why this design was so refreshingly counter-conventional.

Kirin

While Ty Nant eschews convention by building its brand on a purely structural equity, Kirin’s packs favour a decorative styling over the formulaic ‘logo + image of a mountain’ approach. It’s wonderful, it’s whimsical, it’s confident, it’s quirky. And that totally makes up for the boring bottle shape.

Fiji

The water-as-accessory brand most favoured by Hollywood celebs, Fiji wins the prize for most exotic packaging (and perceived biggest carbon footprint). The square bottle and slightly tacky South Pacific hoola vibe somehow resonated with those of us who had become tired of French volcanic spring water and Icelandic glacial springs. More exotic, please! Next up, water from Mars?

Aquapax

Non-carbonated (still) mineral water sells itself on purity, which is why covering up your product is such a bold move. But Aquapax’s eco-friendly card packs are beautifully different, with a rich, maximalist aesthetic that feels like it shares more ground stylistically with Italian aperitivo brands than bottled water. A brand that looks good, as well as makes you feel good about giving back...What’s not to love?

Evian ‘drop’ bottle

How damn cute is this little thing? Evian’s drop bottle (or La Goutte) comes in a diminutive 200ml PET bottle and has all its legal and mandatory information in the lid label. The curves of the bottle profile contrast beautifully with the angular serrations of the Evian mountain motif, embossed in the bottle material. It’s small and sexy but it’s also smart: it’s easy to crush and therefore to recycle.

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