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I’m Jacob Cass, the founder of JUST™ Creative. I’m a multi-disciplinary graphic designer, working with clients all around the world. My specialty is logo & brand identity design. JUST™ Get in touch.

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Creating A Corporate Identity For A Beer Label: Part 2 – Billboard Design

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Gruen Brewery

Over the past 14 weeks I have been developing a  corporate identity for a new fictional beer label called  Gruen. Over three articles I am outlining the process and decisions made while creating this identity.

This is part two – billboard design. “Part One – Beer Label Design” was posted last week and “Part Three – Annual Report Design” will be coming soon.

Below are the briefs of the three projects that we completed at University.

PART 1.  Beer Label & Bottle Design

Pitch two beer label designs to the class > the class will vote on the best design for you to pursue > create mock ups of the chosen design.

PART 2. Creative Billboard Design

Pitch two creative billboard designs to the class based on the chosen beer from project one > the class will vote on best billboard design.

PART 3. Annual Report Design

Pitch two concepts to the class for the Gruen Brewery annual report design > the class will vote on the best annual report design.

Project 2: Creative Billboard Design

In project one, it was decided based on class votes that I would use the brown beer design rather than the green design. It was now time to move onto the next project… to create two creative billboards.

The Design Brief

You are required to produce 2 creative concepts for an advertising campaign which does not rely upon exaggeration, deception or hype. Your aim is to successfully promote Gruen Beer based on objective truth. Produce 2 advertising campaigns for a billboard design.

The campaign will have graphic consistency with the product and must include an image of the product. This may be a photo-realistic rendering or an actual photographic product shot. Each of your campaigns should take a unique approach. The class will then vote on the best design.

My Process

As I am also studying Design For Advertising this semester (just finished) and had already done a billboard design recently, this part of the process came quite naturally to me.

The main general rules to remember in billboard design is to keep the copy (text) under 7 words and to ensure the message can be understood within a few seconds… that is all the time you have to read a billboard when traveling on a road at high speeds.

Concept 1

After some brainstorming and sketching I came up with these two creative billboard concepts of which I then put together in Photoshop. The first billboard was based on the fact when you drive along in Australia, you see many ‘watch out for kangaroos’ signs. These signs usually have ‘NEXT 5km’ written underneath them… I took this concept and changed the one kangaroo to two kangaroos reflective of the Gruen Beer brand.

I then added the text “Next Pub in 5km” so that the drivers would stop at the next pub for a Gruen Beer, something that would be needed in the desert… which is subtly in the background.

You may also want to check out some more creative advertising here.

Gruen Beer Billboard

Concept 2

In this billboard I played on the ‘double’ idea again. This time I played on the fact that when you drink alcohol you get double vision and see two of one thing… which also reflects the Gruen brand of two kangaroos. I made the second beer in the billboard blurry to suggest this fact of blurred vision. The white text on the black background makes it very easy to read at a long distance, something which is essential in a billboard design.

Billboard - Seeing Double?

The Verdict

90% of my classmates chose billboard number 1 which I also thought was the stronger design… it grabs your attention and makes the unfamiliar, familiar – not only that but it will make the viewer buy the product 5km down the road… which essentially is what advertising is for.

Poll:

What billboard concept do you believe is best?

View Results

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In the next post I will outline the design process behind creating two annual report designs. Subscribe to my article feed so you don’t miss out. As always, constructive criticism and comments are welcome.

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35 JUST™ Creative Comments

  • Emily Veras Reply

    Great Design ! , The first concept is my first choice.

    If you don’t mind me adding

    1. It attracts your attention , and its definitely different from most food/beverage ads which contain just the product itself ( Although that’s what most Art Directors like , I know by experience )

    2. The bottle sort of looks like its sitting on the road but not proportionally , I would add something around it/behind it ( slight outer glow/drop shadow ) , but other than that , real cool.

  • Mirko Reply

    The first concept does look better, but it can be taken as an encouragement to drink and drive, so your campaign could be taken negatively.

    In the second concept there also is a negative touch to it since you refer to the fact that people lose control (seeing double).

    In the first design, the road perspective brings a little dynamism to the layout, but I’d say that both designs aren’t very dynamic. The logo is unreadable too.

  • Web Design Adelaide Reply

    This is a great series and I’m really enjoying it. Look forward to the next installment.
    I’m more of a fan of number 1.

  • Paul Reply

    I like the second one better, it looks like a cooler more modern brand that way, but you’re right the first one does have the advantage of a call to action.

