Mpls. Design Shop Makes Absolut Vodka Bottle Design

Aesthetic Apparatus was selected to create an original bottle design that is featured in a new television commercial and larger advertising campaign for Absolut Vodka.

Minneapolis-based design firm Aesthetic Apparatus, Inc., recently made a splash with its new design for a vodka bottle.

Aesthetic Apparatus owner and designer Michael Byzewski told Twin Cities Business that his firm was approached by TBWAChiatDay, a New York-based ad agency that was forming an advertising campaign for Absolut Vodka. Eighteen artists and companies that work across a variety of mediums were selected for the campaign, dubbed “Absolut Blank,” and asked to develop a new bottle design.

Byzewski said Aesthetic Apparatus was chosen because it is well-known for screen-printed concert posters, art prints, and graphic design. “We live in weird middle ground between commercial art and fine art,” he said, adding that Absolut has a heritage of working with emerging artists.

The firm's original bottle design was based on a series of artwork called Doomdrips. The print used for Absolut Blank is called Doom Buddy, and it features a sort of cartoon-like, long-armed monster against a green backdrop.

“They very much wanted us to do something we're known for, something representative of what we do,” Byzewski said.

The firm made a giant screen print of the final design, which was cut out and adhered to a large chunk of wood in the shape of a vodka bottle.

Byzewski and fellow Aesthetic Apparatus designer Dan Ibarra traveled to Lisbon, Portugal, in March, to take part in a video shoot with several of the other artists involved in the initiative. The resulting television commercial-which Byzewski said is currently being aired in the U.K. and several other markets outside of the United States-features Aesthetic Apparatus' design.

Check out the video here, and see a gallery of all of the Absolut Blank bottle designs here.

The bottle designs are also being used in a larger advertising campaign that includes print and billboard ads, Byzewski said, adding that it's still up in the air whether any of the artists' concepts will ever find their way to store shelves.

Aesthetic Apparatus, primarily a design studio, specializes in “identity” work for clients-including packaging, logos, and other design elements. For example, the firm has done package design for art house film distributor Criterion Collection, and it designed the logo, posters, and other products for the recently opened Pizzeria Lola restaurant in Minneapolis. The company also designs CD covers and inserts, including a recently released album by alternative rockers Cake.