How to Brew a Brand

07.11.18

Beer. Our studio has an undying love for the craft. We’ve been known to swing by Fyne Ales for a brewery tour and a wee keg or two of ale. Our team has been caught up first-hand in the wonder of the scenery, the care of their community and the craft of their beer.

The question is, how do you communicate that wonder to someone deciding what to drink at the pub or shop? That’s exactly what Fyne Ales asked us to do when they needed a rebrand. Through their own extensive consumer and market research, they’d realised that their beer owned a ‘safe’ supermarket perception.

We set out to change that.

Beginning our design process by taking a brewery residency on the farm itself, we spent time with the Fyne Ales family. What became clear was that their brand didn’t fully reflect the story and ethos that we found on the farm. And it’s not only us that saw it that way—much of the team felt like the brand wasn’t bold enough, it was inconsistent, and that the traditional style really didn’t match the exciting things going on in the mash tuns.

What we found was a family company rooted in their place in the world, with a growing community and two eyes on the future of craft brewing. Immersing ourselves in the brewery meant we had firsthand research to draw on when it came time to leave the wellies at the door and take things to the studio desk for a design-led workshop.

The emerging theme was clear: be yourselves.

Not to oversimplify, but we really believe that’s it. Fyne Ales is in the heart of Scotland. They are a family. They make real craft beer with care and integrity. In this era, the key to success is to wholly be themselves. As the poet and environmentalist Gary Snyder wrote: “Find your place on the planet. Dig in and take responsibility from there.” The trick for us—and this brand—was to represent that visually.

With research and values in place, we could get to the the fun bit: the creative. We played around with rebuilding the FA logo in seemingly endless different ways. Before long, there was a favourite—a confident ‘FA’ drawn from planks of wood. Fyne Ales is a brewery on a working farm: a Farm Brewery. We made it a cornerstone of the identity.

Putting this creative concept to work, we built a full brand identity that started at the barn door and evolved to include textures and patterns from the substance of the brewery—from keg pallets to cowpats. This library of patterns is one that can continue to be built upon as long as there’s interesting objects to be found on the farm (which there will be, until the end of time).

The resulting brand system was borne by crafting and testing designs—from choosing brand typography that works for long or short beer names, to balancing the hierarchy of a bold brand presence alongside a clear beer name, and a rich background of textures.

Building a brand is more than creating something that looks cool. It’s delivering a comprehensive suite of assets that conveys story, setting and dedication of the craft to every person that touches it.

As for the finished packaging? Well, you can see that in all its glory here.

Label O’ Love

01.11.18

One sunny day, we at O Street had something wonderful plopped into our laps: a big box filled with labels. Why’s that wonderful? Well, these labels are a glimpse into design’s industrious beauty of decades past: a commercial printer’s life work.

Now we’re going to share them with you. Why? They’re too good not too. It’s a labour—ahem, label—of love.

To stay in the know as we post hundreds of these dandies, follow Label O’ Love on Instagram, and keep your eyes peeled for limited edition prints and tees.

Moving With the Times — Five Steps to Break Into Video and Animation

02.10.18

We started O Street over ten years ago, and design looked pretty different then. While we’ve stayed true to our roots—remaining small and making thoughtfully different design—the output of that design has changed with technology. Especially in regards to video and animation.

Some things in design never change. We’re communicators; the foundation stays the same. Paul Rand wrote, “the fundamental problem of the advertiser and publisher is to get the message into the reader’s mind.” As Marshall McLuhan said, the medium is the message. And that medium, which used to live on a wall, now lives on a screen.

It’s 2018. Things gotta move.

It’s pretty much assumed with every client we work with now that they’d like something interactive for people to engage with. To get a new client to sign on the dotted line, more and more they want to see that design move. And they’re right to do so: one third of the total internet population is on Youtube. Half a billion people watch video content on Facebook every day.

It’s 2018. WE gotta move. So here’s five steps we took to break into animating our work and getting into video content:

1 Ease in.

New to making things move? Start simple, like with the quick and dirty animated gifs you see in this post. It’s a dimension beyond static images, and will get your brain used to constructing moving compositions, but they’re quick and easy to create.

 

2 Collaborate.

When you’re a small outfit, you need to be able to balloon up to ten times your size at a moment’s notice. We do this with regular video and animation collaborators, working alongside cinematography outfit Just Trek to film live-action ads, Playdead to create 3D experiences, and our friends at Tape to bring brands to life.

 

3 Make friends with plugins.

You can do things the hard way, or you can get a little help. There’s merit in both approaches. With making the jump from still to moving design, however, you might want to at least dabble with the latter. Enter plugins, little components you can run in programs such as After Effects to give you a little boost.

If part of your animation process seems needlessly tedious, it probably is, and someone else has probably built a plugin in response to that.

