Design Provenance Today: Design For Our Desire To Discover

With people increasingly looking to explore new cultures, have experiences and self-affirming travels, how can brands use design to take provenance to the next level. 

As the wanderlust desire remains strong, consumers are yearning for escapism, discovery and adventure. Today, many consumers have new, non-linear patterns to purchase and these anti-conformist attitudes mean that for them, happiness is certainly not going to be driven by brands that don’t offer more to appease these experience led desires. 

Good and successful design has always embraced and brought to life brand provenance. But today, designers and brands are going a step further to help transport us into new worlds, bringing them to life through every touch-point. Here, we shine the spotlight on three brands that recognise and respond to our desire to experience the new.

 A New Discovery and unchartered territories

Building on the success of all things Scandinavian, Reyka is batch-produced vodka, distilled and filtered in Iceland. Despite being owned by William Grant & Sons, Reyka tells a truly authentic local story from Borgarnes, the small town which is home to the only distillery in Iceland. With a brand name translating as ‘Steam’, Reyka hero the provenance of their vodka, from the arctic spring water to the lava-rock filtration at the heart of their local production.
Reyka’s design highlights its Icelandic provenance across every touch point. The packaging design uses stark, sans serif typography and a monochromatic crisp colour palette. Their translated motif ‘Made in Iceland’ is at the heart of the pack, featuring the glyphs and letter styles typical to the Icelandic language, adding yet another layer of authenticity. The overall effect is one that instantly transports you to the glacial landscapes of Iceland.

Valuing authenticity more than ever, millennials will see through thin stories and question whether brands are truly sincere. It might have been enough to produce Icelandic-style vodka without the fuss of locating the production and distillery in another country, but William Grant & Sons have invested in a credible and compelling brand that resonates with today’s consumer as a result. This investment has given them a future platform to expand from with credibility and integrity.

The Local Jewel

As today’s consumers become more digitally and globally connected than ever before, many are instead embracing the efforts of brands to connect at a local level. With access to our most iconic global brands available at the swipe of an index finger, we are placing more value on brand interactions that feel specialised, tailored and unique to our locations and routines. 

The recently opened LA based restaurant Every Table offers a business model that is both contemporary and disruptive in its delivery. The chain has adapted the price of their locally made meals in line with the location’s socioeconomics, allowing those with more available income in one area to help out those with less in another. Colour blocking, bold typographic touches and neighbourhood-style photography are used in their branding to further represent their desire to feel accessible to and for the local community. 

Time Travel

With Millennials continuing to demonstrate a desire to discover novel experiences, many brands are responding with new products that play on the art of unearthing lost skills, crafts and rituals. 

The global beauty brand Lush Cosmetics recently launched its latest product innovation- solid mouthwash. These are tablets inspired by the traditional Japanese ritual of gargling. A custom that is said to have been around since the Heian period, ‘bukubuku’ (rinsing the mouth) and ‘garagara’ (rinsing the throat) gargling techniques have traditionally been used to cleanse of impurities after coming in from outside or following a meal. With three flavours, the Ugai variant is packed with Australian antibacterial tea tree, Atlantic sea salt and green tea powder, which is regarded as a medicinal herb in Japan. These ingredients add another layer of credibility and provenance to the product. By basing the ritual around the behaviours of a trusted Japanese generation, Lush has created both intrigue and confidence around a product experience that could otherwise be polarising. 

Designing provenance is not new. However, as consumers become brand savvier and engaged by desires of discovery, taking brand provenance to the next level through design and brand innovation is key. 

Read more about brands designing for both global and local audiences in our latest edition of design trends magazine Radar.