When I originally approached my friend Dan Gentle about designing a beer label for Alarmist, he had little idea how little idea I had about it. I knew what I didn't want (skulls) but that was pretty much the end of it. I had almost no idea about what kind of brand aesthetic I was looking for. I know how to build stuff, repair stuff, calculate stuff, and solve stuff. I can't design my way out of a paper bag. Come sete my bathroom at home to see what I mean.
I was so busy with brewery operations that I just didn't give myself time to really sit and think about what the Alarmist brand is. Labels and logos do not a brand make, but those are many times the first interaction a customer has with us so they are important in establishing what our brand is.
So one day, I ran across this: Campo Santo Screen-Prints. Campo Santo is a new video game developer founded by some of the people behind Panic. Yes, Panic, my original name for the brewery. Yes, that was partially where I got the original idea for the name. (No, that's not where the trademark issue came from.) I've been a user of Panic's Mac software for years. I've always loved their user interface design and their brand aesthetic. When I learned that they had founded a new video game company, I was intrigued. And that's when I found those posters they were selling to promote their first game, Firewatch.
I immediately fell in love with those posters and that led me down the path of the gorgeous Art Deco inspired travel posters from the 1920s-1940s. As soon as I saw this treasure trove, I had a better idea of what I wanted.
So I sent those links to Dan. He also professed his love for Art Deco. I also knew that I wanted the brand to project my deeply felt convictions about breaking the chains of corporate America and following one's dreams. I told Dan about a scene I remembered while working at a large corporate bank many years ago. A gigantic room full of people sitting at desks with green bankers lamps sitting on each desk. Dozens and dozens of these desks in perfectly aligned rows, and not a sound could be heard. