Brix City Brewing is the first craft brewery out of Bergen County, NJ. In 2015, I had the fortunate opportunity to pair up with the creators to start professionally designing their labels for their bottle and canned beer line.
Without having a professional package and graphic designer by their side, the previous labels produced were not of print quality resulting in a grainy and blurry output, did not follow proper trim and bleed guidelines, but the biggest issue? Many of the labels didn't even have their brand name on them affecting their identity at hand. As a branding & identity specialist, this literally ate at my soul.
Thus was the start of a beautiful marriage. Not to mention, these guys wanted to be different. There was no set "template" they wanted to follow from release to release. No, the masterminds behind this brand wanted something completely unique. They wanted to invoke an experience from the minute their customer laid eyes upon their beer of choice, to the moment they took their first sip.
A designers dream, many of the labels needing to be crafted were done on the direction from the name of the beer alone, while others were crafted with a clear vision in mind by the owners themselves. Many have hidden messages of inside jokes between the creators, a tributing respect to influential sports figures, nostalgic moments pertaining to eras that will take you back in time, while others were produced to be just downright controversial.
When it came to the artistic elements featured within the label, many were done entirely from my own artistic vision while others were crafted with the help of outside illustrators supplying their talents. As a designer, it was my responsibility to work with these other pieces of art and compose a piece that worked on the medium it would be produced upon.
This proved to be tricky. The artistic elements provided by outside illustrators sometimes were harder to place on the label in combination with the appropriate text without covering up key essential componenents that allowed the end user to still see the "big picture".
The thing is, challenges excite me, and while I would prefer to have full control over any design that I'm producing, having the opportunity to work with other individuals who differ from my preferred style and creative vision has pushed me to be a better designer and an even better listener.
Many times I would look at an illustration provided and pay attention to the feeling and response it was invoking in me as an individual. What story was this trying to tell? How did this relate to the name of the beer? Did this relate to the name of the beer at all? Knowing my client, being the outside-of-the-box thinkers that they are, sometimes pulling it all together meant having to be okay if not everything "made sense" about it.
Many times the creation of the labels being produced in combination with an outside illustrators influence meant me putting my own creative flair on it by utilizing typography. This went from the right font to match the vibe of the label in addition to the composition and placement around the background of the label itself.
Over 3 years later, and as of November 2018, I have officially produced 90 labels for Brix City. While seeing each label come together on a computer screen provides me with a joy that only other designers can understand, seeing them get brought to life on a weekly basis proves to be far more rewarding.