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FOR ITS DEBUT HOLIDAY GIFT, New York City–based ThoughtMatter wanted to create something that was useful, not just beautiful. “We also wanted to be sure that our gift could live beyond the winter holidays, thinking ahead to spring and summer cocktails,” says client services director Martha Kirby.
The design studio worked with Hudson Valley’s Field Apothecary to identify unexpected flavor profiles that were made into herbal, floral and curry bitters. The goal was to create something that demonstrated ThoughtMatter’s packaging design capabilities and exemplified the ethos of the studio. So the design team hand-illustrated herbs and created a palette to distinguish each flavor, with each set resting in a custom die-cut tray inside a shallow box with a sleeve. Letterpress printing highlighted the tooth of the paper used for the bottle labels and box, and the messaging reflected the craft of both the bitters and packaging. “We built and wrapped all of the boxes by hand in our studio rather than outsourcing,” Kirby says. “As designers, we tend to be perfectionists and wanted the boxes to be just the right size rather than designing to fi t a stock size.” The packaging design process also allowed ThoughtMatter to explore different printing techniques, color palettes and hand-drawn type styles.
From concept to mail pick-up, the gift took about four months to produce, including the brewing of the bitters by Field Apothecary, working with a mixologist to develop custom cocktail recipes, and printing.
The project embodies the ThoughtMatter philosophy of an artful perspective and the firm’s belief in working with craftspeople and experts to deliver a genuine, purposeful gift. “It was very important to work with Field Apothecary on custom flavor profiles for the bitters as opposed to buying bitters in a store and relabeling them,” Kirby says. “Equally important was creating custom cocktail recipes with an expert mixologist and truly tailoring the experience to the end-user.”
Kirby says ThoughtMatter received many emails, calls and handwritten notes from clients exclaiming how great the idea was and how much they love making custom cocktails at home. “It seemed to really tap into a desire,” she adds.
Title Thoughtfully Considered Bitters Packaging | Design Firm/Client ThoughtMatter, New York City; www.thought matter.com | Creative Team Trenton Kenagy, creative director; Steve Baust, designer/illustrator; Emeka Patrick, copywriter; Whitney Burnett, producer | Printer Aldine