Fuse is the name I’ve given to the product of my homemade infused vodkas. Now, lots of people do this; they doctor their own spirits with a little lemon or frozen blueberries or something cute. Mine’s nothing less DIY or crafty unfortunately. There’s little that makes it a true product (alas I am tempted to set up a still in my studio, but that might not go over well with the roommate). I take on this pastime because I got bored with tonic water and needed a stimulus from dry martinis. It also becomes a conversation with fellow imbibers, usually descending into subjective differences, but all the more fun. It can also entertain as a science experiment; it’s fun to find just the right formula that’s right for a cinnamon cocktail, or decide finally that no such thing should exist. Any way you cut it though, homemade vodka infusions are nothing new, they are simply a hobby. But how we go about our hobbies I think is the true identity. It’s an extension of our work, life and methods, and within that lies uniqueness, and within uniqueness lies potential for identity.
The beauty of this brand is that it’s not something that needs to compete in the marketplace, it’s not something that needs to impress a gigantic body of target individuals, it’s not something that needs to fit in. It reminds me a lot of attempting to build an identity for the home owned by family friends of mine in Oregon which I completed recently here at Monthly Brand. It isn’t a corporate business, it’s a name tag. At most it is most enjoyed by a friend if I give it to them as a gift. It’s not meant to rake in capital, it’s not meant to sit on bar shelves, it’s mostly for me and my friends and family to sit around and appreciate the time and love put into it. It feels even more special since it is a product that takes time. I could easily be doing an identity for your grandmother’s bake sale (though she’d probably be making more money than I am with Fuse).
I just think that’s an important thing to remember because as I begin sketching logos for Fuse, it starts to appear a little corporate, even if edgy in the industry of spirits. It’s still looking like some sophisticated distillery in the Germany or something—less like the soft hands of a Brooklynite graphic designer. The product isn’t the thing. The producer is the thing. In this case, you and I could both infuse vodka with, let’s say, star anise. After bottling and storing and opening up our containers of vodka and star anise 12 days later, you and I would have pretty much the same product. It’s a bake sale, but it doesn’t have to be dull, it’s how I make it different from you, my personality, and how I use it that makes it Fuse and not yours.
That said, it’s worth thinking about the product, what it is, the act of infusion, the process that is taking place that transforms one substance into…well…the same substance that tastes a little different. Fuse comes from infusion, but it’s interesting how the word also implies that it brings things together, it glues things. I am reminded of bubbles when they combine together, and how their shared walls make incredibly flat polygonal shapes. I’m reminded of hexagons and polygons as well because of chemical bonds, and how the product truly is a science experiment (albeit incredibly rudimentary) at the end of the day. Fuse is also the name of a resistor in electronics to prevent surges; it’s a failsafe, which conjures an interesting connection between liquor and food, or liquor and having a good time tonight.
It’s clear from my inspiration board here, and ones in the past, that I’m a little obsessed with diagrams. I’m not really sure why but I always feel the need to include lines and letters and shapes that detail a process or how something works. Perhaps a part of me enjoys the scientific illustrations a bit more than the science behind the meaning of that content. Photo imagery is sometimes helpful too, but it never quite knocks it out of the park for me in terms of aesthetic attraction. If this is a project for me, this infused vodka, I think I may have to indulge on some of these personal styles.
Regardless, there are a lot of themes I’m using so far within the context of what Fuse actually is rather than my personal impression of it as an identity. As I mentioned, the cell walls of bubbles, chemical illustration and diagrams, the filtration and infusion processes as graphic representations, letter combinations as insinuation of “fusing”, and an expression of expansion or distribution. All these are interesting ideas, and I hope they’ll lay a bedrock for what seems to me to be the most important part: I’ve got to like the look of it if I want to drink it. Spirits of any kind more often need to feel easy, not complicated or harsh. Some spirits, like beer, can get away with loud designs, they’re looking for their targets to be rowdy on occasion. I’m not sure Fuse is the same in that respect. It’s a more patient identity. Patience inspires class, and class inspires taste, and hopefully, Fuse is all about taste.