Bitters (&!)

This Wild Design is featured on the building of the company Crude Bitters and Sodas in downtown Raleigh. I thought it was pleasant in both its color and form, which played off of each other to enhance the overall whimsy.

Downtown Raleigh

The color was an interesting decision because pink is a playful color, and is not a very obvious choice for a business rooted in the alcohol industry. Although the industry typically wants to be perceived as “fun,” I think companies lean more often into tropes that connote sophistication, or, especially in beer labeling and advertising, tropes that connote masculinity. When I saw the sign, I was on my way to take one of their classes, during which I learned that the building had been a dentist’s office in the 50s and 60s and that it was a common area for drug deals. Apparently the dentists chose to paint the building pink because they believed it would deter drug dealers from conducting business in front of such a silly looking building (although it actually resulted in driving more business to that exact location because it was an easily recognized meeting place). While the building’s color may not have been a choice, I like that the owners decided to embrace it, and I think the interesting color sets it apart, which is fitting as it is the only bittery in North Carolina, and is effective in making its product feel fun.

The form the sign takes as a three-dimensional arrow is also interesting because it plays on what we typically expect of an arrow: that it will exist in a two-dimensional space and give clear, explicit direction. This arrow becomes three-dimensional as it wraps around the building. This creates a sense of movement, and as it at first only appears to be a sign for Bitters, reveals itself as more, acting as a sort of visual pun. As the viewer realizes there is more to the arrow, they also realize that there is more to the business than just bitters, creating a sense of excitement and intrigue that literally leads them inside.