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Destilling Design in The Hague

Dutch jenever brand Van Kleef has turned to industrial design for its latest fashionable bottle designs.

By Editor / 21-03-2012

Unable to find a unique souvenir from his hometown for business relations, industrial designer Frans Schrofer approached Van Kleef owner Fleur Kruyt to help him with his dilemma and innovate her company’s Dutch gin packaging.

Established in 1842, Van Kleef continues to distill fine liqeuers and bitters in the authentic Dutch tradition in the centre of The Hague, The Netherlands. Historically, Dutch gin (jenever) was packaged in cylindrical-shaped ceramic flasks to fit in the hulls of seafring ships. Many jenever brands continue to maintain this tradition.

Employing his early experience in consumer packaging, Schrofer began by using the form of the letters vK as the base of the shape by mirroring and rotating the ‘K’ to form the broad shoulders, low waist and pedestal base. The long slim version was created for the Young gin while the shorter stouter design holds the old jenever. Matching shot glasses were also designed to complete the package.

Fellow Haagenaar (someone from The Hague) graphic designer Huug Schipper was recruited to create a contemporary logo. He too reduced the information to its bare essentials: the date, old and young and abbreviating van Kleef to’vK’. He gave special typographical attention to the letter ‘K’’s stem which resembles the stem of a classic gin glass. A tilted crescent line suggests raising a toast. He and Schrofer agreed to emboss the logo directly in the clay, giving the bottles a ‘stamp of approval’ appearance and reducing all adhesives and labels as visible proof of purity. Sealed in the traditional wax manner and decorated with ribbons of the city’s colours green and yellow, Van Kleef is ready to toast its town. 

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