Wieden+Kennedy Draws A Blank

Blank Label Provides Opportunity For Community Groups

Mexican American spirits brand Casa Lumbre has tapped Wieden+Kennedy to design The Community Spirit, a vodka line supporting “hyperlocal, community based initiatives.” Based around the premise of a blank label – to be used as a space to amplify community initiatives – the project presents Wieden+Kennedy with the unique challenge of designing around an empty space and keeping conventional branding away from much of the work. The design agency collaborated with Bráulio Amado for illustrations and type, Vanessa Granda for photography, and No Ideas for website design on the project.

Faced with a client who wants to be more “impactful than the 10% donation model that cause-based brands typically utilize,” Wieden+Kennedy attempted to find ways to exploit Casa Lumbre to redirect marketing dollars to other causes. To let the brand recede and the causes come to the forefront, the blank label is paired with a minimal, industrial type treatment; subsequent editions will be “interrupted” with expressive illustration work. Thus, the agency came up with the concept of using illustrative imagery on the label and “this notion of a series of artists being the conduits for different causes,” says design director Justin Flood.

All other branding on The Community Spirit bottle is moved to the neck tag. In a layer of three tags in different stocks, the logo is featured, then an “annual report” to hold the brand accountable for its actions with featured causes, then a sticker layer, changing with each new artist. Throughout, the color palette remains monochromatic.

The Community Spirit’s first campaign takes the form of a list of demands for hospitality workers in New York City, in partnership with five local non-profits, titled Project 86. Amado delivered type, creating a hand-rendered version for each demand, as well as a Project 86 logo. The studio has yet to introduce what the next label artwork filling the space will be. Says Flood: “For the moment, we’re hoping that the blank label will just feel striking on the shelf and hint at what’s to come.”