Concept Narrative: Brand Identity + Package Design

Definining my brand began back in February, and has since been the foundation on which I base all my other decisions. my brand is a New England brewery that values the blue-collar, hard-working, blood-sweat-and-tears men and women of America. It produces micro-brewed beverages for those who want to sit back and enjoy a cold, flavorful drink after a hard day on the job.

This essence initially brought to mind granite and etching stone. I wanted to incorporate a Celtic element to my design, but eventually that was simplified into my logo (the loops in the B & R were inspired by a Celtic Knot). But as I thought more about the audience, I decided to go with light wood planking instead of stone. It added a warmer tone to contrast better against an all-black logo, and still made the brand look industrial and simple. This worked well in transferring the logo onto wooden kegs and a brewery gate. It also came in handy later when I began constructing the six-pack. I went with a template I found for a hexagonal pack, which I thought would work well. Roses are radial forms, so I thought a hexagon would mimic that better than a simple rectangular box. Then, when I added the wood panels, it began to look like a keg again. I think the wood was a good decision that helped solidify the identity as a whole.

I went from logo design, to how the logo looked on different-sized objects, to created a package for my brand. It was logical to make the jump from brewery to beer, so I immediately looked into six-pack cases. I created a few mock-up cases to figure out how the template looked, and then worked on resizing and printing a tiled template so that it actually fit 6 bottles comfortably (the original template only came out to be about 3 inches high). But as I looked at examples of other beer brands, I realized that I couldn’t design a case without having bottles to put in it. So I began designing labels. This gradually took precedence over the box. Before I knew it the project was due in a week and I had three distinct labels, but still no design for the case. So I spent 6 hours in Carnegie last Wednesday, going in between capstone editing work and designing/constructing the case. It went well until I had to glue the paper onto each panel; the studio tack we thought would hold, in fact, did not. It was very frustrating to get so far and only find this out when I didn’t have enough time to go buy different materials.

I definitely learned the value of multi-tasking during this project. I also learned that trusting my instincts is important (as in the wood and the color scheme for my labels — both came from decisions that I can’t really describe, but seemed inherently correct). I also learned to test materials well before they’re due.

Full identity design system

After some last-minute construction, I’ve finished what I can of my identity project. The studio tack I used was a total failure, so for the re-do before finals I intend to figure out how to make things stick better (spray adhesive?). As I said during group discussion, I’ve been spread way too thin in the last weeks to give this project the attention it deserves (my capstone just finished up last night, after a 38-consecutive-hour final editing process). For now, I’m really displeased by the six-pack (mostly because the panels won’t stay on and the die cuts don’t match up) but I’m very satisfied with the labels. I definitely want to revisit the box, and fix it up before the end of semester, but right now I think I need to take a break from this project for awhile.

Here are the final pieces (I still haven’t switched out the revised, thicker logo on the stationery, but it’s on the box):

Overall, I wish I had had more time to develop this project some more, as well as materials that worked better. I did enjoy exploring the different materials used in creating an identity, and finding out my own creative process. For example: I learned to trust my instincts on decisions. The color scheme began with me choosing three arbitrary colors and using them together (the red, cream and black used for the stout) and then staring at them until things came to mind that the colors reminded me of (brick, industry, blue-collar work…which sparked the ideas for the beer names). From there I chose two other colors with a similar feeling. I can’t really describe the reasoning, but I liked the intuition and ran with it.

I think I could really like branding design if I had the time to devote to it (which would definitely not be a problem without a senoir project taking over).

Final stretch?!

I can’t believe these are due Monday already! I need so much more time than I have this weekend. My capstone has totally taken over in these past few weeks, so I’ve had little/no time to work on this outside of class. I hoped to start designing my six-pack today, but I had to tweak some things on my label, which ended up taking WAY longer than I expected. I printed and started cutting out the bare template again so I can trace it on my poster board, but that’s as far as I got today. And I’m gone this weekend (AGAIN) so I won’t be able to finish up until Sunday night. Ugh.

Here’s one of my final labels, with all the technical stuff (surgeon general warning, barcode, brew info, etc.).

I guess I can sleep after I graduate…

Bottle Labels

Today I focused on variations of my bottle labels. I came up with three so far: Smithy’s Stout, Iron Horse Lager, and Shipyard Ale. I might do one more, or just leave the three so that my six-pack case can hold two of each.

This JPG looks nothing like the actual colors, which are taken from the “Stone and Brick” color schemes in Illustrator (the real colors are much less bright, more faded/worn looking). Even in Illustrator, the colors look darker on screen than they do printed out, so I tested them for legibility. The first grey I used for the lager was much lighter than it looked on screen, so I darkened it. I kept the red and blue the same. If I do another label I’ll probably use a dark tan/khaki color (I considered green, but figured it would not go with the industrial theme).

Wednesday I’ll focus on designing the case.


I’ve finally figured out something that I like with this project!!! I was blindly playing around with colors and beer names today and came up with what I think is a great start to a bottle label scheme. I decided it would be boring to stick “Black Rose” in front of every beer name, so I decided to come up with some more clever names that still resonate with the demographic. I came up with one so far: Smithy’s Stout. I plan on making 3-5 more kinds, with similar names that connote hard-working, rustic lifestyles. Some other words I’ve been playing around with are Iron Horse, Journeyman, and Deck Hand. These will all be accompanied by a simple photo, like the anvil in the example. My demographic is concerned more with a complex taste than a complex label, so I think the dark color, heavy font and simple graphics will convey the tone of voice I’ve been looking for.

Here’s the mock-up of my first (good) label:

I’ll be gone for critique on Wednesday, but I’m hoping to get some good feedback from the class next week. Until then, I’ll work on more variations of these, as well as gather some more materials for the 6-pack (I bought posterboard at Hobby Lobby, but am considering seeing what the Art Store has to offer as well).

Update: progress in class today

Not much to report for today. Printed my resized version of the six-pack, and it seems to fit the bottles well. (I found out I even have extra space in the center that can hold a seventh bottle!)

I don’t have a photo of the correct size, since I didn’t have glue or tape and was basically holding the pieces together while I placed the bottles inside. But here’s a shot of the final template (same as what I posted on Monday):

I realize I haven’t gotten very far with this portion of the project yet. Our capstone is having its first pin-up tomorrow, so I’ve been pouring all my free time into getting the spreads ready for that. After tomorrow at noon, though, I can devote some time to this project and hopefully make good progress over the weekend.

Container specs

My main focus today was on the size specifications for my container. First I measured a beer bottle (I used the Bud Light bottles in Carnegie that were someone’s project last year). The bottles are 9.5″ tall, 2.5″ diameter, 7.75″ circumference base, and 4.75″ circumference neck.

After building the hexagonal crate to what I thought were the correct dimensions to fit the bottles, I found out that the template in the book is much too wide for a beer bottle. So I had to rework the template, which was difficult to do since the file is an .eps and doesn’t allow for resizing parts of the whole. I had to cut and paste the hexagon pieces for the top and bottom, then resize everything so that each of the 6 sides measures 9.75″x3.9″. This took forever, but here is what the final template looks like:

I will assemble it at some point to make sure it fits all the bottles, but from here I plan to actually start designing it, as well as reworking the bottle labels I created before. I’m also considering barmats (coasters), tappers and glasses if time allows.