After a lot of blood, sweat and tears, I’m so glad that my beer labels are finished and that I am happy with them. Especially as I have never designed packaging before, I think these turned out really well. I’m disappointed that the printers messed up my order a little but as it is such a small element of the design I am not too upset. It would have been worse if a larger, more visible design element had been forgotten or changed.
I think it’s unusual how the beer labels were constructed, and it’s interesting that each bottle tells the story of how the beer was made. In a way, each bottle is a recipe for making that particular style of beer. Each label contains the main ingredients and the rough ratio of hops to barley, and also contains a piece of equipment that you’d use to make the beer: mills, fermentation tanks, bottling equipment, etc. I think this design is dark, almost like a metal album cover, but will still appeal to a lot of people. It has that kind of victorian feel, in the illustrations themselves and also in the traditional, dark look of it.
The foiling was a good decision in the end and I’m glad I changed the design to incorporate it. It really finishes off the label and elevates them from looking just like a university project, to an actual label being used by a company (which they are!)
My client could use the wax sealed bottles for limited edition beer styles, and stick to the grolsch style caps for the regular beers. I changed the caps to a wax seal because I wanted to try something a little more ambitious for the purpose of the uni project, but I will make a few changes to the design for my client. My client is over the moon with the design! It is exactly the kind of thing he was looking for and he feels that I took what he wanted and represented it really well.
The only downside is that the labels are a little difficult to photograph. The colours are in fact really bright in real life, but I slightly struggled trying to capture that. This project helped me learn a lot about taking product photos – I usually just send off images to clients and then they take their own. My client can use these photos if he wishes but we may end up taking different ones. I now feel confident about taking and editing product photos, which makes me more versatile as an artist and is also helpful to my own business – I occasionally take product photos for my online shop and now I know a few more tricks about getting better photos.
I also pushed myself a lot with the actual drawing side of this project – I don’t usually draw machinery or plants so this was a bit of a challenge for me. Incorporating the art nouveau style was interesting, because I don’t usually draw inspiration from this art style. I think I’ve managed to take some influence from AN in a way that isn’t too obvious, which I think makes this work still very much conform to my illustration style. I also never use colour very often unless it is an accent colour, so I’m really proud that I managed to step out of my comfort zone. I have a few commissions to work on that require colour so I think I can manage that much better than if I hadn’t worked on this project.
I also never create logos because it’s a weakness of mine, I struggle to work with typography. However, after achieving this logo, I think I will take on some more logo based commissions, as I am often asked by clients if I can create them. Usually I create logos that are more graphic/visual but I want to try type only logos in the future.
I would love to create some more product packaging for another client, so I will look for a small independent company to collaborate with. The whole point of third year for me was to see how I can apply my illustrations in the real world. Luckily, because my style is realism, my work tends to suit most applications. I’m trying to take a step back from the metal aspect of my art to “soften” things up a little so that I am able to take on commissions that are more commercial – in the long run this will be better for me as an artist because basically I’ll be able to get more work in the future if I am able to diversify.
Overall I am super pleased with how these turned out. I’ve learned a lot from these project and feel so much more confident about my abilities and my work process. I feel that these projects have helped me become a stronger artist and I’m definitely settling into what will probably always be my “style.”