Creating the perfect piece of packaging isn’t easy at the best of times – but when the product inside is a bottle of limited edition liquor it can be even harder. The pack should be a feast for the senses, represent the brand, denote a superior level of quality and, at the same time, never overshadow its precious contents.
The team from MW Luxury Packaging has spent many years manufacturing packaging for luxury products, and in their time they’ve learnt a thing or two about how the perfect pack is executed. We sat down with them to get their advice on creating luxury spirits packaging.
Tell a Story
In the experience of MW Senior Development Manager Nikki Gooderham, incorporating a story into a pack during the design stage is essential.
Maybe the pack information delves into the distillery’s history, or perhaps the imagery comes together to evoke a particular moment in time – whatever the case, building a pack around a story is one of things that helps elevate it to the category of luxury. In Gooderham’s words, storytelling is a way of “enhancing the consumer’s perception of quality, exclusivity and uniqueness”.
Engage the Senses
The MW team believe that the best luxury packs have appeal on a multi-sensory level. Gooderham has described how “the cold metallic feel of a still embodied in a bold metal band, or a heavily embossed weave across paper” can help draw the consumer into the story, connecting them with both the product and the brand.
MW COO Toby Wilson, meanwhile, has talked about the unique importance of the sensorial experience – the click of a metal clasp opening, or the soft knock of wood sliding against wood (as we saw in the unique pack MW manufactured for Roe & Co whiskey).
Taking the consumer on a sensory journey is all well and good but – as Managing Director of the Americas Dustin Wills will tell you – it’s all for nothing if the pack doesn’t function on a practical level.
Packaging for luxury spirits has to protect its precious contents, and using the right materials is key. EVA high-density foam is one great way of ensuring that glass bottles stay snug and safe within the container. Removable fitments are another big plus on the functionality front; allowing the pack to be adapted for display, transit or storage allows – in the words of Wills – “a secondary use and life for the consumer”.
Focus on the Details
In 2015, the MW team manufactured the packaging for seven of Diageo’s nine Special Release Single Malt Whiskies. The key to the success of these packs, according to Toby Wilson, was the attention to detail in both the design and the final execution. Subtle touches like crafted typography, debossing and spot gloss varnish added visual and textural appeal, whilst showing what made each whisky so unique.
Convey Status & Value
When buying a luxury product, the expectation on the consumer’s part is that the item carries unique status. This expectation can be met through endorsement or personalisation from a respected individual – with MW’s pack for Johnnie Walker & Sons’ Mastery of Oak, the signature of Diageo’s Master Blender was incorporated into the design, significantly boosting its value.
Another fantastic way of instilling value is to include product numbering; knowing that you possess one of only 1000 limited editions packs gives it an exclusive, collectible element.
The last piece of advice MW had for us? To always be pushing the boundaries and experimenting with innovative new manufacturing techniques and materials. A little bit of ingenuity can make all the difference.