Malus Hard Apple Cider

The makers of Malus Hard Apple Cider approached me to design a Look for their fledgling brand that would appeal to a young, fresh audience — those adventurous types who have spent some time exploring the world of craft wine and beer, and are branching out into the "harder" world of craft cider. As this was a new label, and there were no existing brand perception problems to address, the possibilities were endless when it came to conceptualizing their Look. The makers wanted the end-product to be perceived as artistic, and clever, which would appeal to their "off-the-beaten-path" audience. 

In botanical jargon, Malus is the genus name for the apple tree. The makers chose this name in-part, for obvious reasons, and in-part to play with the homophone malus / malice. We decided to explore concepts that would highlight the apple, but weave in the idea of 'malice' in the form of temptation—à la the story of Adam and Eve. Incorporating the idea of temptation into the label, was a way to play with the rebellious nature of the name and the perceived audience, and play up the "tempting" and delicious nature of the product. The concepts I presented ranged in visual "sinfulness" from overt to subtle.

Since both men have a background in wine making, and approach cider making from that vantage point, they chose to bottle the cider in a traditional 750ml burgundy-style bottle, rather than the 330ml microbrew-style glass.  

Concept A - Eve

A vintage pin-up girl, eyeing a delicious apple that has fallen to the ground, while she innocently adjusts her strappy little stilettos. Is further explanation needed here?


Concept B - The Serpent

We all know that the Serpent is the real culprit in the story. In this concept, a woodcut illustration style is used to create the serpent, whose body forms the outline of an apple. It is less "suggestive" than the previous concept, but still right in line with the targeted perception — artistic, with a hint of clever. 


Concept C - The Apple

In this concept, the label takes a more elegant artistic approach. Inspired by vintage botanical illustrations, the central focus here is on a more realistic rendering of the apple. It has an old-time feel, with that sneaky snake making a subtle appearance in the background. 

In the end, concept C was the winner. They loved the idea of the vintage botanical illustration, with the vibrantly-colored apple, and the shadow of a snake receding into the background. The layered elements — distressed paper texture in the background, the translucent genus name in the foreground, and the dictionary-style entry running vertically up the side — helped to represent the rich, layered flavor-profile of their product, and position them as a tempting choice on-shelf.  

Until the next post,


Brenda CornettComment