JW Lees, Manchester

JW Lees, Manchester

190 years of JW Lees heritage, brought thoughtfully up to date by Squad.


If you are familiar with Mancunian brewing heavyweights then you'll be familiar with JW Lees. Established in 1828, they are one of the regions most well known family brewing businesses.

How to reposition a brewery with such heritage in the modern craft beer landscape? By centering the new look around a bold typographic identity which eschewed a restrictive identity system or limited family of fonts in favour of typography and illustration by Squad associate, Daren Newman.

Each beer is now unmistakably JW Lees, but carries it's own distinct look. I'm a sucker for beautiful typography and these designs certainly deliver on that. It's a historic rebrand for such a well established brewery, and one that brings them right up to date for the modern craft beer landscape, but does so without losing a deep rooted sense of history.


David Barraclough, Creative Partner at Squad, says of the work: “We felt it was important for the beer identity to reflect the ‘modern traditional brewer’ positioning. Our solution was a bold typographic identity that eschewed a restricted family of fonts usually associated with an identity system, in favour of a graphic approach that achieved consistency through deliberate diversity. Our font choices were wide and varied, many borne of the Victorian era, but their composition flexes to suit the beer, a moment in time, or a story.”

Several new brands have also been developed that will be added to the core range as well as a seasonal range for this year celebrating pioneers and inventors that shaped Manchester. The core range has been expanded to include ‘Manchester Craft Lager’, ‘Stout’ and ‘Gold’. John Willie’s premium bitter will become Founder’s.

Image 3 - New ale – Gold.jpg
Image 4 - New ale – Stout.jpg
Image 6 - John Willies relaunches as Founder’s.jpg