MEL'S SWITCHEL

Personal Project | Identity | Naming 
Strategy | Product Development

“The Official Beverage of Hard Work,” Mel’s Switchel is the caffeine-free energy drink fueling long days and late nights. 

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There is nothing like the feeling of slamming the last nail into a house, seeing land after a long journey across the ocean or finishing a thesis years in the making.

Switchel is a centuries-old fermented drink with a deep history that spans across continents. In the last two centuries, Switchel has been the drink of choice for three key groups of people: farmers, to stay hydrated in the fields; sailors, in an attempt to prevent scurvy; and scholars, who used the drink to stay energized through late-night study sessions. Though vastly different in their professions, they are bound together by their fondness of this drink.

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STRATEGY

Herman Melville, though best known as the author of Moby Dick, had three professions throughout his life: first, as a sailor, then farmer, then scholar. He drank Switchel and went so far as to mention it in one of his stories. Today, Melville, these histories, and the integrity of this humble drink is celebrated through Mel’s Switchel: The Official Beverage of Hard Work.

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LOGO

The logomark is a nod to the hardworking history of switchel, combining a sailor's ship, a farmer's field, and a scholar's book. 

The number three is pervasive throughout the design of Mel’s Switchel. From the shortening of Melville to Mel, to the ‘three profession’ of switchel, to the three sails on the ship in the logomark, trilogy is explored as a contextual element, subtly aiding in a cohesive identity.

 

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COLOR

A color system was developed that reflects Switchel’s histories. The core colors of the brand, maroon and orange are inspired by a quote from one of Melville’s stories. Each flavor edition then reflects the professions represented in Switchel’s histories. Blue for the sailors’ azure oceans, green for the farmers’ rolling fields, and gold for the scholars’ long-studied parchments. 

"Who in the rainbow can draw the line where the violet tint ends and the orange tint begins? -- from Billy Bud, the Sailor (1981) by Herman Melville

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ADVERTISING

Celebrating the heritage of Herman Melville and the hard-working legacy of Switchel, this concept speaks to embarking on the day’s toils. Strategically located in places that have long been associated with hard work, these advertisements help to position Mel’s Switchel away from the trendy health drinks that proliferate the market and instead establishes the simple honesty and sincerity of this time-tested beverage. 

These three locations include:

-- A barnside advertisement on the route to Melville's historic farm.

 -- Union Oyster House, Boston’s oldest restaurant.

 -- A Snapchat geofilter on Harvard University’s campus, where the scholars once drank switchel.

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