Customized Packaging: Absolut Paper Bag Wraps

How do you tailor the packaging of an international liquor brand to several different cities around the world without incurring huge costs through the printing of different bottles for each? Tackling that challenge, Absolut Vodka turned to one of the humblest of all mediums – the simple paper bag – and invited designers and illustrators from around the globe to customize them for each city.
Each gusseted bag, comprised of 85 gsm (60 lb.) White Kraft polyethylene coated paper, was offset printed by GPA Global with artwork designed to capture the rich heritage, iconic landscapes and vibrant cultures to be found in:
  • Singapore
  • Bangkok
  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Istanbul
  • Brisbane, Australia
  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • Dubai
The first big advantage to the paper bag approach for designers? It gave them a much larger canvas on which to work than your typical spirits label. And the artwork on these “Traveler’s Exclusive” bags is indeed wide ranging in terms of style and color, from photo-realistic images of skyscrapers to abstract illustration.
For example, while the Singapore edition resembles a watercolor masterpiece that also boasts line drawings of local flora and that city-state’s mythical lion/fish beast the Merlion, the Dubai edition emphasizes that city’s stunning architecture melded with a wide blue sky filled, Magritte-style, with open umbrellas. Yet all the various editions still manage to retain a universal “branded” look.
In these designs you get a peek at a wide variety of locales, from the bustling street food culture of Bangkok and Brisbane’s thriving nightlife, to the hazy metropolis of Kuala Lumpur. One look at these impressive bags and you can easily see how they would practically leap off shelves in the cities that they celebrate.
As a playful final touch, an equally vibrant silicone wristband – printed with an appropriate phrase (e.g., “Absolut Auckland” for the Auckland edition) – is twisted around the neck of the bagged bottle, folding the opening down and closed. Not only is this a snazzy way to keep the bottle closed on store shelves, but who could resist wearing the band itself long after the contents of the bottle have been enjoyed?
So effective was the initial launch of the packaging in those 7 cities, the “Traveler’s Exclusive” series has since grown to include 37 bag designs around the world, including editions that celebrate everything from Chinese New Year and Christmas to the Lollapalooza music festival and Father’s Day. All of which makes for packaging that is fun, versatile and, at times, “Absolut-ly” beautiful.

Project Details

Title Customized Absolut Vodka Paper Bag Wrap Client The Absolut Co. (Pernod Ricard) Date Ongoing Design Selected Artists: Alexandra Wong (Istanbul); Mauro Martins (Brisbane); Randy Constantino (Dubai, Kuala Lumpur); Daniel Barbosa (Singapore); Shekhar Kumar (Bangkok) Print GPA Global
Paper Polyethylene Coated Paper White Kraft 85 gsm (60 lb.)

Production Details

Production Time 5-6 weeks Printing Method Offset Number of Colors CMYK Finishing and Binding Silicone band closure
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