Punk is dead. Letterpress revived

Posted by Steve on May 11th 2015 in: Are brands re-discovering ‘visual authenticity’?, Beer & Cider

Beer Packaging on Shelf

Showing yet again why they are the UK’s most exciting and fastest growing drinks brand, last year Brew Dog transformed their 7 year old ‘punk rock’ labels to something almost completely different. They went from ‘rebel’ to pillar of the (craft beer) establishment overnight and got away with it. So put down your business-school books on re-positioning strategy and read how it’s really done:

‘When we set out to change our packaging, we did so with one aim in mind – to create packaging that better reflected the beer we make. That meant focusing ruthlessly on two things: quality and craft.

We’ve done that by stripping the design process back to basics. By going to one of the UK’s few remaining letterpress studios to hand-print our designs using 100 year-old metal and wood letter blocks.

By moving to a thick, uncoated paper and by applying layers of ink with as much personality and character as the beer inside the bottle. And we’ve embossed the labels so they feel awesome in your hands. It’s time for our packaging to become as hand-crafted as our beer.’

All fine and dandy but someone had to create an appropriate brand graphic identity. The result seems comparatively sober after the shock of the original incarnation.But looking closer (as you are bound to do as you caress that thick, uncoated, embossed hand-warmer of a label), the design’s big idea hits you. It’s the old-school Printer’s multi-layered ‘test sheet’.

Designers older than 35 knew that already. Hint for Gen Z or whatever you’re called this week: It’s not a filter in Photoshop.