These distinctive labels may be recognizable from the shelves at your local LCBO or perhaps you’ve seen them at a festival; either way, their spirited, award-winning design is loaded with personality that is sure to catch your eye. We got the opportunity to talk with Jordan (Creative Director) and Eddy (Graphic Designer) from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. about their design aesthetic and marketing. Here’s what they had to say.
What is the Beau’s design philosophy?
Jordan: The philosophy behind our design is authenticity. We try to capture the collective personalities and enthusiasm of everyone who works here and express them with a healthy sense of fun.
What is your design process and workflow look like? How do you start and finish a project?
Jordan: Research is always the starting point in our design workflow. That’s where we find most of our inspiration and define the parameters of our projects. Many of our label designs contain quite a bit of story-telling within one iconic image, and that typically originates from the research phase. We are also lucky to work in a very collaborative and creative environment. We typically brainstorm as a group on ideas after we’ve done the research, and that usually results in a better and more refined concept. When it comes time to roll up our sleeves and start the actual designing, I find that thumbnails are very important. It can be easy to jump right into an idea, but I feel that you are better served to put in the effort on the framework of how the layout should work, and it saves a lot of in the long run.
Eddy: To start, I try and do research as much as I can. I’ve discovered that sometimes ideas are born from the weirdest places. I had a job in the past that frowned on taking even just 10-15 minutes to look at stuff online for inspirations on a design style, they thought it was a waste of time. It really isn’t. Surrounding yourself with a design type of style really works for me when starting a big project.
How would you describe your target demographic? How do you learn about your customers?
Jordan: Our target market is men and women who are 19+.
But seriously, we really don’t have a target demographic, and have intentionally stayed away from demographic marketing. We just try to create things that we think are cool, and I think that resonates with most people. I really think that our products are our biggest embodiment of our philosophy of being authentic, they tell a genuine story and aren’t trying to sell anyone a phony bill of goods.
We learn about our customers because we’re engaged in the community. We’re out there pouring our own beer at events. We’re chatting with folks who stop by for a tour and visit at the brewery. We’re working side-by-side with some of them when they volunteer at Oktoberfest and other events. We really try to engage with our customers on a one-to-one level, and we are lucky to know many of them on a first name basis. They are a great bunch of people to share some beers and some laughs with.
What’s your favourite project that you’ve worked on?
Jordan: My favourite project to work on is Oktoberfest. It’s a marathon of collaborative effort, and really showcases the amazing diversity of talent that has coalesced to make Beau’s such a great place to work. Every year it’s like a homecoming, where friends and family get together to raise money for charity and have a great time together. I’m so honoured to be part of such of a great team, and am so lucky to get to help put together such a kick-ass party.
Eddy: Favourite design I’ve worked on was the Spruce Moose label. Jordan and I decided on a style we hadn’t really explored before, and didn’t know much about. It’s kinda cool looking back on how things came about. We knew the beer had spruce tips in the recipe so we did a little research on spruce trees, and nothing really clicked. But once The Spruce Moose name came up as an idea, it was like floodgates opened. We looked up the Spruce Goose plane that Howard Hughes made, we looked up the Simpson’s episode that the Spruce Moose came from and blended the two ideas. There’s an interesting line in that episode, Mr. Burns is explaining his “model” plane and says “It can carry 200 passengers from New York’s Idlewild Airport to the Belgian Congo in 17 minutes.” On top of the fact that we discovered that New York’s Idlewild Airport is now named JFK International Airport, we found some really cool images of the Belgian Congo…and a few of them were stamps with illustrations in an etching style. Right then we knew we had to make this label look like an old stamp illustration.
How do you stay inspired?
Jordan: I think its mostly by osmosis, by keeping my eyes, ears and mind open at all times. I try to stay informed on a diverse variety of topics, and feel I have a pretty good sense for current and historical cultural touchstones, both of which have a significant influence on my work.
Eddy: I think Jordan and I take on challenges a lot in this line of work. The challenges keep me inspired, and I know that once a design gets visualized in either one of our minds, we’ll do anything to try and get it out on a poster or a label or whatever we’re working on, even if the timeline doesn’t make sense. Figuring out a way to design something, whether it’s something we’ve seen and that’s inspired us or we’ve just thought up in our heads, always keeps me on my toes. It’s always inspiring to me seeing a small idea that I’ve had in the early stages get finished up by Jordan and I’m sure the feeling is the same vice-versa.
Whose design do you admire?
Jordan: I admire a lot of designers from bygone eras, and designers who are able to balance the theoretical with fun and creativity. Paul Rand, Saul Bass and Milton Glaser.
Eddy: I’m influenced by a lot of illustrators that can draw faces or human figures realistically, but still keep a simplistic look to them. I really feel like it’s something I will always work on but never get to the point where I’m 100% happy with. Even now, months after The Tom Green Beer! came out, there are things that bug me about the illustration I made of his face. Poster design is my favourite; I love blending a design element with typography. I get pretty excited on how I can fit a text treatment with a design I’ve made. There is a poster designer named Fernando Reza, and his stuff just blows me away. I can look at one of his posters for several minutes thinking “I wish I could make something like this” or “How did he do that?”
The mixtapes that you guys put out are always fantastic. How did those get started?
Jordan: Beau’s has really strong roots in music as many of us are/were in bands. As a brewery, it’s one of our goals to support independent arts, so we’re always looking for new and interesting projects to collaborate on with artists. We worked with a group in Toronto called Audio Blood to curate the mix tape as a collection of tracks that reflected our likes and interests as a group, and to promote some really fantastic Canadian independent music.
What tips do you have for marketing a small to medium size business?
Jordan: Good marketing is about keeping it real. All of your potential customers are equipped with fully functional BS detectors.
Beau’s is a local, family-run, award winning, organic and totally DIY brewery based out of Vankleek Hill, Ontario. We’re proud to be a sponsor for Oktoberfest, which runs Oct 4-5.
Brittany Giles is the Social Media Specialist at The Printing House.