Launched last month, Method and Madness is a new whiskey brand from Irish Distillers, the largest distiller of Irish whiskey, owned by French drinks conglomerate Pernod-Ricard S.A.. The new whiskies were conceived by the Masters and Apprentices of Midleton Distillery, one of the oldest and most epic distilleries in the world. Method and Madness launches with four whiskies — for connoisseurs: a Single Grain Irish Whiskey Finished in Virgin Spanish Oak; a Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Finished in French Chestnut; a Single Malt Irish Whiskey enhanced with French Limousin Oak; and a 31 Year Old Single Cask, Single Grain Limited Edition bottled at cask strength — with packaging designed by Malmö, Sweden-based M&E.
METHOD AND MADNESS aims to harness the creativity of Midleton’s whiskey masters through the fresh talent of its apprentices. Taking inspiration from the famous Shakespearean quote, ‘Though this be madness, yet there is method in ‘t’, METHOD AND MADNESS is designed to reflect a next generation Irish spirit brand with a measure of curiosity and intrigue (MADNESS), while honouring the tradition and expertise grounded in the generations of expertise at the Midleton Distillery (METHOD).
As uncommon as it is, the logo looks its best in the primary, stacked version which is odd because it really highlights why you shouldn’t stack type — especially non monospace type — but the name helps sell the idiosyncratic logo (and it works perfectly on the label). The “MM” monogram is a nice complement and bonus graphic device that subtly alludes to the sometimes necessary embrace of both method and madness to achieve something interesting. Both wordmark and monogram, in their starkness, serve as great accents for the more colorful and expressive packaging.
Inspired by the Masters and Apprentices working side by side at the new micro distillery, the brand identity strives to convey the sense of excitement of when tradition and innovation are combined.
The brand identity uses two opposing patterns throughout all the labeling and packaging. The use of straight lines symbolizes method and order, while the marbled patterns reference madness and liquid experimentation.
The octagonal shape of the bottle was designed to refract and bounce light. The side panel embossings were created to produce a kaleidoscope of patterns within the bottle, bringing method and madness together.
M&E provided text
The packaging feels richly layered with labels divided in three columns: the left showing an ordered pattern (“method”), the middle displaying the logo, and the right showing a custom marbling pattern (“madness”). Like the wordmark, it’s an odd combination but the name supports the literal yet metaphorical translation. The marbling patterns are fun and exotic and I admire that they have “separated” the colors in order to isolate certain strands to be foil stamped in gold (as opposed to printing a full-color image in straight CMYK). The neck labels are almost like the equivalent of a responsive website, where the same long design of the body has been adapted to the shorter footprint and the monogram works as a perfect accent. The one thing that stands out oddly are the bottom labels with the whisky information, looking almost clinical like a prescription medicine bottle but those are the joys of alcohol packaging: facts.
This was clearly a fun project to work on and the involvement of the design team from the start pays off in a product that looks cohesive end to end — versus some packaging projects where a designer is given a shape and have to adapt to it — and any project where you get to do marbling and get paid for it is a good project.