Monthly Archives: February 2011


I’m completely at a loss right now. I feel like I’ve backed myself into a corner with this design, and have no idea what looks good or bad anymore. I’m considering scrapping the whole idea and starting over, but I still like the concept even though nothing is turning out like I imagine in my head. I used to like this idea….now I’m just frustrated.

Anyway, here are my color options. I don’t think I like any of them.



Logo progress: post-critique plan

Critique today made me realize my logic behind my decisions is not holding up. I intended Celtic knot forms within the letterforms, with an old style serif to cement the old feel. What I came up with was something too feminine for my audience. Southey guys from Boston wouldn’t drink this label. I need to scrap the knot, beef up the initials, and change the font to a blockier sans serif. I also need to work on verticality — to put this on a bottle, it will have to be taller than wide.

I’m going to focus amping up the fifth option, with the back-to-back B R (which, incidentally, was my least favorite before the critique helped clarify some stuff). I have a better feel of where I need to go with this now. I hope it will work as I design into something more successful.

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Sketches – Black Rose Brewery

I’m a little behind on work today, but I knocked out about a dozen sketches in class today. I really want to focus on a celtic knot form that imitates a radial (rose) form without being too floral/feminine. My consumer demographic is geared toward a blue-collar kind of person: “Authentic”, “Proud” and “Hard-working” were the three adjectives I came up with to describe them. So I don’t want a lot of flourish. No girly stuff. Even a rose form can appeal to a construction worker if designed correctly.

I’m playing a lot with the B and R forms that are the initials of my brewery’s name (Black Rose). I’ve been experimenting with mirror imaging the B, the cutting off the bottom part to creating an R form. The counters intersect in both letters to create a knot-like space. I’ve also tried creating another loop on the ends to look like leaves growing out of the sides of the letters. I’ve also put the B and R back to back to create a stem from their strokes, with a radial knot above to indicate the rose bud.

So far, I have a few ideas that I really like in sketch form. From here I’ll take the pen tool to the designs and make a digital version in Illustrator. Chances are I’ll either end up merging ideas, or have a stroke of inspiration at some point and scratch all ideas for something new. Who knows?

Project Two: name and progress

So I’ve narrowed down name options to about seven that have not been taken already (I came up with about 20, but the rest are already in use). I’ve decided to use the name “Black Rose Brewery”. This can incorporate the theme I want with old/Celtic/stone design elements, while still giving me a lot of freedom to explore the radial design of roses. And even though a rose is typically a feminine object, the black counters its femininity, which keeps my main demographic (men) in mind.

Right now I’m in the process of finding fonts I like. So far I have about 8-9 typefaces in varying sizes, which I will narrow down for next time. I’m looking for a rough, somewhat blackletter style, but one that still allows creativity to move away from the classic type style.

Project Two: Subject and competitive audit

For project two, I’ve decided to create my brand identity design around a microbrewery. For this, I wanted to do a sort of New England/Boston/Irish style design, but am having a hard time finding an entity that really exemplifies what I want to do.

At first I had this amazing idea (or so I thought) to create a coat of arms with barley, hops, water and malt symbols in the crest. However, upon browsing tonight I found out that a small brewery in Vancouver called Okanagan Spring did the exact same thing! Now, I’ve never even heard of them, much less seen their label, but it’s always really annoying to see that someone had your great idea first.


My idea for a logo…except I found out it’s been used already!

So, despite that setback, here is a list of 10 breweries with good logos (for my competitive audit):

  1. Flying Dog Brewery (featuring artwork by Ralph Steadman! <3)
  2. San Francisco Brewery
  3. Shiner Beers
  4. Killian’s Irish Ale
  5. Peacetree Brewing Co.
  6. Murphy’s Irish Stout
  7. Rogue Ales
  8. Smithwick’s
  9. New Belgium Brewery
  10. Strongbow Cider

While none of these have exactly what I want to do (which is good), many of them incorporate design aspects I might include (and some just look really cool).

Also, Fullsteam Brewery has an awesome identity package, which I’ve chosen for my Show + Tell piece for the assignment.

Concept Narrative: Project One

My information design project was a brochure and map of Raccoon River Valley Trail, a community bike path that covers over 50 miles of West-Central Iowa. The brochure was designed to fold up into roughly 2.5″w x 4″h, which would make it easy to tuck inside a pocket, biking jersey, or backpack. The full size unfolded to be 17″ x 8″, which allowed for a decent size map as well as a lot of visitor guide information. The map folded in half lengthwise, then in half again from short side, followed by a tri-fold to create the compact size.

Front of brochure (folds in half longwise, between photos and info)

The biggest challenge of this project came from the fact that the trail itself is under construction.There are five trailheads (located in towns across the countryside) that will be completed soon, but are currently only briefly mentioned on the site’s existing map. My most difficult task was recreating the mileage chart that indicated distances between the trailheads. Since these five were not on the already-laid path, but instead created a sort of inside loop, the math involved in adding them to the mileage chart was more in-depth than I anticipated. I finally came up with a feasible answer, though not as elegant as the original, that sufficiently mapped out all trailheads current and future.

I also contacted the RRVT Association for high-resolution photos to add to the inside fold (the three color shots). They sent me seven average photos, most of them candid “Cheese!” shots, so I pulled a high res stock photo of fall leaves from the internet and used that in the middle, to show the changing seasons in the photos.

Back of brochure (map)

The map itself took very little time compared to all the reworking of the mileage chart, photos, and info. I pulled colors from the photos on the reverse side for the different logos, and used a second color, burgundy, on the trail to indicate the new additions. I considered also using the burgundy in the mileage chart to indicate the new route, but it began to clash with the transparency blending I had in place, so I left it all shades of gold to reflect colors like warmth (summer), harvest (corn, which you pass on the trail quite frequently) and nature. The headline font, called Galahad, was also used because it reminded me of nature/wood/Native American style. I used Optima for the body copy, since it was simple, readable, and paired well with the Galahad.


Project One | On the home stretch

I’m finishing up the front half of my brochure, and finally starting the map. I can’t believe how much time the mileage chart took — I still worked on it for the majority of this class too! But I think it’s done, though I might alternate some colors once I get a color scheme settled for the map.

I think I’m going to draw in the blue from the photos to indicate the new trail routes on my map, with the yellow and brown to indicate the basic trail.

The photos I received from RRVT are mostly just candid shots, but I think the three I’m using will be a good representation of various seasons on the trail. I also decided against using the photo with lots of greenery; the primary colors were starting to take over and become too rainbow. So I chose the “Trails and Trills” photo of the biker on the bridge with the piano player. It’s kind of quirky, but I think it works with colors and gives some indication of activities that go on along the trail. The winter photo of the woman is also a little difficult in that I think her coat is too bold of a purple color. I’d like to tone that down, or even change the color of her coat in Photoshop. I’ll have to mess with that later.

For the weekend, I’m probably going to spend a few more hours creating the map. Overall, however, i think the hardest parts (the chart and brochure info) are out of the way.