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Process: Arden Brewing Company

Have you noticed exactly how much of the beer industry is marketed towards men? (It’s practically the whole thing.) With the exception of a few small, design-minded breweries (such as O/O Brewing), craft beer on the shelves is dominated by very masculine branding. Common trends in beer design include vintage or retro made modern (sometimes reminiscent of classic sports branding), angular flat designs, heavy type, and loud illustrations.

Considering women make up 37% of the craft beer market, though (according to winebags.org), it doesn’t seem fair that the branding remains so manly. Women are just as likely as men to choose craft beer, and what’s more, they are often cross-drinkers, very likely consumers of wine (according to brewersassociation.org). I wanted to design a brand of craft beer that would appeal to more women, both current craft beer drinkers and non-craft beer drinkers alike.

The solution is Arden Brewing Company. Arden is a woman’s name, but has a strong, unisex feel to it, and is closely related to the word “ardent,” meaning enthusiastic or passionate. I felt that Arden perfectly represented the confident, lively women who could be part of the craft beer market.

To start, I challenged myself to try three separate design solutions (all shown below) before pursuing one to completion. I wanted Arden Brewing Co. to be modern, clean, simple, elegant, and assertive — but nothing stereotypically “feminine,” like a girly script or hot pink, as used by Chick Beer. The first direction is inspired by wine packaging, meant to draw in women who are wine drinkers. The type is clean and bold while the bright pattern behind it is visually interesting, creating a preppy yet modern aesthetic. This trend of geometric patterning is common in premium product packaging for high-end chocolate, room sprays, pasta, wine, etc.

The second direction is in line with trend of hand lettering. Screenprinting the brush lettering right onto the bottle brings the name of the brew right to the forefront; this bold type treatment is confident and assertive, like the desired target audience, and its adherence to a popular design trend keeps it casual and fun but still a bit classy. Additionally, the handmade feeling of the lettering associates the brand with a kind of artisan quality.

The third and final direction is inspired by the recent popularity of vintage botanical drawings. The engraved illustration are elegant and eye-catching. The bold type atop the illustration is assertive but in a feminine way. By incorporating leaves into the design, the brand associates itself with nature and natural quality. Overall this direction is vintage-inspired, but does so in a way that is neither rustic nor retro as is typical of beer brands.

After comparing each of these directions, I chose to pursue the third direction for the final branding. It seemed to have the most potential, and wasn’t overly trendy or overtly feminine. It took a few iterations to reach the final label design across a series of three brews. (The brews — Ivy League, Devil’s Advocate, and Silver Lining — take their names from idioms that include the name of a plant. The leaves depicted on the labels, respectively, are ivy, devil’s club, and silver maple.)

I also designed the back label for each brew and a six-pack packaging design.To see the final branding and packaging for Arden, check out my Behance post here! The branding for Arden Brewing Company is unique and stands out from other craft beers available in the market. Its design is current yet not so trendy that it will be outdated in the near future, and should be effective at attracting new women to the craft beer industry as well as drawing in women who are already fans of craft beer.

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