A bold new look for Kent Brewery designed by Jan Baca.
This rebrand is unashamedly modern, designed to appeal to the younger end of the ale market. It's an innovative approach with a vivid colour palette and interesting construction mechanism for the creation of each labels individual pattern. I like this technique, especially when combined with the simple brand, naming and description which remains consistent throughout.
I spoke to the designer Jan and asked him about his approach and experience working on this exciting rebrand.
Hi Jan. Can I ask how your working relationship with Kent Brewery began? You are based in Germany and the brewery is based in Birling in Kent…
It all began in spring 2015. I think it was Paul’s wife who found my work on Behance. They especially liked my redesign of Belgian beer labels and asked me to design new labels for their beers. Obviously, I didn’t hesitate for a minute - creating packaging for beverages belongs to my favourite kind of work! We collaborate remotely using Skype and Dropbox and it works very well.
Was the brief for the new branding quite open? The new look is a total departure from the previous Kent Brewery designs and I wonder how such a radical departure came about!
Yes, it was very open. They already had an existing logo some existing pump clip designs but wanted to attract different, younger and perhaps more open–minded audience. So I decided to start from scratch.
I came with two or three different concepts which all were quite bold and far away from the old look. At this point we started to struggle a bit unable to pick out the preferred way. I’m happy that the brewery made a fearless decision and chose the most radical and expressive solution. I think it has already proved a step in the right direction.
Was the process quite collaborative, or did the brewery entrust it to you completely to come up with an appropriate solution?
I must admit that I really enjoyed great freedom in the process. The brewery provided a very thorough and detailed brief at the beginning and then left it completely to my imagination. That’s what most designers love!
Of course, there were a few points when we saw things differently and compromises were made, but that’s normal. It's always good when there is someone who looks at the work from a different perspective and provide constructive feedback. So, to sum it up, it was (and still is) a very smooth collaboration where I have a lot of room to play.
You have approached the creation of the designs for each beer in an unusual way - can you explain to readers what this is and how you came to this solution?
Yes, at first sight the labels look like a crazy colourful mess. But if you look closely you realise there is a dynamic system of repeated patterns – circles, pointed ellipses, dots and amorphous liquid shapes. These shapes represent the basic ingredients of every beer – hops, malt, yeast and water. By rotating, scaling, cloning and mixing them I can generate an infinite amount of unique patterns which all share the same characteristics and form a consistent series. Moreover, the liquid shape can be easily adjusted to create a smart visual connection with a beer name. You can observe this well on Mad Cow, Twelfth Night or the Saison beer labels.
Did you get your inspiration for the creative from anywhere in particular?
I knew from the very beginning that I need to find a some reasonable dynamic system. One of the greatest inspiration for this project was Patatap app. The authors describe it as a portable animation and sound kit. It simply allows you to create infinite amount of images and melodies by pressing keys on your keyboard. Try it out but be careful, it’s very addictive!
The UK independent beer busines is an increasingly crowded marketplace. How do you see the role of a brewery's branding in terms of importance in it's commercial success?
It is crowded indeed. I had no clue until I visited England earlier this year. And yes, it gets harder and harder to stand out.
There is no doubt that branding matters but a visual identity is just one of the things that make a difference. Breweries nowadays also need to follow up actual trends in the digital world, be extremely active on social networks and find new ways of attracting the customer. Branding as I see it is all about communication – visual, verbal and written – that needs to be strong and consistent. It requires a strategy and it’s an incredible amount of hard work, but it’s worth it.
Do you have any particular favourites in terms of beer branding?
Speaking about the visual side of beer brands – there are tens if not hundreds of beer brands I truly admire. I can’t really mention all of them but at least a few: Fort Point, O/O Brewing, Big Smoke Brew, Cerveceria de Colima, Sakiskiu Alus, Talas… I also love special edition labels with a particular theme like for example the Scottish Referendum Beer from Knops Beer.
Thanks Jan! Where can people see more of your work?
On my portfolio site or my Behance page. Recently I also created an Instagram account @Abandoned_Type dedicated to finding interesting abandoned lettering that I find on streets all over the world. You are all welcome to visit and follow.