 

4 Get paid to learn.

If we had a cat for every time we said “we could do something like this…” to a client, but the “something” wasn’t something we’d ever done, we’d have some cats. And it’s something we did with video and animation. Never, ever overcommit and promise something you aren’t sure you can deliver. However, working a new process—an ‘I’d love to try that’—into a live job is a great way to get paid to learn.

 

5 Bring in young blood.

It’s no secret that younger folk tend to be naturals with emergent technology. When we found ourselves hiring O Street newcomer Jonny Mowat, we found our work started moving a bit more (he made the showreel above in about five minutes). If you’re in a position to grow your team, consider someone with less experience but more natural knack for motion.

These are fun new times—let’s move together. Hit us up about a video/motion project or ask about doing an internship with us.

Saltwater, sushi and broken necks (or, seven steps to a stellar fishing trip)

05.09.18

The O Street way—besides ‘tea at 3’ and ‘put that scalpel down before you hurt yourself’—can perhaps best be summarised by our insistency on piling into a fishing boat to slay a handful of helpless Scottish mackerel every year. This year’s fishing trip on Loch Fyne was a belter. Here’s seven steps to a successful fishing trip.

Step one is piling into your Soviet tank. Don’t forget to gas it up.

Step two is the reel work. Get on the water and bring in some fish.

Step three is soaking in some landscapes—when you’re right in the middle of the best Scotland has to offer, you’ll want to look around. This year we saw castles, rugged hills, and the seaside abode where George Orwell wrote 1984.

Step four is getting your hands dirty by cleaning your fish. If you want that tasty meat, you’ve got to break some necks and rip out some guts. Is it worth it? Yeah. That’s the circle of sushi life.

Step five is remembering that you’re really dang cute and smiling for the camera.

Step six is finding adventure in everything you do (and seeing who can strike the best Lord of the Rings pose). We’re only here for a short while. Try to enjoy it.

Step seven? Drink too much saki and flail your way through Flaming Lips covers (accordion required).

See ya next year, fish.

Highland Gems: three places to visit near Aberdeen

28.08.18

It’s easy to knock Scotland’s tartan-carpeted tourist economy, but boy-o-boy can we do things well, too!

O Street are just back from a top secret new project in the Highlands (more about that soon), and it was with great delight that in the space of 24 hours we discovered three absolute gems to phone home about. Here’s three must-stops within a short drive of Aberdeen airport, whether you are here as an international tourist or a Lowlander up for a Highland adventure.

The Craigellachie Hotel

Home to the recently launched Copper Dog small batch blend (a point of pride on its own), this hotel also has two bars and a top notch restaurant. One venison burger and two craft ales down, I observed tattooed waiters working a packed, jovial atmosphere and thought to myself how unexpected it was to be feel so hip 4 hours north of Glasgow’s Finnieston. I can’t vouch for the hotel, but if the informal bar is anything to go by this place is a serious classy act.

The Macallan Visitor Centre

I’ve been to many distilleries in my time, but nothing quite like this. We all love the traditional distilleries (The Glenfiddich down the road from here is a great example), but driving into the car park at The Macallan you quickly realise this is a whole new experience. The strikingly modern architecture is almost hidden from a distance, created to sit un obtrusively in the wild mountainside. Approaching the main entrance by foot from the car park, the scale and size of the building is breathtaking.

Many other whisky experiences seem frightened to loose themselves from the shackles of traditional shortbread tin ‘Scottish-ness’, and for very good reason: it’s what many tourists and whisky drinkers want to see. With this new visitor centre, however, The Macallan have been brave enough to try something new, avoid the safe bet and present whisky in a brand new way. I loved it!

BrewDog, Ellon

We’ve been lucky enough to work with these guys in the past and are unashamed fans of what they have achieved. Somehow still positioned as craft, BrewDog have experienced meteoric growth—new breweries in the US and plans in place for breweries in Australia and China—that has turned them into a serious global beer player. In the current economic climate, it’s a Scottish business success story we should all be boasting about.

Approaching the brewery from the road outside the sleepy rural town of Ellon, massive brewery tanks tower over a huge complex of buildings that house BrewDog’s worldwide HQ. Inside their thriving office building you could easily be mistaken for thinking you are in the beating heart of a Silicon Valley business, or trendy east London tech giant. Further to the office building there are two taprooms, a merch shop and the soon to be opened experimental brewery Overworks. I’ll be coming straight back when that’s open!

So, next time you’re considering a weekend adventure, stuff Barcelona or New York and get your behouchies up to Aberdeen.

David,
O Street

Signs You Might Be in a Canyon

01.08.18

There’s a heck of a lot of places to go wandering around nearby our digs in Colorado. Here’s a few signs you might be in a canyon.

Just don’t wander off the trail—there’s snakes out here.