When you stand in front of a refrigerator at a supermarket to buy bottled water, this is what hits you before you even open the refrigerator door. ‘You don’t care whatever you get - cylinder-shaped water bottles with similar heights and plastic labels wrapping those bottles. Their names are not that different either. Unless you have a very specific taste, you would usually end up picking the cheapest one.
On September 23, a new bottled water product which would make dull supermarket refrigerators totally new hit the market. It is called ‘Our Water’. It is a bottled water product made not by a food company, but by a financial services company, Hyundai Card. Its bottle which is cube-shaped keeps three of its facets transparent and has a label sticker with the design of Hyundai Card plates on the remaining facet, which makes everyone know that this is ‘bottled water made by Hyundai Card’ just at a glance. The design of Hyundai Card’s vertical cards in vivid and glamorous primary colors is reflected on the facet, so just looking at the water bottles neatly arranged is like seeing a piece of artwork.
‘Our Water’ is the second product that Hyundai Card released in eight years since it unveiled its first bottled water product called ‘It Water’ in September 2011. Hyundai CardHyundai Capital Newsroom met with Hyundai Card’s Experience Design Team which looked after the ‘Our Water’ project at Hyundai Card Design Lab located in Yeouido Headquarters in Seoul on October 8. The team lead Heebong Kim, Senior Designer Taekgeun Chang and Designer Mijin Kim have been deeply into ‘water’ for the last one year.
(From the left side) Designer Mijin Kim, Senior Designer Taekgeun Chang and Principal Designer Heebong Kim (team lead) in Experience Design Team
They looked at numerous water bottles and came up with different ideas to design ‘bottled water which can best represent Hyundai Card’. Unlike other bottled water products whose serving size is too big to drink at one time, we came up with a bottle whose serving size is just right to fill up a glass. We put a label on the bottle which is the same size as an actual card plate and also exactly represents the design of our card plates. Kim said, “If we wanted to design a water bottle that everyone would know that it is made by Hyundai Card, we thought that bottle must incorporate the design of our cards. That is how we came up with the design of ‘Our Water’.”
Taekgeun Chang We got some feedback that changing the design would be a good idea because it has been a long time since ‘It Water’ was first introduced. When we released ‘It Water’, there was a sort of ‘bottled water boom’ in the country. Imported bottled water brands such as Fiji and Evian were popular and also many domestic brands launched a number of products. At the time, we at Hyundai Card were asking ourselves questions such as “Why do you have to put in our meeting rooms bottled water that has zero relevance to our identity? or “Can’t we provide the events that we host with bottled water products which represent our brand?” and they led to the launch of ‘It Water’. But it was a little bit different this time. We wanted to go beyond the concept of ‘bottled water made by Hyundai Card’ and create ‘bottled water which can best represent Hyundai Card’. In a nutshell, our goal of the renewal was ‘to design a bottled water product which contains the exact brand identity of Hyundai Card’.Q. What do you mean by ‘best representing Hyundai Card’?
Lead of Experience Design Team, Heebong Kim said, “We’ve gone through a lot of trials and errors to design bottled water that best represents Hyundai Card. We put a label incorporating the design of our card plates to make sure everyone can tell that the bottled water product is made by Hyundai Card right away.”
Heebong Kim When we say a product best represents Hyundai Card, it basically means that the product itself needs to be Hyundai Card. There is no doubt that our best asset is our cards. We designed a water bottle the exact same size as an actual card plate whose ratio of the width to the height is 54mm:85.5mm. My team wanted to take the ratio to the water bottle, too. On top of the ratio, we also put labels the same size as our card plates in the shape of a ‘vertical card’ that Hyundai Card first introduced to the market in vivid colors demonstrating Hyundai Card’s identity. So, when you hold the bottle with your hand, it would look like you’re holding a card to others.
Mijin Kim mentioned, “We tried to capture Hyundai Card’s design philosophy of getting rid of what is not necessary and expressing what is important in a bold way. We also kept the size of the label minimum to underscore water itself.”
Mijin Kim That is the result of incorporating Hyundai Card’s design identity. We believed to make ‘water’, content of bottled water stand out, we should not put anything redundant that is interrupting on the bottle. That is why we gathered all the phrases required by the law and put them on one piece of label. Instead, we made sure the fine prints on the label were in the right color and size. You can say that our design philosophy of ‘getting rid of what is not necessary, focusing on the story we want to tell and expressing what we think is important in a bold way’ is captured here as well.
Heebong Kim We had a problem because of the unique design of the bottle which incorporates the ratio of a card plate. For example, if the height of the bottle went up by 1mm, the bottle got stuck in the machine or ripped off. The volume of the bottle caused the same problem. It was not easy at all to design a bottle to make sure its serving size was not too much to consume at one time while maintaining the ratio of a card plate. To fit the size of a car cup holder, we got in different cars from Morning to Genesis to test the size of the bottle. We tweaked the size of the bottle using 3D printing several times. It was a tall order to protect our design and meet the size standards at the same time.Q. Is there any design of bottled water that your team benchmarked the most?
Chang said, “We named our new product in a sense that it is ‘our water’ owned and consumed by people who actually agree to and share the gist of Hyundai Card’s philosophy.”
Taekgeun Chang My team looked for numerous water bottles over the last one year. There were a plenty of pretty bottles you could find out there. But the product that we actually looked into the hardest was ‘It Water’ that we made eight years ago. We knew that ‘It Water’ also has the design that well represents our philosophy and grappled with how much we could make our new design ahead of or different from ‘It Water’. I would say that the design of ‘Our Water’ is more intuitive in terms of expressing ourselves. Can’t you tell right away, ‘Well, this is bottled water product made by Hyundai Card.’ without any further information? The design allows anyone to meet with Hyundai Card in their everyday life in a repeated fashion. I believe the value of ‘Our Water’ lies in the fact that we can leverage our bottled water product to promote our brand.
Heebong Kim We had more than ten candidates for the name. We wanted to pick one that could ‘best represent us’ and ‘Our Water’ was the one. The catch phrase that we try to promote for ‘Our Water’ is ‘Our water is our water’ and ‘Our water Our Plate’ for the same reason. Here the word ‘our’ refers to Hyundai Card, Hyundai cardholders and anyone else who loves Hyundai Card.
Taekgeun Chang We took the name ‘It Water’ from the word ‘it’ which was used to refer to the most stylish items of the time before. We wanted to make sure if you a Hyundai cardholder who carries around an ‘it’ bag and wears ‘it’ shoes and clothes, then you need to drink bottled water that is also different from the rest or ‘it’ water. And we named our new product in a sense that it is ‘our water’ owned and consumed by people who actually agree to and share the gist of Hyundai Card’s philosophy.Q. How many types of Our Water are currently available?
Heebong Kim Five different types which represent our premium cards the Green, the Red and the Purple and our two leading products M and X have been released. We plan to get most of our products in the portfolio incorporated in the upcoming new designs of ‘Our Water’. For now, you can purchase Our Water on M Point Mall and in offline shops that Hyundai Card operates including Hyundai Card Libraries. I read one our customers’ post on Instagram saying, “I have the Red and I want to get ‘Our Water’ with the label of the Red.” Unfortunately, when you buy a bottle of ‘Our Water’ on M Point Mall, it would be randomly selected and delivered, so you can’t really pick what you want to get. But we’re going to start selling Our Water at SSG Emart stores this year across the country, so if you can bear with us a little more, then you will have the fun of picking a bottle on your own. Oh, I got this question asking whether a bottle with a premium card label put on tastes better. But water tastes all the same. (Laughter)