Over the past two years I have grown a true fondness for Craft Beer, since tasting my first Craft brew I have hardly enjoyed any of the local South African beers. One thing I have always found inspiring about craft beer is the labels and branding, craft has always been far more creative than the mass produced beers. I was first asked by Crystal Park to design a label back in November 2013, and have since done 3 labels for the band’s brews.
December 2014 I was contacted by PG Groenewald a brewer from Woecester in the Cape, who wanted to start building up the face of the brand, Mountain Brewing Company.
When I start any project, I was think of where or how the logo is portrayed. At that time my thoughts for the logo were focused on the neck of a beer bottle, so the shape would be triangular which in turn worked out great form the peak of the Mountains to the shape at the bottom of the Logo. Overall the design of the typography is very much the style I enjoy, the old classic rustic look that any American Picker would pay top dollar for, if they saw the rusted sign in a barn somewhere in the Mid-West.
After the logo, it seemed the right thing to carry on and produce an emblem. This in my eyes is what will eventually become the brand’s stamp on the consumer’s eyes, because this is what every consumer will see when opening a bottle… the top of the beer cap. The original emblem was black but once my brain started crafting around this, I decided it had to be red. It came to me when selecting some crafts from a fridge, and seeing that not one brand in South Africa had a cap that said “Look at me!”. All of them were either Brass or Black, they were not competing against one another… now there will be some eye candy amongst the average in store fridges.
Loadshed Lager was the original, it’s the first label. PG and I had discussed several beers, and agreed that a Lager was essential for the South African market. South Africans love Lagers, can you remember how upset a nation was when they lost their Lion Lager? During this time of creative brainstorms, South Africa was facing serious energy problems… South Africa was facing Loadshedding every single day. PG clicked, it has to be Loadshed Lager. It is so perfect, and so typically South African to find humour in whatever lemons our country throws at us. So Loadshed Lager was born. However, Loadshedding has two meanings for PG. Not only a good laugh at South Africa’s power situation, but also shedding a stressful day with a great beer.
From here the real work began, because from the brand to the label I had to start planning the Look and feel of this brand. I felt that when I think of craft Beer, I think hand crafted… not taking away that there is no craft in mass produced beer. Think of the Garage brewer, it’s a very hands on thing brewing beer. This is where I decided, the look must feel hand crafted. This is all portrayed in the label, from the hand drawn line textures and water colour painted candle. The typography all has the feel of being hand crafted.
The Iconic candle has various meanings, the foremost being that South African homes are lit by candles when the electricity is out. I really wanted the candle to have that warmth, and you can feel it from the colours. Even though the candle is painted, I wanted it to feel it was alive and a slight flicker on the flame gives it some motion and realism.
MBco Branding Feel and a Generic Label
From Loadshed it was easy for me to evolve the entire branding, from elements created for the label. Hand drawn lines, and a favourite was to begin drawing up various banners. The first being something I have had in my head for ages, and something I have begun to live by… “Always Share Great Tasting Beer”.
When PG told me he needed a generic label because he wanted to brew different beers, then get the public to taste and give their input into what will be the next label of brew. ‘Sharing’ was the word that encapsulated the Generic brews, and what the brand should be about. ‘Share the Taste’ ‘Always share great tasting beer’, it is something anyone who starts the adventure of Craft Beer can easily be part of, I have just had an amazing beer, why not share it with my friends and acquaintances.
In a discussion with Sean, a gentleman who is very much involved with setting up brewers around the country. He said “Once a client has a label, he starts to believe in what he is doing”, such true words. True to those words I even gained a great belief in this project after the first label, and the creativity on the project as a whole became easier.
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