Over the past 14 weeks I have been developing a corporate identity for a new fictional beer label called Gruen. I am going to outline the process and decisions made while creating this identity by documenting the process over three articles. This is part one.
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.
Pitch two creative billboard designs to the class based on the chosen beer from project one > the class will vote on best billboard 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 1: Create Two Beer Label Designs
The Design Brief
Produce two unique graphic identities for a new beer product – Gruen Beer. Present artwork for a front and back label, cap and optional neck label to suit a 375ml beer bottle. Below are the specifics.
- Gruen Beer is produced in Australia for export use.
- The beer is Double Hopped. (ie. how a beer can be an Ale, Bitter, Lager, etc.)
- The design must target the 25 years+ age group (boutique beer market) in the British or US markets.
- The designs should convey a sense of quality and tradition which is also comfortable in a contemporary environment.
- The labels must include all legal requirements.
As soon as I was given this brief I went out to the library and borrowed books on bottle design and packaging design and I also went down to the local liquor store with a camera and took photos of the beer packaging (after asking security) – you can see a few of the pictures below.
I also bought some beers (for ahem… research) and asked the bottle shop to keep some packages of beer for me to come back and collect the following week… this was so I could have some beer packages for first hand reference. I also researched the legal requirements of what had to be on the labels.
My Design Decisions
Based on the research I came to the conclusion that I wanted to do two totally different designs. I decided to do a traditional beer label and a contemporary beer label, both of which would adhere to the brief of being comfortable in a contemporary environment.
The next stage was to come up with an icon / name / style for the beer. After some brainstorming and sketching I ended up punning on the ‘Double Hopped’ name of the beer. I made the brand have two kangaroos to emphasise hopping (ie. two hops) and to emphasise the Aussieness of the beer – the kangaroo is on our national symbol after all. I got the inspiration for the design from our well known road signs, as seen in the picture below.
Now the name and ‘logo’ was set I could begin designing the other parts of the beer such as the bottle shape and the label itself.
The Traditional Beer Label Concept
After the initial research I found that most traditional beer labels had serif and / or script typefaces, were roundish in shape and had dark colours with very fine details, only visible on close inspection. I also found from surveys with class members, the most ‘i-want-to-drink-that-beer’ colour was green.
I used this knowledge for my traditional beer label design which you will find evident in the pictures below. The final result was an Australian green and gold colour scheme (our national colours) and a traditional round label with seriffed and scripted typefaces. Below you can see the traditional beer label mockup that I used for the first pitch to the class.
If this label was to be printed professionally the yellow coloured parts would be made into gold metallic foil – I tried to emulate this with slight gradients however it is extremely difficult (impossible?) to emulate gold metallic foil on the screen.
Below is a close up of the labels with all legal requirements.
Below I have shown you a closer close up which shows the real detail of the label… it really is this detail that makes the design look ‘real’. Notice the slight gradients and how many lines / shadows there are? Next time you have a beer, take a closer look!
Below you can see the final render done in Cinema 4D and Photoshop. The final composition creates a strong brand, one that reflects Australia in a traditional, yet contemporary manner. What do you think? Thirsty?
The Contemporary Beer Label Design
For the next label I wanted to go for something a little more contemporary, modern, yet still Australian… I went for the dusty Australian outback feeling this time. Below you can get an idea of the outback I was envisioning (the picture is from my roadtrip out to Uluru in early October).
Below is my original mockup for the pitch done to my class. Originally I had gold (as seen on the left) but found that the creme colour worked better.
I should also mention that if this design was to be printed professionally, the label would be printed onto a clear sticker so that only the coloured parts showed through onto the bottle.
Below you can see a closeup of the label design. The circle is the cap.
Below is a mockup of a four pack of Gruen ‘Double Hopped’ Beer done in Cinema 4D and Photoshop. Ensure that your screen brightness is up otherwise the design may seem a bit too dark.
So what do you think is the best beer? Green or brown? 10 of the 15 in my class voted for the brown design and when I held a poll on Twitter, 82% voted for brown.
Personally, I think the brown design suited the brief better, as the beer looks premium… like a small batch boutique beer. I should also mention that doubled hopped beer is usually more on the darker side and that is another reason why I pursued with this design.
Although the green traditional label had it perks, it was not entirely suited to the market as well as the brown design.
In the next post I will outline the design process behind creating two creative billboards. And then finally in the third post I will outline the process and design decisions of creating an annual report design. Subscribe to my article feed so you don’t miss out.
As always, constructive criticism and comments are welcome. Would you be interested in seeing a tutorial on how to create a beer label?