Beer label design is critical to building your brand and we like staying on the cutting edge with events like this. This sold out event was fun and inspiring as we work with our customers to keep their beer label design fresh.
Live Design in Real Time
Led by beer label design guru Ryan Wheaton, the Rough Draught event featured four designers doing live design in a compressed 90 minute time frame. Each designer was paired with a specific beer that was released for the event. Attendees were invited to taste the beer and come up with catchy names for the beers. Ultimately, in 90 minutes, the beers were named and labels were designed on site. This was likely the fastest beer label design they had ever done. Hearing the designers talk about their inspiration and process was very interesting.
Learning while They Draw
Harvey Shepard – founder of Oh Beautiful Beer gave us a fantastic history lesson while the designers were hard at work. Starting with the very first packaging – which was not controlled by the brewery or standardized – through prohibition, we learned about all the ups and downs of beer packaging through the ages. More important for many was the commentary on the current proliferation of specialty, one-off, short run products (and labels). Harvey did a good job of pointing out that all trends run in cycles and what is working now may not be viable in 5 years. Speaking of 5 years, this was a general guideline for a brand refresh. Every case is different – and elements of a brand may need a refresh much sooner – but this was an interesting and helpful part of the Q&A session.
True to the Brand – Discipline
This was another great reinforcement of something we preach daily – the design has to be true to the brand. Labels don’t exist in a vacuum, they are part of a larger brand story. In order to be effective, this story has to be authentic and consistent. Harvey was asked about how he avoids creating beer labels that all look the same and this was the answer – discipline. Designers in his studio Blind Tiger Design in Seattle work very hard to listen and draw out the authentic brand story. This discovery process is critical, and clearly one of the things that keeps their design fresh, fun, and authentic to the brands they serve.
Design is Key
Why does Rose City Label care about design this much? Design is key. Without great design partners, the label printing process is boring and our customers aren’t likely to succeed. We don’t do in-house design, but we do have a wonderful group of design partners that we can refer you to. Thanks to Ryan, Harvey, and our friends at Hopworks for hosting this fun, interesting event.