When talking about craft beer and hops, there are a handful of breweries and beers that stand out. One that we in Southern California know quite well is Stone Brewing and their Arrogant Bastard line. Their effort to continually push the boundaries of bitterness and sheer hop overload has become synonymous with the brewery. With an attitude like this, it’s not surprising that their packaging has an almost badass feel to it, featuring a variety of gargoyle illustrations and slogans like “you’re not worthy”.
Their current portfolio of beers have such a disjointed feel that there are only a few elements that remind you who the brewery is. The signature gargoyle illustration would be the first indicator, though even that seems to come in a variety of poses and illustrative styles. The colors across all the different packages are widely varied as well, giving no sense of continuity whatsoever. While I realize much of this packaging has an iconic status amongst consumers, as a whole, the brand is lacking.
This is where designer Thanh Nguyen comes into the picture with his conceptual repackaging of the iconic Arrogant Bastard line.
The first thing you’ll notice is the sweet sweet consistency across all three bottles. There’s no way to mistake that these beers aren’t all related in some way. The iconic gargoyle still exists, but instead of changing poses, it just hangs out in the same place with his pint of what is sure to be the bitterest beer hell has to offer. The color coordination of the beer styles is an interesting concept, allowing you to quickly know which specific beer you’re about to crack open.
Something that seems a bit odd is that the Stone name is down played to an extreme degree across all the bottles and even the variety box. The focus is on the Arrogant Bastard line, which in the end would likely confuse those looking at it into thinking this is the brewery name. The type treatment gives this brand a retro feel and while I like this, knowing the brand personality Stone embodies, this is lacking that badass feel they’re so well known for.
The hanging tags are a nice touch, though seem a bit repetitive being as the beer style and black theme is already in the label just below. A nice sneaky touch here, as pointed out by LA I’m Yours, is that the wire almost resembles barbed wire being wrapped around the neck of the bottle. This could be argued as being the aggressive, badass feel I’ve been wanting, but it’s too little too late.
Overall, the design of these bottles is great and while I love the style, consistency, and subtle touches, it just doesn’t say “Stone Brewing is here to kick you in the face with hops.”
Source: Thanh Nguyen’s Arrogant Bastard Conceptual Repackaging | Los Angeles I’m Yours
- February 7th, 2013
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Canning appears to be all the rage right now, with a large number of micro breweries putting in canning lines and even a slew of mobile canning services making their rounds to breweries too small for their own line. I’ve heard mixed opinion on which is better, with both sides citing good reasons their way is better. One thing I know for sure that puts cans above bottles is that the canvas space for labels is larger (based on a normal 12 oz bottle that is). With the ability to print directly on the can, you don’t have the added hassle of label sizes or shapes.
One brewery that hopes to launch it’s beer line in cans in March is Uinta Brewing from Salt Lake City. Having some of my favorite illustrative labels, I’m excited to see how everything translates to cans. The ability to have a full bleed illustration stretch from end to end is very appealing to me as a designer. Their current bottles come in a non standard size, a little closer to Anchor Brewing’s bottles, and they always seem to catch my eye. Using either vibrant colors or extremely contrasting colors in all of their illustrations, Uinta really knows how to stand out on the shelf.
Another part of Uinta’s artwork that I thoroughly enjoy is the differences between their very illustrative standard line and their very subtle, almost icon driven, organic series. While the organic series has much more simplified artwork, the colors are still just as vibrant and will catch your eye as easily as the standard line. The large clear typography on the bottles stands out nicely and, as can be seen above, translates perfectly to the artwork on the canned version. It also doesn’t hurt that Uinta’s beers are all very solid.
I will definitely be looking for these cans in March, what about you?
Source: Uinta Brewing hopes to launch cans of four brands beginning in March | BeerPulse
- February 4th, 2013
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I’ve always been a fan of simplistic and clean vector style art, especially in package design. In a world where everything is competing to grab your eye as you walk down the asile, it tends to be the simpler items that stand out amongst the slurry of old fashion banners, large product shots and over illustrated mascots.
The style used for No-Li Brewhouse‘s labels is exactly what I would be looking for while picking up some beers. The clean white labels with reversed illustrations feel very unique while the color coded styles not only pop, but can help to create quick recognition when a consumer comes back for more.
Another piece of the branding puzzle that this brewery got right is with consistency and attention to detail. The branding is carried into the bottle caps, with a slogan hidden on the inside. I’ve seen this done with other breweries and it’s a really nice touch.
Not only is the design of these labels great, but the naming and copy writing brings the brand together as one solid entity. A lot of excellent creative thinking went into this project.
While I can’t speak for how the beer tastes, I must admit that I absolutely love the design as a whole.
Tip of the hat to The Fox is Black for sharing this with me.
Source: No-Li Brewhouse | The Dieline
- November 30th, 2012
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As consumers, we tend to base the majority of our purchasing decisions on a basic set of rules, one of which is how visually appealing a package is. I know I’m guilty of buying beer solely based on the label artwork. Breweries are investing quite a bit of time and money into making sure their bottles stand out on the shelves, developing a variety of personalities ranging from extremely minimalist to urban grunge. Web Urbanist has a list of 20 extremely creative bottles and cans that you need to check out.
Source: Hand-Crafted Design: 20 Creative Beer Cans & Label Designs | Web Urbanist
- November 19th, 2012
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This is a redesign I’ve been wanting to write about for a while now. I’ve had very mixed feelings towards it and I know it’s a bit late, but what the heck.
The logo update overall is a great improvement. Stylistically it feels much more cohesive, unlike the original in which the lion seems like it was an afterthought. The single tone for the text feels more sophisticated and mature. When I look at the old logo, it feels like the house of Gryffindor decided to start a brewery. The new integration of the lion symbol feel much more strategic. The way it divides the name feels odd, but not necessarily in a bad way. One major issue I do have with the new logo is the overuse of plaid in the lion figure itself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a person that has a closet full of plaid shirts. I like plaid. But trying to fill such a detailed symbol doesn’t work. I find myself struggling to make out the detailed shape of the lion.
Making the lion a solid color or subtle gradient makes things more recognizable. I do realize that this takes away some of the fun and personality, but the question is how much personality is too much.
Another area in which this brand improved dramatically is with the bottle art. As you can see, the old labels felt very disjointed and not at all like a uniform brand. The name placement, the colors, and especially the imagery make these almost feels like they come from a variety of different breweries.
The new labels on the other hand are perfectly uniform. With the brand’s name easily recognizable and the cohesiveness of the beer names, you easily see which one you’re picking up. The color usage across the brand is great and creates a smooth palette, while the silhouetted imagery across all the bottles is fun without being over the top. Each image is unique and represents the spirit of the beer. I have to admit that the Three Philosophers label is one of my favorites as I love the use of negative space in the image.
Overall, I’m very pleased with this rebrand. My biggest complaint is the plaid loving lion and even then, that’s fairly minor in the grand scheme of the overall design. The team at Duffy & Partners did an excellent job.
Original Article: Plaid Beer | Brand New
- November 10th, 2012
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