  • Daniel Richard Reply

    I don’t drink, but that one with the “next pub” poster sure does capture my attention. :)

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Emily,
    Thank you for your feedback, I can see how the bottle looks like it is sitting on the road, I suppose I could either make it look like it is on the road or do the opposite, and make it separate from the design.

    Mirko,
    Thank you for your constructive criticism, I appreciate it as it helps me improve…

    Although the billboard could be taken as an encouragement to drink and drive, I also believe that it is common sense not to binge drink – plus it is legal to drive with a BAC of under 0.05 in Australia which means you will be able to enjoy a beer 5km down the road. Also, in Australia we actually do have signs in the outback that say Next Pub in X number of KM… but I understand the fact that it could be taken negatively.

    The ‘double vision’ pun does work for the design and advertising campaign as a whole and it certainly is memorable however I do understand that it could also be seen as a negative factor but in saying that, everyone knows that drinking alcohol has negative effects in the first place.

    Unlike other mediums, billboard designs should be as simple as possible, which is why the ads are not so dynamic. The logo readability was raised in the first post by a few others. Thanks again.

    Ace,
    Thank you for your feedback.

    Paul,
    I believe the first one grabs more of your attention but you are correct, it does have a more modern feel.

    Daniel,
    Glad to hear so.

  • Erzen Reply

    I like both designs from the design perspective. But I though the target group is “25 years+ age group (boutique beer market) in the British or US markets”. I think that its not so easy to understand the billboard or the message that it is supposed to delivered. Maybe this could work in Australia, because they are familiar with “next pub” signs but I am not sure for young people in US and UK. As Mirko pointed out it could take a negative connotation. Just a thought, what do you think?

  • Peter Reply

    Hi Jason,

    Voted for option one! Its a lot more eye-catching I think (am thinking about this in terms of me sitting in my car and seeing it as a billboard).

    :-)

  • Matt Reply

    I have to partially agree with Erzen, I do think that the concept might be lost on some people. However, I would like to think that most people in our age group, that would be shopping for a beer like this, know about the Kangaroo warning signs in Australia and would still be able to make a meaningful connection, even though the original concept of the pub sign might be lost.

  • Woke Reply

    1. Nice idea, though I think the layout could be more interesting. Seeing the signboard itself as an installation in the highway (rather than as an image in the billboard) would be awesome.

    2. A bit surprised to see the kangaroo pair mark visually detached from the ‘Seeing double?’line. I think this would have worked better than doubling the bottle emphasizing on the double vision.

    Voted for 1.

  • Lalo Reply

    I agree with mirko and ezren, the billboards do have a negative connotation, even if in australia its allowed to with a BAC of under 0.05. I dont know of any beer company that would want to realte the alcohol with driving, that just dont happen, regarding to the design itself the first one its more eye catching but still needs more work.

  • pienose Reply

    I think the seeing double one could be a bit dodgy, seeing double? pissed?
    and I would try and sneak the ‘double hopped’ slogan into the first one, I just love the way every time I see the logo and double hopped it makes me smile =P

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Erzen,
    Yes the target market was for US or British markets, but don’t you not have those yellow warning signs also? I remember seeing them all the time when I was in the US… not so much England as I was only in London but they must have similar warning signs? The next pub connection is not necessary at all, I was just showing my thought process but I can agree on the negative connotations. Lesson learned… if only I received this sort of feedback from my teachers.

    Peter,
    Yes, I also believe this… like I said it makes the unfamiliar, familiar.

    Matt,
    See my reply to Erzen, thanks your opinion too!

    Woke,
    Yeah that would be great, having two kangaroos on a sign just outside a pub or something!

    Lalo,
    Thanks you Lalo, I appreciate getting this feedback, especially since this is my 2nd billboard design project… it is always great to hear feedback like this as it sure doesn’t happen from my teachers.

    Pienose,
    See my replies to Erzen and Mirko. Thank you.

    Hooray my 600th comment.

  • Rachel Reply

    Hey Jacob. I bet you had to drink a lot of beer to research this particular identity design project. I would actually love to see you write an article about how to design something for an oversized item such as a billboard or the side of a bus. Is there special software for this?

  • Jessica Reply

    I don’t understand how the first design encourages drinking and driving. It’s telling you to drive TO the pub for a Gruen Beer, presuming that you are not yet drunk. Once you get to the pub, it’s your responsibility to manage your alcohol intake, just like if you went to a club, party, etc.

