Page 1

for Fahrenheit 212

from Will Brown

Welcome! This zine will use a narrativebased approach to explain to you what ‘Will in a bottle’ would resemble. This will take you on a journey through my thinking processes and point of view as a designer. I shall be exploring the product category of caffeinated drinks with the theme of

Natura minim 2

al malism 3


aesthetics & In particular, the minimal aesthetics of Finland and Japan resonate with me. Of these countries, I have lived in Helsinki for a year, ticking one off my list. I believe that in the information saturated world we live in today, this design language provides respite and the necessary headspace to make sense of our world.


& philosophy For me, minimalism takes on a new meaning when applied not only to surface level aesthetic, but to the whole philosophy behind an object of design - particularly in the awareness of our impact on the environment. The Finnish sauna is a perfect marriage of this; a moment of calm and reflection coupled with a visceral connection to nature in the smell of birch, smoke and steam. 6


How can we better coe processes that provide to sustain our lives and


exist with the natural e us with the resources d economies?


To summarise: natural minimalism This theme is further influenced also by a growing desire for focusing on our own wellbeing both physical and mental. There has been a recent upward trend in talking openly about how we feel, and taking active steps to look after our minds like we might look after our bodies. This is embodied in seeking out moments of calm to counteract the daily tsunami of information, and similarly eating local, seasonal and unprocessed foods that are beneficial for the health of both ourselves and the environment.

Natural minimalism seeks simplicity in both aesthetics and lifestyle. It celebrates raw natural finishes that stay true to the source material and the patina of reused objects and materials. The mindset associated is that of avoiding needless waste in acknowledgement of the role of the individual’s daily actions in relation to the overwhelming global environmental and social challenges. A small action might not seem important, but miltiplied 7 billion times it carries real weight.


sustainable eating


planetary thinking

natural minimalism low impact living


self expression


These are topics that consumers care about...


...which are transforming the industry. 13

The Buycotters 14

Persona name:


Age group:

Millennial / Gen Y / 18-34


Buycotters are ethically-charged young professionals who express their values through consumer choices (or avoidance!). This carries more weight in a social media age of fast and loose opinions.

Consumption habits:

Having grown up with the internet, Buycotters are savvy shoppers that know how to research their options. As a result, the brands they buy from are expected to see Corporate Social Responsibility not only as a marketing strategy, but the core philosophy in everything they do from production to retail. Transparent companies that engage their audience with social and environmental issues are rewarded with the loyalty of this group.



Social trend data % who say in the past 12 months they have buycotted Millennial

Gen X


Silent 34 30 27 18

Pew’s social trend report ‘Millennials: confident, connected and open to change’ finds that Millennials are the generational group most likely to ‘buycott’ - choosing to buy a product due to agreeing with the company’s social values.

According to an online poll of 30,000 consumers across 60 nations, “almost 75% of ‘Generation Y’ are willing to pay extra for sustainable products and services, up from around half in 2014.” They might not be as well off as other generations, but they know what matters.

Pew | Millennials: Confident, Connected and Open to Change, p84 | PDF | Feb 2010

PSFK | What Sustainability Means to the Millennial Generation | Aug 2016


A poll of 10,000 people in the UK, conducted by Ipsos Mori for the Vegan Society, found that “the number of vegans in the UK has increased by more than 360% in the last ten years, and close to half of all vegans today fall within the 1534 age bracket.�

Millennial-focused trend journal, Protein, frequently highlights brands popular with Millennials - such as Everlane or Patagonia that place transparency as a core philosophy of what they stand for as a company.

The Telegraph | Number of vegans in Britain rises by 360% in 10 years | May 2016

Protein Journal | Observations: Honest Policies | Jul 2014


The result of this values

in alternative energy dri 18

shift is an explosion What can compete in this emerging but already saturated product category?

inks hitting our shelves. 19


Yerbatea is a chilled drink made from yerba matĂŠ leaves that exhibits a clean look and blows other drinks out the water through a format that communicates low environmental impact. How so...? 21

Ingredients & taste fig. A

fig. C


+ fig. B

fig. A

fig. B

fig. C

Yerba leaf -

Stevia leaf -

Botanical herbs -

The dried leaves from the Yerba tree create Maté tea that is traditionally consumed in Central/South Americas. It has the same amount of caffeine as coffee, however relaxing compounds such as theophylline and theobromine are said to counteract the jittery ‘coffee buzz’ effect.

Stevia leaf can be up to 400 times as sweet as sugar, therefore requiring much less land, water and transport to produce compared to other sugar ingredients. Stevia has seen a huge surge in popularity, partly driven by Coca Cola’s adoption for Coca Cola Life.

Botanical herbs such as dandelion, burdock root, elderflower, and chicory root add fragrance, depth of flavour and perceived health benefits. It also taps into a recent trend in foraging native herbs, so these ingredients add familiarity to what might be unknown ingredients of maté and stevia.



Well balanced energy delivered with a bitter yet sweet taste complimented by a botanical fragrance: the taste of health (so it can not taste too good!)



Inspired by living in Munich and Helsinki, experiencing first hand the ‘pfand’ or ‘pantti’ bottle recycling system, I would love to implement a scaled-down version of this system in the UK. According to Zero Waste Europe, “refillable bottle have a 50-60% lower global warming potential than one-way beverage containers”.

A glass bottle can be used an average of 50 times during its lifetime, during which it builds up an array of grazes and scratches. Rather than hide this, it is celebrated as an authentic mark of a circular economy product. | Closing the Loop of Materials, Phasing Out Toxics & Emissions | 2010 24



Yerbatea is consumed, and the bottle is kept for its deposit.


Cost of deposit is included in retail cost of yerbatea, cancelled out by a deposit receipt.

Bottles are washed and refilled.

2 Users receive deposit money that can be spent only on yerbatea.

1 Recycling points are set up, initially in areas targeted for being near people who are sustainability oriented


New bottles are added into the system from beer bottles with the correct shape and volume. Yerbatea is essentially paying consumers for new bottles.


The label

Plenty white space -

Necessary info only -

Recycled paper -

The clean near-white paper contrasts with the dark bottle colour, and the other brands’ more complex and busy label designs.

All that the consumer needs to know is neatly laid out in the grid format: brand name, volume and description. Even the brand name itself is simple: tea from yerba leaf.

Recycled paper is used that has a near-white finish, yet textured and off-white enough to signal that it is clearly recycled.


Label shape The label is surprisingly small for the size of bottle. This is a deliberate detail, so that it fits across a wide range of reused bottles - that becomes a signature trademark for the brand. 27

The ecological argument 1 Yerba matĂŠ and stevia leaves are picked and dried. MatĂŠ requires less processing than coffee (which needs roasting and thorough washing), as mate is dried slowly over a couple of months. Stevia is a hardy plant that provides a stable income for small and independent farmers in Africa - often grown as a cash crop alongside main food crops. It uses a fifth of the land area, and considerably less water than other sweetening ingredients. The carbon footprint is 79% lower than high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

2 After drying, the leaves are compressed into bricks for transportation. This reduces the carbon footprint for travel.


3 The bricks are transported to national processing hubs where they are cold stewed to create the tea. Botanical herbs are grown mostly locally, therefore requiring less distance to travel.

4 The tea brew is decanted into bottles that are sourced from the locality. This saves on CO2 emissions for transport, as the longest distances are made using the compressed leaf bricks, and the bulky drinks bottles are transported for only the final short leg.


In this zine, I hope you will have enjoyed finding some examples of the ways I like to think and work through a brief. Let’s recap: I began with some visual storytelling (p2-13) of an aspect of me that set up the why of the task. I represented this in a framework (p11) to clarify things a bit before moving on to a quick persona (p14-15) of who this drink is aimed at (apart from me!). This persona is backed up with some behavioural trend insights (p16-17) and a quick audit (p18-19) of established products in this category of energising drinks. Introducing a representation of the product (p20), I drew upon personal experiences to imagine a radically different product system as a flow diagram (p25). Finally, my aesthetic sensibilities go into crafting the label (p26), and my analytical thinking captures the overview of how this product fits into the larger environmental and industrial ecosystem (p28-29). 30


Bottle zine  

A short zine that explores ideas for a drinks brand that represents an aspect of me.

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