Loch Lomond, Scotland

Loch Lomond, Scotland

Modern and refined creative for Loch Lomond's new range of beers by my:creative.

These designs for Loch Lomond manage to walk that fine line - appeal to the modern beer drinker without alienating the more traditional market. They are distinctive enough to stand alone, whilst maintain their place in the wider family of the brewery's range.

I could go into detail about the clever use of layered halftone print styles to create the illustration unique to each beer, or the refreshing use of a more subtle colour palette than is usual in beer label design, but let's hand things over to the designer, Ewan Leckie and have chat with him about his approach designs and experience working with the brewery in developing them.

Hi Ewan! How did you end up doing creative for Loch Lomond? How did the work come about?

Loch Lomond Brewery first contacted me back in 2011 not long after I set up my:creative. After seeing a range of labels I did for Traditional Scottish Ales. I think it may of helped that one of that rage was called Lomond Gold! So Google pointed them my way. 

Was the brief quite open, or did the brewery have specific ideas of what they wanted to see and achieve with the branding?

The brief was really to create a new range that could promote their own experimental flavours and interesting hop combinations. 

We had already originally developed a brand mark and designed a "classic" range of 5 traditional beer style with a few seasonal add-ons. These were illustration based and took inspiration from the "golden age of Scottish tourism" and the railway posters of the early 1930s. 

But as we know the craft ale landscape has changed dramatically and as Loch Lomond Brewery grew, they grew in confidence. They wanted something different that would stand alone from what they had already but still carry a strong brand. So really open in the end! 

Where did you get your inspiration from for the creative?

We felt that the new range had to be refined, modern in style and promote the actual beer name and brand identity more boldly. So this was made centre stage, simple and clean. All the naming and information had to fit into four consistent lines. After that it was time to play about. 

We researched a few market style and built a few mood boards. But we got most of the inspiration from drawing the conclusion that if we had gone with classic early colour prints for the classic range could we look at other print techniques? I started to work with halftone screenprinting styles. Playing about, layering up different colour combinations, until eventually pitching the solution. This was the iconic mountain range that surrounds Loch Lomond that we use as a panoramic backdrop round the length of the bottles and cans.

How was the process? Did the brewery get involved or were you left to your own devices?

The illustration system we created gives the client over a 100 possibilities to introduce new seasonal beers to their range. Using background, foreground, sky and loch reflection combinations from a varied set of 45º lines to alternate dots and radial patterns. Essentially anyone could now build a new label just by selecting a few elements, picking a colour and adding in the new copy. But in reality it was simple for me to introduce new labels and pump clips for every new brew very quickly. 

How important do you think branding is to a brewery in terms of it's commercial success?

Brand is vitally important with all products. Its impact or engagement is the best way to get the drink in to the customers hand. Beer brands are shouting louder and louder with more vibrant and original designs. There is a lot of flipping between styles which in any other field would damage their brand. 

Personally I like to encourage any product stop and think fully about who they are, where they want to be and most importantly what do they offer that's different? Then create a strong consistent brand around those goals. Create something that will last.

But maybe that is to purist a strategy for this market? The goalposts have moved and will keep moving about. Most brewers I meet just want to have fun with the labels and names, then make their mark. So maybe I'm being to harsh. But unmanaged this can get out of control and make it difficult for the consumer to make an informed choice. 

Do you have any personal favourites when it comes to beer branding?

Odell Brewing Co. from an illustration point of view, they manage to have a great balance of traditional decorative detail in their labels, but also always seem to have a strong focal point that also gives great self presence. 

But every week I see a cool new one. Even the soft drinks are at it now! Look up KarmaCola and Lemony Lemonade...

Thanks Ewan. If people want to see more of your work where can they see it?

Well if you're interested my portfolio is here:

Images courtesy of my:creative. Reproduced by kind permission.