Water. It’s an essential liquid for all plants and animals on the planet. It’s a necessity. Without it, we wouldn’t be here for very long.
It’s the Romans who are credited with the creation and implementation of running tap water and indoor plumbing (though it can be traced back to the Egyptians in 2500BC). Since the Victorian age we’ve taken the humble tap water for granted. In the UK water was first treated and chlorinated in 1905. We drink it, we cook with it, we wash with it. We literally could not live without it.
Many people regard bottled water as a safer, cleaner alternative to tap water. Bottle water was originally sold as having health benefits from spas and wells. In the UK, bottled water was recorded for sale as early as 1622 by Malvern Water at the Holy Well. However tests in the US by the NRDC concluded that “there is no assurance that bottled water is any safer than tap water.” What started out as a purely therapeutic treatment, bottled water has now become much more than that. No longer is it as simple as marketing the health benefits and the image of well-being. What started as a volcano-purified, bottled natural-springwater product has grown to a multi-billion dollar global industry, from $157.27 billion dollars in 2013 up to $279.65 billion by 2020 according to a report by Transparency Market Research.
From essential packaging design to a luxury, desirable (even collectable) product. The design of bottled water and the marketing of it has led to more creative and diverse packaging designs and also in the number of brand partnerships with other companies, products, artists and designers. Bottled water is now seen as a symbol of status. It says something about your tastes, your status and your personality in much the same way as any other branded product, such as cars or clothing. It declares to the world ‘This is me, this is who I am and what I believe in.’ Brand partnerships demonstrate a mutual seal of approval of each other’s products and portray a like-minded ethos. It suggests a clear, transparent and environmentally aware brand character. Water has transcended form a mere commodity item into a luxury brand. Here are a few of our favourite designs:
Ty Nant are a Welsh company launched in 1989. The ‘ripple’ bottle, designed by Welsh-born designer Ross Lovegrove, has become something of a design classic. in 2003 it was named as the 8th ‘Coolest Thing in the World Right Now’ by ARENA magazine. The iconic rippled ice bottle has stood the test of time. Also by Ty Nant is the Tau spring water range featuring minimal single colour branding on a glass bottle for a more premium look.
Evian have worked with a number of leading fashion designers for many years including Paul Smith, Christian Lacroix, Jean Paul Gaultier, Diane-Von-Furstenberg, Issey Miyake and Kenzo to produce limited edition bottle designs which have become very popular and extremely sought after.
Love Limited Edition
The Love H2O Limited Edition range takes water from the Wenlock Spring in the Shropshire Hills, then adorns the plastic bottles with Swarovski Crystals and individually numbers them. They are renowned as the most expensive bottled water in the world. The full Swarovski Crystal encrusted bottle retails at a cool £999.99.
10 Thousand BC
A premium bottle containing ‘glacier water from the coast of Canada’ sealed with a reusable tea-cork stopper and a foil-wrapped top, like wine.
A short, stubby glass bottle with a typographic design. The water comes from a deep aquifer in New Zealand and is bottled at source. We particularly like the embossed motto running around the base of the bottle.
The iconic French brand have always been quirky and done things a little different. In 2010 they produced a limited edition range featuring burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese, and in 2014 created a ‘Street Art’ limited edition range.
Jon One designed the 330ml glass bottles, Sasu created the 500ml plastic bottles, and Kobra designed the slimline cans.
The 2015 packaging design is designed by just one artist, French Street Artist L’Atlas. The 2015 design is more sophisticated and uses geometric patterns.
Global drinks giants Coca-Cola has entered the market again too. Coca-Cola infamously launched Dasani in 2004 which was essentially purified tap water. In the UK, bromate (a suspected human carcinogen) was also found which could be harmful if consumed in large quantities. Coca-Cola immediately recalled half a million bottles and pulled the Dasani brand from the UK market and later in some of Europe too.
Last year they launched the all new hi-tech vapour-distiled Glaceau Smartwater.
Where can water go next?
What’s the next step in how to market this natural commodity? Nestlé have a portfolio of over 50 bottled water brands world-wide including Perrier, Buxton and Vittel. That’s an enormous portfolio for essentially one product – water. It shows how a product can diversify according to market and country, and tailor-made for every category area.
Another thing that is particularly astounding is that, as the cost of crude oil falls, bottled water will now cost more per litre than petrol or diesel. Is it worth that? Judging by the continued growth of the market and the rising prices for ‘designer water’, it would seem to many that the answer is ‘yes.’
Liv Design have created packaging design for Aldi’s own-brand bottled water, and produced numerous bottle packaging designs and concepts for Molson Coors brands including Carling Cider, Staropramen and Cobra.