Wihayo

Our first collaborative venture into product development.

When approached by Korean/Dutch author and foodie Nathalie Ji Yun Kranenburg to create a brand for her soju we signed-up with no hesitation. But we wanted to get more involved, and so became partners in the venture. WIHAYO is a unique soju made with a traditional Korean recipe — the difference and uniqueness of this soju is the fact that its core ingredient, rice, is ground by one of the oldest and tallest windmills in the Netherlands, dating from 1785.

Context

Brief

An all-encompassing and comprehensive one that we set ourselves, together with Nathalie, whose vision was to distil the first soju outside Korea. We set about to: distil, name, brand and package this unique product with the aim of introducing the world’s number one selling liquor (by volume) to a new audience. The design challenge was to create an aesthetic that reflected and attracted both East and West cultures whilst not alienating either; drinkers (and thinkers) aged between 25 – 50 from Amsterdam to London, NYC, LA and Seoul.

Approach

Having piqued the interest of the Herman Jansen distillery in Schiedam we spent a two year period experimenting with their award winning master distiller Ad van der Lee. After countless iterations we developed a base distillate that blends ground Korean rice and grains with a pinch of Dutch barley, resulting in a malty full-bodied soju. Once the recipe was nailed we set about naming and branding the soju. We coined the name Wihayo, which derives from the word ‘Wihayeo’ — a phrase used by young Koreans when they ‘cheers’ before drinking soju — ‘for you’ in Korean.

Result

Bottled in a 700ml green glass ‘apotheek’ style bottle and sealed with a wooden stopper laser engraved with WIHAYO’S distinctive marque — itself a representation of wind power and rice grains — our soju is a unique product with high potential for global sales. Its distinctive and memorable design demands attention on the ‘back shelf’ of a bar and has so far resulted in distribution deals in the Netherlands, UK & Korea. 

• Wihayo’s brand film won a D&AD pencil for 2D Animation in 2017.

Logo

Korean spirit with a Dutch spin

The brand marque is a graphical representation of wind power and rice grains, WIHAYO’s principle 'ingredients'. The Netherlands is represented by the former and Korea is represented by the latter.

Packaging

We honed in on a minimalist and utilitarian identity built on craft. Our soju is bottled in a screen-printed 700ml green glass ‘apotheek’ style bottle, sealed with a black American walnut stopper and laser engraved with WIHAYO's marque.

Illustration style

Our challenge was to create an aesthetic that reflected and attracted both Eastern and Western cultures whilst not alienating either; drinkers (and thinkers) aged between 25 – 50 from Amsterdam to London, NYC, LA and Seoul. Essentially, introducing a lot of people to a new product, whilst also respecting the audience that know full well what they’re buying – and attracting both. 

The Master Distiller

Having piqued the interest of the Herman Jansen distillery in Schiedam we spent a two year period experimenting with their award winning master distiller Ad van der Lee. After countless iterations we developed a base distillate that blends ground Korean rice and grains with a pinch of Dutch barley, resulting in a malty full-bodied soju.

Inspiration

For the brand launch film we created a distinctive illustration and animation style informed by K-pop and Korean graphic design.

Nathalie Ji Yun Kranenburg

Founder

"It was great to have Smörgåsbord partnering me through this process. Their level of professionalism, quality of work and responsiveness and humour was perfect."

Disciplines

Product Development

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Brand Identity

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Creative Direction

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Digital

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Illustration

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Motion Design

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Naming

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Packaging

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