It may be the world's oldest known alcoholic beverage, but saké is still a rising discovery in the United States. Just by looking at the typography and storytelling on the labels of saké bottles, it's apparent that the rice-based beverage is steeped in tradition and Japanese roots. In the U.S., however, this strong association with tradition has perhaps hindered saké from growing beyond the restaurant experience. Thus, inspiring the question, how can we shine a light on saké for American consumers?
SoGood Saké is a super-premium saké with the mission to promote new occasions and food-pairing experiences. Made with rice that is grown, milled and perfected in California by the farmers who founded it, the SoGood brand controls production end-to-end.
SoGood Saké produces two types of all natural, gluten free saké – Ginjo (Premium) and Daiginjo (Super Premium). Each of which offer a smooth, crisp and refreshing flavor.
Why can't the spirit made from rice be as equally versatile as the foods we make with the same grain?
Creating SoGood Saké meant honoring saké's heritage and tradition and incorporating added associations and emotional cues appealing to American consumers. Just as we've intertwined age-old elements of milling and distilling saké with modern design cues, we want consumers to feel compelled to experiment with pairings whether they're sweet, spicy or savory. Saké is like an intermediary between wine and a spirit – a versatility that we imbued into the personality and look of the brand.
SoGood Saké's identity tells a vibrantly layered and symbolic story of saké with a bold, straight-up offering.
With a sturdy, stacked logo we distilled two key principles of the brand through design: democratizing a drink rich in tradition and appealing to the American's desire for discovery. The bold logotype emphasizes "Saké" to make the brand offering clear, while the accent over the letter "e" in saké playfully connects the two lines of the logo. The gold accent, which is actually designed as a grain of rice, becomes an essential brand element that establishes recognition in the identity and extends itself through the entirety of the product and indeed, the brand design.
The use of red, blue, white and gold to represent the golden fields of rice from where it came, gives SoGood Saké vibrancy across digital, packaging and print touchpoints. Above all, visualizing the idea of shining a light on a new tradition of an iconic Japanese brew.
Implicit in the design are symbols that tell the story of the SoGood Saké brand and lifestyle.
We began with the rice grain as the inspiration – by celebrating it and activating it as the accent over the 'e' as well as a golden asset that shines throughout the label.
Product attributes are featured on the neck of the bottle, providing consumers with added information specific to saké and to SoGood at the point-of-sale.
The label is one example of the use of bold, geometric shapes that at first appear to be abstract, but upon closer inspection are parts of a larger scene. On the Ginjo and Daiginjo labels, golden fields of rice are depicted as waves running perpendicular to a rice grain that stands upright like the silhouette of a surfboard. The setting sun on the label symbolizes the milled grain of rice that remains after milling the rice into a fine pearl.
The bottle's gold cap unites the structure with the gold foil printed on each label. Combined, the refined design and spirit tell the story of SoGood Saké – a brand that's ready to re-write the rules.