Crit* Absolut London

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Every week, we revisit the previous week's #1 post, with a Crit by Richard Baird.

Absolut is a brand of premium vodka produced in the Skåne region of Southern Sweden and owned by the French company Pernod Ricard. This year, as part of a new limited edition global ‘Cities’ campaign, the brand has launched Absolut LONDON. Illustrated by Jamie Hewlett the bottle is a celebration of British fashion and creativity executed as a series of period characters that include a Dickensian gent, 18th Century Dandy, Pinstripe gent, 60’s chick and 80’s Casual.

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"Designed by London creative and visionary Jamie Hewlett, the bottle is a unique take on London’s style and fashion pioneers over the past 200 years. "London has such a fascinating and rich history which has inspired me over the years. For ABSOLUT London I chose to re-create 7 iconic characters from different eras who are largely defined by their style as well as their impactful contribution to London's culture at the time." says Jamie Hewlett.

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The illustration confidently mixes Jamie’s strong jawed and distinctive character work (synonymous with his comic book creation Tank Girl and virtual band Gorillaz), with a looser sketched aesthetic reminiscent of the classic pencil and watercolour work of British artists Peggy Fortnum (Paddington Bear) and satirist Ronald Searle (St Trinnian’s). Each character has been expertly rendered with plenty of detail and expression while their mixed profile and three-quarter style delivers a good sense of movement around the bottle.

The photographic quality of the background architecture neatly juxtaposes the handcrafted quality of the characters and introduces the theme of London’s changing skyline (and perhaps its evolving cultural identity) through a smart composition that draws together historical landmarks, such as Big Ben and St Paul's and contemporary structures such as The Shard and ‘The Ghurkin’. The traditional blue, red and white of the Union Jack has been nicely saturated giving it a sophisticated and fashion led sensibility and avoids the cheap aesthetic of a London souvenir.

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The application of the illustration across the bottle takes full advantage of Absolut’s minimal approach to packaging layouts, converting it into a playful and expressive canvas while developing the brand’s more unconventional but premium proposition.

Opinion by Richard Baird

Twitter @richbaird