Hard kombucha products are a recent addition to the alcoholic beverage market and have grown rapidly over the last five years. Many of the existing companies have attempted to replicate the success of hard tonic brands (like White Claw) by targeting younger consumers with trendy branding and cheaper ingredients. How might we leverage visual design to target our consumers and differentiate from our competitors?
An upscale kombucha product that uses distinctive brand positioning and visual design to reach a previously untapped market.
This project began with an open-ended challenge to introduce a new alcoholic beverage that would exploit a current market trend. In addition to creating a concept, we were tasked with creating a brand—including a design system, marketing copy, website, packaging, and advertising. To narrow the scope of the task, I started by focusing on a growing product (hard kombucha) and researching the industry as it currently stands. 

The global hard kombucha market is expected to grow during the next five years from 144 million USD in 2020 to 1.2 billion USD by 2026 with most growth centered in the North American market. Nearly all of the industry leading brands have been established in the last 5 years. The success of hard kombucha relies upon its positioning at the center of several trends: a desire for healthier options, a movement away from hard alcohol, and a growing consumer interest in brands that align with social causes.
I started by collecting secondary research about the industry and exploring some established brands for guidance. I  took a look at the websites and advertising for Wild Tonic, Luna Bay Booch, Tura, Jiant, Flying Embers, Kyla, JuneShine, Kombrewcha, and Boochcraft. Generally speaking, these companies share the following brand positioning:
1. Health conscious: probiotic, plant-based, gluten free, made with fresh-pressed USDA organic fruit, vegan, low sugar, lower calorie options
2. Fun: advertised as the perfect companion for a summer afternoon, concert, picnic, or at the bar. Perfect for parties
3. Socially engaged: most of these companies pledge a fixed amount of their profits to support a charitable cause
Many existing hard kombucha brands also share similar visual design attributes across their packaging and advertising:
1. Pastel colors: light and bright, a reminder of summer
2. Floral patterns: flowers and fruit are used in everything from intricate drawings to abstract shapes
3. Playful typefaces and copy: an attempt appeal to the Gen Z aesthetic with Playfair style typefaces, witty health claims, and heavy focus on lifestyle photography with an eye towards Instagram
I created a moodboard and collected reference images to define a visual style that would conform to industry standards while also exploring a distinctive art direction. During the process, I landed on the following attributes to define a working concept for the brand:  adventurous, honest, natural, and surprising.
This upscale canned kombucha is targeted towards sophisticated and curious consumers that appreciate craft ingredients and complex cocktails. The visual design elements feature simple geometric forms, palm tree patterns, and a gold can to throw in some Art Deco flair.
We believe that curiosity should be rewarded. That’s why we carefully craft our kombucha to produce complex, rich flavors that are equally delicious over ice or mixed into a cocktail.
HOOCH + BOOCH offers sophisticated brews for drinkers looking for a balance of adventure and health. Our products are defined by their complexity and small-batch craft—the perfect antidote to the ordinary.
Guided by my concept board, I developed a series of shapes, colors, and patterns that would translate into a distinctive can design. I combined rich, dark blues with vibrant accent colors to produce a scalable color system for flavor variants and seasonal offerings.
Next, I developed a set of simple, geometric graphics inspired by Spanish tile designs. These icons are used to differentiate flavors and extend brand recognition across physical and digital consumer touch points.
The design for the HOOCH + BOOCH can was defined by a series of iterations over the course of 3 weeks. The process was aided by a weekly focus group of peers—many of whom are within the target demographic—that refined the visual expression of the brand. Surprisingly, the most difficult part of the design process was finding a suitable PSD mockup.
Like other touch points, the site was designed to promote HOOCH + BOOCH as an upscale product and to differentiate it from other brands by marketing it as a premium cocktail ingredient. The imagery, copy, and visual design is guided by the "sip and explore" concept—creating a rich and unmistakeable experience for the consumer.
HOOCH + BOOCH is a product developed to fit a niche: the perfect kombucha cocktail. To this end, everything from the color selection to the marketing copy has been crafted to differentiate HOOCH + BOOCH from competing products and create a recognizable and scalable brand.

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