West Coast Cooler
STUDIO / DESIGNER
Sinead McAleer (Lead Designer)
Emma Connolly (Designer)
Stephanie Dooley (Project Manager)
Bobby Tannam (Typographer)
White Cloud Photographic (Photography)
Design Challenge and Design Ideas
Irish Distillers commissioned us to revamp the beloved 80s classic, West Coast Cooler. The rise of hard seltzers had ushered in fresh brands targeting visually aware Gen Z consumers, leaving West Coast Cooler struggling on the shelves.
Though the product is low sugar and alcohol content, qualities that appeal to health-conscious youth, the outdated packaging did nothing to appeal to them. A complete brand overhaul was tempting, however, there is an older cohort of West Coast Cooler customers that we needed to be careful not to alienate. The solution was to look to the roots of West Coast Cooler. It is a child of the 80s – along with a lot of its loyal drinkers. With 80s aesthetic having a resurgence in modern popular culture, we felt a design direction that taps into this era, in tandem with a contemporary feminine aesthetic, could appeal to both markets.
How the brief was fulfilled
The 1980s was decade that didn’t take itself too seriously, there was a care-freeness that we wanted to re-inject into the West Coast Cooler brand. Visual references from pop culture, music and fashion of the decade inspired the illustration style and colour palette – soft pastels with an injection of electric blue. We wanted the packs to feel light and refreshing – nods to the low alcohol and sugar content.
The West Coast Cooler word mark was at the centre of old brand identity, and held a huge amount of brand equity. There were some areas that it could be improved however – awkward unnatural joins within the script lettering, and spacing issues. We identified these then engaged the expertise of script typography specialist Bobby Tannam to perfect the execution.
The packaging was the only real expression of the brand and so had to do all of the work, there were some challenges in this regard. The 700ml pack format and bottle shape had to be retained. In the old packaging, both these and the smaller 250ml bottles featured plastic shrink wrap packaging that enclosed the whole bottle. This was obviously a negative from the environmental point of view and something we encouraged moving away from in favour of a much smaller label. Removing the plastic wrap also had the effect of brightening the colour of the bottles and liquid. We further lightened the over all look by switching to a silver rather than black cap. The 250ml pack was transformed from bottle to can format in line with competitors in the market, a great showcase for the new look, and a more sustainable option.
The refresh has been a commercial success and has given West Coast Cooler a new relevance in the modern drinks market for both established and new consumers.
From the client:
‘We needed some bold & fresh thinking to help re-stage the brand in a very competitive category. We’ve seen strong purchase intent across new and lapsed consumers.’
Well-crafted adjustment to the logo. A high standard of visual communication. The use of colour, illustrative elements, and typography is strong, resulting in a well articulated, well executed solution."