Wedge creates practical yet eye-catching packaging for a Canadian yerba mate energy drink
Based out of Montreal, Canada, Mate Libre produces all-natural, plant-based energy drinks from organic yerba mate tea. Each of their low sugar, certified fair trade beverages contains 45mg of caffeine, the equivalent of an espresso without the inevitable coffee crash. Yerba mate, or “ilex paraguariensis” if going by its botanical name, is a tree that grows in South American countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. Traditionally, the leaves are picked, dried and then infused in a small container known as a “calabash” by using a “bombilla” filtering straw and hot water.
Mate Libre’s story began in 2013 when founder Edouard Dufour-Boiteau was introduced to yerba mate beverages while on a trip to Berlin. After falling in love with the drinks detoxifying, herbal qualities, he set out to bring his very own version to Montreal. Adamant on getting it right, he spent several years crafting the perfect recipe, using real yerba mate leaves and no lab-made extracts, before finally launching in 2019.
Montreal-based studio Wedge worked closely with Dufour-Boiteau on the design of the cans, resulting in a direction that’s “made to party on the dancefloor or adventure the great outdoors”. The design system is bold and straightforward, with a functional, bright and colourful stripe used to express the various flavours and “grab your eye on the shelf”. Wedge Creative Director Sarah Di Domenico adds that “the colours are more punchy than soft because it’s quite a punchy drink!”
The studio inherited the brand’s typography, so “worked with its character to create a simple, impactful product” instead of attempting wholesale reinvention. The geometric sans serif logotype sits boldly and elegantly on the front of the cans, delicately complementing the coloured strips.
Many outdoor enthusiasts love yerba mate drinks for their all-natural, energising qualities that “keep you climbing higher and higher”. Founded themselves by a passionate, off-hours mountaineer, Justin Lortie, Wedge embraced the outdoors for a playful and inventive portfolio shoot, assisted by photographers Jodi Heartz and Alex Blouin. Adding a further connection between the brand and the studio, Di Domenico reveals that Wedge is in-fact named after the Wedge Glacier in British Columbia, Canada, which had a fundamental impact on Lortie after he summited it with his brother.