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Løiten Aquavit

We have created a new and iconic design for Løiten Aquavit, reconnecting the legacy of the brand to a new generation of drinkers. The goal for the redesign was to unify the range of Aquavits and reassess the position as "The original Norwegian Aquavit”, celebrating the quintessence of Løiten and it's Norwegian origins. After in-depth research in the distillery archive, layers of history previously not accessible to the consumer has been brought to the surface, and a sense of pride has been reintroduced to the brand.

Løiten brænderi was founded in 1855, as a collaboration between small farm distilleries in the area. In 1874, Løiten Brænderi’s Destillation was established in Oslo, to refine the spirit with herbs and spices. the new Løiten identity contains hand-crafted elements and design elements that weren’t previously part of the brand. The result brings the products together as a family and reconnects the brand to its audience with the richness and authenticity of Løitens extraordinary history.

The scope of the project was to visually unite the Løiten aquavites and communicate the values and story of the Løiten brand platform. The range of four products appeared fragmented and inconsistent, with no brand name, mark or label shape consistent to unify the range. We wanted to create a stronger and more intuitive range, but maintain the products individual personality.

The label architecture contributes to unite and at the same time allow for diversification respecting the honest and uncomplicated expression of the Løiten brand essence. A bespoke font was designed to represent Løitens past and tradition with a true Norwegian accent.

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New design

The drinking horn is one of the oldest drinking accessories used by the Vikings and later by aristocracy and farmers alike. The use of the Løiten mark on the products had been inconsistent. We chose to develop the new mark from the version most used between 1870 and 1927. This original version retains a romantic and celebratory finesse — a quality that gets lost in the more simplified version after the acquisition of Vinmonopolet (1927).

The font is inspired by the previous Løiten "Tre Stjerner" label which holds 100% the Løiten traits. The original "s" finale in the brand name is removed and the new logo is also placed on a straight horizontal line for a stronger impression.

The drinking horn
  1. During the national romantic period (1855-1860) drinking horns became popular as a token of acknowledgement or reward ("erkjentlighetsgave"). Drinking horns are known from Classical Antiquity especially the Balkans, and remained in use for ceremonial purposes throughout the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period in some parts of Europe and since the Viking Age Scandinavia. In the Prose Edda, Thor drank from a horn that unbeknown to him contained all the seas.
  2. Earlier version of a Løiten label (late 19th century).
  3. Detail of a document specimen from 1890 from the Løiten archive.
  4. Extract from the research on the Løiten Mark. Three different versions were in use on the three different products — Tre Stjerner, Linie and Sommer.

Aquavit is a distilled spirit that is principally produced in Scandinavia, where it has been produced since the 15th century. Aquavit is distilled from grain and potatoes and is flavoured with a variety of herbs. The word aquavit comes from the Latin aqua vitae, “water of life.” Aquavit is an important part of Nordic drinking culture, where it is often enjoyed during festive gatherings, such as Christmas dinners and weddings, and as an aperitif. The Sommer Aquavit is a lighter aquavit for the long Nordic summer nights.

The Land of the Midnight Sun

The midnight sun is a natural phenomenon that occurs in the summer months in places north of the Arctic Circle or south of the Antarctic Circle, when the sun remains visible at the local midnight. When the midnight sun is seen in the Arctic, the sun appears to move from left to right, but in Antarctica the equivalent apparent motion is from right to left. In Svalbard, Norway, the northernmost inhabited region of Europe, there is no sunset from approximately 19 April to 23 August.

The phenomenon has made a lasting impression on several Norwegian artists and writers. This excerpt is from Knut Hamsun’s Pan (1894): “Night was coming on again; the sun just dipped into the sea and rose again, red, refreshed, as if it had been down to drink. I could feel more strangely on those nights than anyone would believe.”

We wanted to preserve the summer atmosphere, but introduce a more Scandinavian summer feeling. We chose to develop the sunset theme by also introducing a swan. The swan is a symbol of light, wisdom and dignity. In alchemy, it symbolises the purity of the product. An image of five swans was also used as a symbol of the Nordic countries on stamps.

Mythologized depictions of nature can be found in much of the literature and visual art of the 1890s. Nature was portrayed as something infinite and sublime. The philosophy of symbolism was in many ways a reaction to the rapidly emerging and complicated urban lifestyle, a social development that in many artist and intellectuals gave rise to a yearning for “the primitive” and “the natural”.

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