From static to moving. A new age for pack design beckons

by Igor Astrologo

Are we on the brink of a golden age in graphic design?

A couple of years ago we designed a holographic label for Olmeca Tequila to celebrate its collaboration with trance DJ Ferry Corsten. The intention was to replicate the flashy, changing colours of strobe lights and laser beams on the dance floor. We were proud of the fact that our label looked active, dynamic and cutting edge.

However, such is the pace of technical and technological development today, that Parker Williams‘ new electroluminescent design for Ballantine’s Finest whisky makes our holographic experiment look, well, a little dated. See for yourself. Here

Like Olmeca,  Ballantine’s is owned by Chivas Brothers. Like Ballantine’s the design was intended to overcome the challenge of making a black bottle stand out on shelf or, even better, in a dark night club bar.

Turning to electroluminescent technology (conductive ink and sub strata that light up when a small charge is passed through), they have produced what is effectively an animated display. Each individual bottle can shimmer and sparkle at will. But even more powerfully, when several bottles are wired together, according to Design Week, they can be customised to create an animated sequence.

The Ballantine’s display is wired up to the sound system and flickers in time to the music like a graphic equaliser then the ‘B’ flickers on and off.



The effect is absolutely magical and turns a row of bottles into what is really a screen. It’s a step on from the Bombay Sapphire bottles created by Webb deVlam last autumn which illuminates when picked up. And it is several leaps ahead of the lenticular displays that until very recently were being hailed as the future of labelling.

All this technological development has created the most exciting period in branding design since four colour process printing. Like the moving portraits on the walls of Hogwarts in Harry Potter, the distinction between the page and the screen is being blurred. Designers now have a canvas in which they can bring not only packaging but all sorts of printed material to life, allowing us to work in 4D for the first time.

Imagine the potential, not only for individual packs, but merchandising, posters, and even printed materials. I love the idea of rows or threads of numbers moving or lighting up in a financial report. Or posters in which elements change. Or shelf wobblers that ‘wobble’.

             The creative potential offered by technology is immense.

Bring it on I say.

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