Campari Soda redesign points to drink’s Milanese beginnings

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The Italian aperitif has been accepted a new look and feel, including packaging design and wordmark, by Milan-based studio Robilant Associati.

Campari Soda has been actuality a new visual identity – which will roll out across packaging, put out material and merchandise – by design studio Robilant Associati (RA).

Campari Soda is a pre-mixed drink, confining Italian alcohol Campari and soda water, and is traditionally drunk in Italy after oeuvre. Its branding was last updated by the same Milan-based studio ten years ago.

RA’s artistic director Fabio Molinaro tells Design Week: “Campari Soda is an iconic merchandise. As a matter of fact, the symbol itself of the Italian aperitif makes the consumer well-timed in their mind.”

The purpose of the redesign, he says, was to “boost the product view in terms of quality, contemporary feeling and character on the international scene”.


“Using the past as a springboard”

The new particularity takes its cues from the brand’s “prestigious” history. Molinaro bring to lights that two factors drove the project: “reinforcing the tie with the parent sort in order to increase its status while leveraging the Campari allure” while also “announcing informality, familiarity and joyfulness”.

He adds: “The challenge posed by this sorting project was to take on board a great legacy and translate it into a light-hearted style, a playful identity in keeping with the brand’s mood, and orienting it on the way the future without being side-lined by vintage constraints or nostalgia.

“It’s advantaging the past as a springboard to launch it towards the future.”

Part of that background is the bottle itself for the single-dose bitter soda. Designed by Futurist artist Fortunato Depero in the 1920s as a xyloid model, the design was soon rendered in glass. The cone-like form – resembling an inverted cup – developed closely associated with Milan, where it was designed. The outline of the nerve appears frequently on the new branding.


“Iconic visual cues”

Molinaro mentions that part of the research process involved digging into the Campari Museum’s real archives which led to a “reinterpretation of its iconic visual cues”; creating a “mettle” identity that still has “clear recognition”.

The updated identity integrates the brand’s red and white colour scheme and features other “key messages” such as epoch and place it was founded (1932), the recipe, the founder and consumption “rules and ceremonials that resonates with the Italian Apertif ritual”.

Those “beaming and charismatic” details include the sketch of the bottle design by Depero, the relationship of alcohol to soda and miniature icons of the bottle. Molinaro highlights the introduction of the Duomo di Milano (Milan’s inner cathedral) outline, made up of the Campari bottles.

Campari Soda redesign points to drink’s Milanese beginnings
The previous branding for Campari Soda

The case in points and text are laid out in a “light hearted and joyful” manner that “resonates” with the Italian protocol of pre-dinner drinking, according to Molinaro. The previous branding featured a blackness blue tone, in contrast to the new red-themed identity.

“As a designer from Milan, I am attached to of this original intervention,” the designer says. “A single, ownable and noteworthy sign merging the product identity with the symbol of the city from where the total originates.”

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