Sayah Spekkoeklikeur, a “Dutch delight with an Indonesian twist”, is a brand of alcoholic beverage containing trademark Indonesian herbs, made according to traditional Dutch methods.
Apparently, it’s not just their packaging that’s award-winning. The product itself has won the silver medal award at the International Wine and Spirit Competition in London.
Its bottle design is the work of Alterego, a creative branding agency from Den Haag, Netherlands.
The unique Sayah Spekkoeklikeur package design is deeply rooted in the liquor maker’s origins. The “1796” embossed on the bottle’s neck refers to a special year in the maker’s family history. Presumably, the recipe for this beverage dates back to this year.
The bottle’s sturdy, circular design features a very thick, colorless glass that helps the liquor's original silvery color come to the forefront in all its glory.
The black label features various Indonesian-style elements such as the “wajang” doll and the “batik” print pattern. This, coupled with the distinct Dutch industrial design and bottle’s unique cut, forms a harmony of elements from the two countries whose historical bonds go back a long way.
Possibly the most special touch is the “spekkoek” design cue, hidden in the back label’s pattern. It is only visible if you look through the diamond shape on the bottle’s front label.
The typography and ornaments are also packed with references to Indonesian culture and heritage.
To an untrained eye, Sayah Spekkoeklikeur package design can be quite pedestrian and lacking in flair.
However, there are myriads of subtle nods to the Indonesian-Dutch heritage, contemporary bottle design trends and everything in between that keep popping up in various details.
For a start, the intricate wavy pattern in amber color, inherent to Indonesian culture, is embedded into the bottle’s interior. The design of the pattern reveals new details every time a consumer studies the bottle up close.
Then, there is the hand-painted illustration on the etiquette tied to the neck of the bottle, with its effective white lines on black background.
Finally, both the typeface and the bottle label design hide their own treasure trove of features – all of which we will discuss in this article. Let’s get to it!
The typography used on the Sayah Spekkoeklikeur package design is fully tailored to the brand and is inspired by the shapes of the Indonesian letters.
The official font name is unknown, but as a one-off, it is unlikely to be repeated on a product design - especially given the strong historical links with the client’s nationality.
However, it should be pointed out that this distinctive font is only used once, in the beverage’s brand name. The rest of the label copy uses a more conventional sans-serif typeface in a much smaller point size.
As mentioned previously, Sayah Spekkoeklikeur’s bottle has a rounded shape – the bottom is flat while the neck consists of fully parallel lines and no curvatures whatsoever. The bridge between the body and the neck comes at a very steep angle, resulting in an “edgy” overall look.
Rather than offset this festival of straight lines the bottle’s shape, Alterego opted to follow suit with the label design as well.
The central label, featuring the name of the brand, adopts a rectangular, “diamond” shape, while the bottom label is shaped as a ribbon – again, following a strict geometrical set of lines.
The main label’s quirk is that it has a small diamond-shaped cut near the bottom – a simple yet interesting detail that makes the overall design so much more appealing.
The synergy of the bottle shape and the label design(s) creates a very sturdy-looking, symmetrical package design that stands out on any retail shelf.
Plenty of knowledge, history and craft goes into producing Sayah’s trademark beverage – and the same can be said for Sayah Spekkoeklikeur package design.
Balancing the fine line between legacy and modernity, the outstanding job by Alterego may well set the tone for the future of the bottle design industry.
Just like how the beverage is a melting pot of vastly different and yet closely related cultures, this package also blends various elements from industrial design, ethnic patterns and modern-day aesthetics.
The bottle's functionality is not sacrificed for its outstanding looks – or vice versa, which is one of the reasons why Sayah Spekkoeklikeur package design by Alterego merits DesignRush’s Best Design Award.