There's such a delicate touch with the designs for Almasty - restrained and confident. From the simple trees icon, the stripped back typography to the use of a simple colour palette, they just ooze quality. Why cover your designs with clutter and superfluous content, when less is most definitely more?
The clever use of clear labels for the recently released can range which incorporate the can material into part of the design, and the oh-so-tactile and frankly gorgeous wooden, screenprinted pump clips just add to the distinctive nature of this branding.
Designer Andrew was kind enough to answer a few questions about his work for the brewery, and how the look was (and continues to be) developed. Read on below...
Hi Andrew, thanks for taking part in the blog. First off, can you tell readers how you ended up doing creative for Almasty? How did the work come about?
Mark and I have been friends since we were kids. Mark had already been the head brewer over at Mordue and then helped to set up Tyne Bank Brewery. I was really excited when he told me about his plans to set up on his own and even more so when he asked if I would do the graphics.
Was the brief quite open, or did the brewery have specific ideas of what they wanted to see and achieve with the branding?
Almasty did not start out as Almasty. Originally there were a few ideas floating around but nothing really stood out as something unique or different.
The night I started working on some logo ideas I happened to have the TV on in the background. It was 'Searching for Bigfoot' or something I think? The episode was about the Russian Yeti they call the Almasty, which translates as ‘the wild one’.
Mark has always been into out door pursuits what with his surfing, snowboarding and fishing etc. He’s also a grizzly guy, so I thought cool, that’s it!
Where did you get your inspiration from for the branding and look for Almasty? It's got a really unique style to it.
Ah thanks, well I wanted it to have a kind of outdoorsy look and feel almost like an expedition badge. So the trees just gave it a nice symmetrical look whilst having suitable meaning. I did try out some variations using yeti characters but it changed the tone of the look. The word Almasty is also a nice arrangement of letters too so that helped a lot.
I knew Mark didn’t want to keep to core beers and wasn’t afraid to experiment with new recipes so the tagline ‘Ale Exploration’ seemed very fitting.
How was the process? Did the brewery get involved or were you left to your own devices?
Oh yeah, I mean Marks great to work with and he trusts me with ideas but he will say if he doesn’t like something. I guess that’s the great thing about us being close friends, there’s no pussyfooting around, its all straight up.
The wooden clips Almasty use certainly attract the eye and are a world away from what's normally seen on the bar. How did you come up with that as a solution, and were there any challenges to bringing it to fruition?
As soon as a first draft of the logo was done it just felt like the natural thing to do. In my head what could be simpler…
Luckily Mark is pretty handy with a saw. The original ones were all hand cut and sanded and I got some grief for my bright idea! Since then he has invested in a decent circular saw, which makes things much easier and quicker. As well as that Marks friend Hub is a screen printer so we were able to make this happen.
There have been some issues with wood warping and splitting when it dries. Some trees work better than others. It’s also hard to screen on the uneven surfaces, but I think any imperfections just ad to the individual look. No two clips are the same.
I remember when the first batch went out and a few were stolen from bars! Which I thought was awesome but a bummer for Mark to replace.
How important do you think branding is to a brewery in terms of it's commercial success?
It’s just as important as the beer itself. After all you are trying to make people choose your beer over anyone else’s. It’s becoming a crowded market so its important to try and stand out and offer something different.
One of the things I love working on is the merchandise. It sells really well at the open days and people seem really into it, which is the biggest buzz for me.
Do you have any personal favourites when it comes to beer branding?
For sure, I love what Brixton Brewery are doing. The logo and bottle labels are so good and totally different from what’s around. I haven’t had the chance to try it yet so if you guys are reading this feel free to hook me up...
Many thanks! If people want to see more of your work where can they see it?
My portfolio site is www.andrewlinaker.co.uk Cheers!
Imagery courtesy of Andrew Linaker. Reproduced by kind permission.