Not sure how many readers will be interested in a post about the making of a beer label, an Upright Brewing label to be exact. Perhaps this post is of only interest to myself, but let’s find out.
As some know I design artwork for breweries, including Upright. I have learned about a number of topics while designing the 14 or so labels that have gone to print, including layout, design and, unfortunately, the TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau).
I am currently working on the label for Late Harvest, an amber-brown Farmhouse Ale spiced with Peppercorns, Grains Of Paradise and Pomegranate Seeds before it was aged in Pinot Barrels, where it picked up some wild yeasts and became to be a pretty sour beer. The underlying drawing of the ‘Late Harvest’ label is pictured above.
The big question was how to translate this beer into a label. The name ‘Late Harvest’ actually came after the label design idea, so we had almost nothing to go on. Eventually we came up with the idea of integrating the harvest and working farmers, which lead me to center the artwork around a hand – specifically, a dirty hand stained by the earth, spices and fruits. I think it best communicates farming and harvest.
In the image I have penciled out the very basic design of the hand with grains and seeds both falling and being tossed up like a hand pulling a handful from a bag.
I scanned the image into Photoshop and am in the process of layering various colors on top of the black and white drawing to add much more depth and detail to the hands. Hard to say exactly where things will go, I haven’t even figured out the background yet. I like to leave the first drawings somewhat open so that I can add in any ideas that come to me along the way and change things that do not work.
Below are just a few of the layers of the Upright Oyster Stout label that highlight how they came together. This is just a simplified version of the different elements: