Nihilo’s contrasting identity and bottle for Casa Malka shapes a world between rawness and royalty
Israeli branding agency Nihilo have crafted the identity for emerging tequila brand Casa Malka, capturing the confidence of its name (directly translating as ‘House of the Queen’) in a distinctly modern context. Exuding contrast from the get-go, the visual language encapsulates a tension between two contrary states; hard and soft. Through this typographic and structural interplay, the subsequent tone is refined and intriguing, aiming to appeal to a vast audience.
“While the tequila itself was being developed, we helped fabricate the entire brand conception and implementation,” Co-founder & Creative Director Emunah Winer tells us, determining the bottle’s size, materials and manufacturing. “We were extremely particular with the number of embellishments on the bottle,” she adds, “as we wanted a very limited combination of materials and colours,” conscious of maintaining the transparent theme of contrast. A theme also apparent in Nihilo’s choice of typefaces, with the agency opting for Displaay’s Azeret Mono for the wordmark and headline typeface. “We used Gimlet Display Compressed for body and supporting copy,” Winer adds, again creating a calligraphic contrast to Azeret’s more rigid letterforms. “It felt like the combination of an ancient script and an industrial, controlled typewriter font,” she continues, “which we also liked because it felt just weird enough to startle people.” Together, the pair bounce off one another effortlessly, creating moments of tension and typographic surprise across the brand’s touchpoints.
Sitting closely alongside the bold application of typefaces is the inclusion of Casa Malka’s own illustrative ‘Queen’ character. “The illustration is seen primarily on the gold wax seal on the bottle cap and on branded print collateral,” Winer details, “across assets, it’s the stamp of the ‘Queendom,’” she explains, a copy element and literary motif laced throughout the brand. “The idea behind the emblem is to provide contrast to the harsher elements of the brand,” Winer remarks, noting the typographic and monochromatic palette as ‘harsher’ devices. Furthermore, the illustrative figure, and indeed its contrast with Casa Malka’s typographic treatment, fortuitously embodies the taste profile of the tequila itself – royal and restrained.
Supporting the tactility and physical makeup of Casa Malka’s identity, bottle and printed material is the ethereal virtual world Nihilo created to showcase the tequila, made in collaboration with 3D Designer Haruko Hayakawa, who also significantly contributed to the functional specification of the bottle’s design. “It was the first time we worked in this way and it ended up being an extremely exciting process,” Winer recalls, emphasising the importance of Hayakawa’s inclusion in the process. “From the get-go, we knew the 3D visuals were going to serve as the primary vehicle to tell the brand story,” she adds.
Whilst occupied by the tequila bottle, the world itself is notably inhabited by the, again contrasting, inclusion of gold chains and cacti. “The world had to communicate the full brand concept in one glance,” Winer explains, seeking to translate the theme of contrast through its juxtaposing materials simply. “We did go back and forth deciding how much gold to include,” she notes, starting with a more reserved quantity to not overcomplicate Casa Malka and distract from its offering. “In the end, there’s just enough in there to lend some mystery, a sense that there are more secrets yet to be uncovered,” Winer adds, effortlessly translating the royal and raw character of the tequila, concluding, “it’s the queen’s land… we’re just here visiting.”