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.

Porto Design Summer School (A Good Use of Two Weeks in Portugal)

30.05.18

Okay, it’s tough to have a BAD two weeks in Portugal, but Porto Design Summer School is a good way to get it right.

Photo: Porto Design Summer School

Student work. Photo: Porto Design Summer School

O Street’s Josh P took part in the course’s first run in 2013. Walking the streets of this majestic, brilliantly grungy and deathly hot city, he learned more about design and his physical capacity to sweat in two weeks than he had in years at university. It certainly didn’t hurt that the tutors were some of the best living graphic designers, including Jonathan Barnbrook and Jessica Helfand.

A quote by tutor Andrew Howard, illustrated by Josh P

The focus of the course was typographic. The students become completely immersed in the local visual vernacular; Oporto is an endlessly fascinating city chock full design inspiration.

The final project is to take a work of literature and interpret it through the lens of the city with a print publication. It‘s a crash-course in type, layout, and contextual design.

Student work. Photo: Porto Design Summer School

 

Photo: Porto Design Summer School

Photo: Porto Design Summer School

For this summer’s course, the programme has a shiny new responsive website and a suite of amazing new tutors, with Ronnie Fueglister and Sonya Dyakova joining staples Andrew Howard and Hamish Muir. Their work is amazing.

If you feeling a calling to do so, sign up here to enjoy design, exploring and mingling in Porto.

— Josh P
(This post was not paid or requested by the school.)

O Street’s top design podcasts

10.08.17

Plug things in your ears and learn about design. What a world! Here’s our must-listen list for design podcasts.

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99% Invisible is a tiny radio show about design—everything from IKEA hacks to how sound waves work. Technically a radio show, this pod is polished, well-produced and a good call if the rough-and-ready nature of some podcasts puts you off.

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Design Matters with Debbie Millman is an oldie but a goodie — she was uploading interviews onto Soundcloud before there were podcast apps. Millman has talked to pretty much all the greats over the past twelve years, so check out the archive for your favourite designers.

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It’s Nice That is a podcast where you never know what you might find, but you’re glad you stopped by (kind of like their website). Let these lads take you someplace new.

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The Observatory features two heavyweights of American design, Yale’s Jessica Helfand and Pentagram’s Michael Bierut. They discuss “what’s going on and what’s in the air.” This podcast is a must for anyone specifically looking for a graphic design slant on things.

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Sprint is the only pod here focused on a specific practice — UX design. Unlike every other UX show on the web, it won’t put you to sleep. The hosts Cody, Kyle and Michael are insightful and genuinely hilarious.

What are your go-to design podcasts — are there any egregious omissions here? Let us know via email or Twitter!

True to Life

07.07.17

Are you in Edinburgh this weekend? Pop down to Modern Two for True to Life, a look at British Realism in the 1920s and 30s. The show gathers some 70 paintings by a hugely talented yet overlooked generation of artists.

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O Street designed the exhibition identity and marketing. True to Life focuses on a particular style of “hard edge” painting. We play on this theme by setting typography along a hard edge.

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We also selected a colour palette pulled straight from the paintings; a literal approach for literal art.

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It’s a riveting exhibition, so don’t miss it. True to Life is on at Modern Two until 29 October.