SunHouse Creative has designed the face of the UK’s first ‘cartonised’ water ahead of its relaunch next month.
The entrepreneur behind Just Drinking Water’s consumer brand Aquapax, Neil Tomlinson, says he hopes the product, packaged in a lightweight recyclable Tetra Prisma Aseptic 500ml unit, will revolutionise the water market by offering an ‘ecologically sound’ alternative to plastic bottled brands.
He says, ‘I was a director of South East Water, responsible for communicating the message that there’s nothing wrong with tap water, but all the while demand for bottled water was going mad. If you can’t beat the market, then you can change it.
‘What I’m selling is a convenience beverage that has half the carbon footprint of conventional bottled water. Juices have an even greater footprint than bottled water. You can even re-use and re-seal the carton and take it to the gym,’ Tomlinson adds.
Bristol branding consultancy SunHouse Creative took on the project last year, having approached Tomlinson to offer him design advice on his nascent product after seeing it in retailer Whole Foods Market.
‘I got an e-mail saying it was attracted by the difference of the product, but felt the execution didn’t do it justice. All the consumer feedback that we had was the same, so I knew I had to do something with it,’ explains Tomlinson, who worked with students at the University of Sussex, looking at how to revamp his original packaging design.
Because of the lack of any budget for packaging or design, SunHouse forfeited the fee and worked on a pro bono basis in return for complete creative freedom and an on-pack credit for the design, according to Nina Davies, director of SunHouse Creative.
She says, ‘We felt compelled to help Neil to bring it to life with a more inspiring design. Opportunities to have complete creative freedom with a product you strongly believe in, and want to support, do not come along everyday. SunHouse now has a vested interest in the success of Aquapax – after all, our name is on the pack, so the more people who see it the better. It may turn out to be the most lucrative form of payment we could hope for.’
Tomlinson adds, ‘I simply couldn’t afford a redesign in a conventional way. Whatever I spent on design would have removed my ability to promote the product.’
The on-pack graphics feature a dramatic change from the original design, which, Davies says, resembled a ‘sports drink’. The new pack features a colour palette of light and dark blues, with craft-like detailing.
‘Aquapax’s challenge is made even harder by the fact that you cannot see the water. Rather than trying to compensate for this with a lot of intrinsic visual cues, the graphic style breaks from category norms and has been crafted with a premium feel,’ says Davies.
Other water initiatives
December 2008: Industrial designer Neil Barron’s Tap Top won the London on Tap carafe design competition to encourage Londoners to drink more tap water. It is going on sale to London’s restaurants, bars and cafés this spring
July 2008: Provokateur launched ‘ethical venture’ Tap, which promotes tap water by associating it with mineral water
February 2008: London design consultancy OPX created the identity and campaign for the London On Tap competition