Beer & Cider

Are brands re-discovering ‘visual authenticity?’

Nordur Salt Crafted Packaging

I’ve written frequently on the subject of so-called ‘craft’ brands springing up everywhere. According to packaging design website The Dieline, such brands are harnessing a trend towards ‘visual authenticity’ in their design language. The Dieline’s founder Andrew Gibbs coined this term recently and defined it as: ‘a real, trusted, human connection to the products and…

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7 ways that packaging reaches a man's heart

Kiehl's Fathers day shop window display

It will soon be ‘Father’s Day’ again, that time of year when kids and adults alike are forced by the marketing machine of the greeting card and gift industry to buy something for their Dad. This means that the shops and the internet are stuffed to the gunnels (look it up) with products that are…

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Is craft beer changing the codes of branding?

Five years ago I coined the term ‘the little guy’ to define an important shift in branding. Typified by innocent, this term referred to the phenomenon of brands who re-established the connection, severed perhaps a century ago, between producer and customer. Fuelled by the explosion of choice facilitated by the internet, and the explosion of…

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The power of lettres

Several Cider Brands on a Supermarket Shelf

Logos are not words, they are symbols. The combination of the word and its meaning, exactly how it is written, and how you choose to frame it, is usually the most powerful signal a brand can send. But why stop there? Too many packs consist of a tired formula: Logo, descriptor and product shot in…

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Medieval qualities

According to Wikipedia (a dangerous way to assert anything factual), there are only 10 beers in the world allowed to call themselves Trappist. Such a designation is subject to strict rules, like being brewed within the walls of a Trappist monastery, and not being created for profit. Two brands on this supermarket shelf qualify, but…

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Propagandist art

As a regular drinker of these superb beers I’ve become used to the fact that their design codes chewed up the rules of the market and spat them in the bin. But to many people browsing the beer aisle, they probably look like alien invaders. Examples of such semiotic brilliance are rare, and their power…

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Iconic or plain?

Beer on a Greek Supermarket Shelf

Guinness has been perfecting the art of reductionism for many years, so this latest manifestation simply tweaks a successful formula: presenting a tasteful product in an iconic glass. Local beer Keo is new to this particular game, and has elected to ditch its beer label ‘furniture’ like the crest and what I always thought was…

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Less colour, more craft

Brouwerij 't IJ Beer Bottles on Shelf

This charming independent brewery started life in one of Amsterdam’s last remaining windmills, but wisely decided against employing its home as a symbol and went for an Ostrich (with egg) instead. It’s a long story but something to do with the similar sound of ‘Ij’ and ‘Ei’ – ask a Dutch person. I must admit…

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King, or Jack of all beers?

According to this highly informative blog, about 93% of America’s beer is produced by 2% of its breweries, and here’s a couple of the best known mega-brands behind those statistics. Trends in the beer market however are strongly in favour of the little guys (microbrewers), who grew 13% in a declining market last year. To…

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Finding the ‘authentic’ theme in powerpoint

Beer Packs on a Supermarket Shelf

Speaking of microbrewers as we were above, outlets like Whole Foods are natural allies and promote the sector strongly. As Thompson Dawson’s article points out, the design language here ‘celebrates the uniqueness of their approach to brewing with highly expressive, sometimes even hand-drawn labels’. There were indeed some fine examples of this on display, though…

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