Pavement Takes a Shot and Designs a Tequila Brand

Pavement is an Oakland CA-based creative studio specializing in packaging and branding identities, so it was only natural that when the firm decided to usher in the New Year with a studio promotion they did it by creating a brand from top to … bottoms up!

Pavement Principal and Creative Director Michael Hester said the brand Pavimento Tequila was created as a limited run gift to share with existing and prospective clients.


Why tequila? “We specifically chose tequila because it felt like a spirit where not a lot of design innovation had taken place in recent years. Whiskey is the hot spirit of the moment, so we thought we’d try something different. Tequila inherently lends itself to tradition, craftsmanship and old world charm, which we were interested in exploring,” said Hester. A wise choice by Pavement as the rapidly growing interest in craft cocktails is also impacting the growth of tequila. Technavio analysts forecast a 3.67 annual growth rate for the US tequila market from 2016-2020.

Designing the packaging for Pavimento was a labor of love and design exploration, starting with bottle. The decanter-like shape appealed to Hester and the team because it maintained that old world aesthetic that aligned with the brand vision.


The jute twine closure was an idea that was discovered in the research phase, the team had come to admire this application on old rum and Chianti bottles. Hester says each twine closure was hand wrapped onto the bottle, which was labor intensive and felt indulgent in that sense, but it supported the handcrafted sensibility and it echoed the rugged nature of the Jalisco region of Mexico where tequila finds its home.


The label design is bold, intricate, and considered. “We used a deeply saturated yellow ink because it emulated the sun and felt like a color indigenous to the Mexican landscape, and therefore tequila. The navy stripe and red type added contrast while also adding a masculine touch to the yellow. Tequila is traditionally thought of as a masculine product,” said Hester.


Hester says the seal was for the studio as well as the Pavimento brand. The design is based on old crests found on vintage and current tequila brands.


The gold, engraved rose pattern was designed to add a Latin flare. “Like the master bull-fighter or a traditional Mexican Charro [horseman] the rose symbolizes the panache and showmanship of the culture,” said Hester. The custom type was inspired by handwriting found on old Latin and Mexican maps and posters

Printed by Minneapolis-based Studio on Fire, the label was produced on Neenah ESTATE LABEL® No. 8. “Neenah ESTATE gave the label the tooth and finish we were looking for. It felt premium, sturdy and had just enough texture to compliment the design and production. The label feels as special as it looks, and we think it symbolizes the attention to detail that our team put forth in creating this brand,” said Hester.

Hester says the team was thrilled with the finished product and proud that its recipients had the opportunity to imbibe in the Pavement culture, with some old world style.

Photography by StudioSchulz