Launched last year by an unspecified Eastern European beverage distribution group, Badster is a new energy drink available from Romania. And, yeah, that’s about all the information there is about it. There are Facebook and LinkedIn pages to corroborate its existence. The identity and packaging have been designed by Bucharest-based Brandient.
In order to challenge the stiff competition, the brand must literally burst with energy, and it must impress a very young, mostly male target, always looking for a feeling of “unreasonable freedom” — all these using only the restrictive real estate of a 250ml aluminium can. If you enjoy the view, things click into place forever — if you don’t, you are probably of not much interest to the brand. This makes the can a pretty cool segmentation instrument.
Let me start by admitting that I’m posting this out of a weird graphic, morbid attraction I had when I first saw this project. This is isn’t good, by any standard, in the traditional sense nor in the kind of work we tend to both review and collectively celebrate but it’s so perfectly calibrated in its genre and for its audience that it’s almost scary. Let’s start with the logo, which is the most tame aspect of this: The Badster name looks like it comes from Emigre’s Citizen (which is used throughout) but has then been beaten up and given slabs. The “B” in the name and the standalone, even more beat up, “B” also represent a number 13 for bad luck. The most straightforward element is the product descriptor typeset in Citizen. Now is where things get interesting…
The packaging design aimed to unleash the maximum level of energy possible, hence the furious explosion of wilderness coming literally from within, bursting through the B monogram carved out as a jinxing number 13.
The standalone “B” does the logo-as-window cliché but blows it up Cujo-style with a wolf coming from behind it and out to devour any other graphics in its path. At this point, you may want to turn on the heavy metal to 11.
Despite all the directions the can could have gone in, given the wild premise, the design is remarkably straightforward, letting the wolf graphic be the center of attention with minimal distraction. This is as Swiss Style as it gets for Badster.
What I admire most about this project is how Brandient — a very capable identity firm, by the way — presented it without any self-consciousness about how lowbrow it is. A crummy comic-book-style typeface is used along quick-drawn, cheap-looking graphics of thunder and explosions to showcase the work. I hate it and love it at the same time.
I’ll also admit that I posted this for its entertainment value but perhaps there is a deeper lesson here: That we can use our graphic superpowers to have some unbridled fun every now and then and let our inner wolf make bad graphic and typographic decisions for us.