We all have things we’ve lost or things we never had that lurk as missing pieces in our lives. If you could add one thing to your life that could improve it on any scale, what would it be?
My “miracle addition” would be ambiversion—the ability to switch between introversion and extroversion as desired. So I set out to design a package for a set of two elixirs, one for activating an extroverted self and one for an introverted self.
Inspired by the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain, I sought to paint the two halves of ambiversion equally, being cautious not to paint one in a ‘better’ light than the other. I was led by Cain’s main argument that reaction to stimulation is the differentiating quality that separates extroverts from introverts; the former get energy from social interaction, whereas the latter get energy from privately reflecting on their thoughts and feelings.
Some questions I grappled with included: How might I show that introversion and extroversion are different, but equally “good”? How might I package the product in a way that is appealing to both the introvert and the extrovert? How might physical materials, copy writing, and typography further the communication of my concept?
A large part of the discovery process was typographic research. At first, I was intent on communicating the differences between introversion and extroversion mainly through type. You can see that in my early type research, where I was looking for loud, stimulating, bold typefaces for extroversion and quieter, more delicate, more subtle ones for introversion. I later decided that the delivery of the concept had to be supported equally across all aspects of the package: the type, physical form, copywriting and materials.
The refinement process consisted mostly of material exploration and construction endeavors, as well as the layout and design of the interior. I grappled with the push and pull between introversion and extroversion. It was a challenge to have the two halves look cohesive and have contrast simultaneously. When I over-committed to contrast, it felt as if I was delivering the concept with too heavy of a hand. On the other hand, when I sacrificed a bit of contrast for more overall cohesion, I felt that the two halves weren’t differentiated enough.
I essentially landed on a solution that used material, typography, and color to deliver the concept cohesively. Materially, the two halves were different both on the outside and the inside (gold vinyl vs. black book cloth). The identical use of Founders Grotesk for both on the interior established the unified look I had been striving for. Finally, by using white for the central insert, I was able to add what felt like more visual space between the two halves, making them seem separate yet related.
During this process, I was also focused on refining the copy writing. The name of the brand/product was originally “The Ambivert’s Elixir,” but that felt too straight-forward, too easy. I considered other options but landed on the name “Vertere,” which is a Latin verb meaning “to turn.” It is the root of English words like revert, versatile, vertex, and versus. Calling the product Vertere added a sense of mystery and brought it closer to sounding like a luxury brand rather than a pharmaceutical product.
In developing the wordmark, I was also considering ways of bringing imagery into the mix to further the changeling idea. Some ideas included possibly using chameleons or butterflies as symbol, but again those felt too heavy-handed. I landed on using koi fish as a symbol of balance.