Thorntail Hard Agave

In a market saturated with choices—particularly in the realms of seltzers, canned cocktails, and ciders—standing out on the shelves requires a distinctive visual identity. Thorntail Hard Agave, a new agave-based beverage now available at QFC and Fred Meyer, turned to the Seattle branding studio People People to do just that, tasking designers to develop a unique and eye-catching brand that resonates with consumers.

People People’s completed design is as light, energetic, and uplifting as the beverage itself, featuring an abstract illustration of a thorntail hummingbird, complemented by a script typeface and tones of teal influenced by the Blue Weber agave plant.

Thorntail defies categorization—it’s not quite a seltzer, not quite tequila, but something new entirely. This posed a challenge and an opportunity for People People. Designers identified two prevailing trends in a market audit: the logos of hard seltzers were often set against white or highly saturated colors, and products with agave as an ingredient typically showcased an icon of the plant. To break apart from the norm and communicate the product’s uniqueness, People People opted for a different approach.

An overarching goal for the packaging was to feel fresh, vibrant, and invigorating—attributes that align with the product. With only 2g of sugar and an alcohol by volume of 5%, the product’s lightness is reflected not only in its taste but also in its visual representation. The brand, cans, and 6-pack boxes all showcase a distinctive tone-on-tone pairing of light and dark teal blues.

Inspired by the Blue Weber agave plant, from which Thorntail’s fermented agave is derived, the colors evoke a sense of brightness that mirrors the beverage’s refreshing taste. As a strategic move to bolster brand recognition, designers maintained color consistency across all packaging, shying away from the common practice of changing backgrounds on a per-flavor basis.

‘Hard Agave’ or ‘Fermented Hard Agave’ is prominently displayed alongside the logo and product name to pique consumer curiosity. Recognizing the limitations of can space for detailed information, People People created Thorntail’s website as a hub for in-depth education. The website features a playful infographic that takes consumers on a journey, detailing the production of hard agave from farm to can. 

In a departure from the usual agave plant graphics, People People drew inspiration from Thorntail’s namesake: the thorntail hummingbird. Known for pollinating agave plants, these hummingbirds embody the same light and zippy characteristics as the beverage. The visual identity features an abstract illustration of the hummingbird, symbolizing upward flight for an uplifting feel, accompanied by a script typeface inspired by the hummingbird’s graceful movements.

People People’s creative approach ensures that Thorntail Hard Agave not only stands out on the shelves but also strikes a chord with consumers seeking a unique and refreshing experience.

Creative Director: Shannon Palmer

Senior Designers: Amy Wilson and Maddy Porter 

Lifestyle Photography and Videography: Digital Vendetta ​​​​​​​

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