    Obviously if you want a drink, you’re going to have to drive somewhere to get it, and then get yourself back home safely. Somehow the billboard just wouldn’t seem as effective if it said, “Turn around, go home, and enjoy a Gruen Beer.”

    That being said, I prefer the first design, but I agree that it should be altered slightly so that the bottle doesn’t appear to be sitting on the road.

    Great series!

  • Lalo Reply

    Hi Jessica, its not that the road and beer is telling you to drive and drink, but trust me i have worked with Casa Cuervo makers of tequila Jose Cuervo and with Grupo Modelo makers of Corona beer, and theres no way they want to realte any of their products whit an image of a road, maybe you and many here are mature and responsible but not all 25 YO guys and girls are that way, thats why you usually just see a product shot on billboards or images of beach and party related to alcohol products. And Jacob yes your teachers should give you more real life feedback, cause sooner or later youll face something like this with a client.

    Cheers!

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Rachel,
    Hehe only bought a few… I will be writing an article on how to design for large format… usually it is just the same software.

    Jessica,
    Although you are right in some respect about it being our own self responsibility I am now leaning towards what Lalo, Mirko and Erzen have mentioned. Sometimes it does take feedback from others to advise you on bad design decisions however you shouldn’t take it to heart… it is a lesson learned.

    It reminds me of a scenario from Tom Watson (starter of IBM)…

    One day a man in the company made a mistake that cost Tom Watson $600,000. Everyone mentoring and advising Tom Watson suggested that the man should go. But Tom Watson said, “Why would I want to fire this man and let all that experience go to a competitor? I just spent $600,000 to train him.”

    Lalo,
    See my comment to Jessica.

  • Udoka Chima Reply

    Hey Jacob. I like them both. The first evokes feelings of speed and adventure and the second is sleek and elite. However I chose the first design because of originality and the cleverness of the text.

    I just had quick question. Did you audition any other fonts for the line that says “next pub…” If you want my opinion, I think you could choose a different font that keeps with the “feel” of your product a bit more. I like the design but the current font seems a little generic to my eyes.

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Udoka,
    Thank you for your kind comments and for your choice! In regards to the font I used Helvetica as it is easy to read when you are on a road traveling at high speeds… and it is also used on the bottle (where it says DOUBLE HOPPED). Thanks for your feedback!

  • Paul Reply

    Great designs. I like the first one as it grabs your attention and really different from other advertisements. Awesome work.

  • Kathy Reply

    I vote for design #1.

    Only one suggestion. I enjoy beer. My favorite of all beers is one that has just been pulled out of a cooler of ice with ice crystals clinging to the sides of the frosty glass. Show that to me while I am driving in the desert and my mouth starts to water.

    I don’t see either of the billboards promoting drinking and driving. But then I am not your target market… 54 and responsible.

    Love your work.

  • James Reply

    Concept 1 is awesome. Very eye catching. The design & contents diffinetly promotes the product.

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  • Atlanta Graphic Designer Reply

    I like the second concept. Its great.

  • Faree Reply

    When i first saw option 1, i thought of myself driving at the highway and having seeing the option 1 billboard. So probably it would be better for highway. It is very eye-catching as it is a daytime look so it stands out more.

    I do like option 2 as well. It has a very classic look and i can imagine it being put up at billboards around downtown area where there are lots of things going on.

    That was my impression when i saw the 2 billboards. To me, both concepts are still good to use.

  • Chris Reply

    I’ve enjoyed reading this series, but must admit I disagree with the masses on which is the better billboard. While board 1 appeals here on a white background (despite the bottle placement issues), in the real world the billboard will be seen in a variety of background scenery. Background elements such as trees, weather, structures, etc. will diminish the overall effectiveness. In a magazine?.. brilliant. On the road, not so much. The second would work much better in a variety of settings and most effectively during daylight hours. When engaging in an exercise like these, your best bet is to go walk the walk and place your billboard over existing boards in a variety of settings to get a true sense of effectiveness. Good stuff though.

  • auto loans Reply

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  • christopher owiti jaoko Reply

    in the first conceipt the beer bottle on the road is not very visible, u should have made it brighter or give it an outer glow effect, otherwise i like the first billboard

  • Virtual Agents Reply

    Very interesting creative design Jacob. Much like the concept number one. Giving a complete attention to the work you do, the contents promotes the product well.

  • springrank Reply

    I do like option 2 as well. It has a very classic look and i can imagine it being put up at billboards around downtown area where there are lots of things going on.


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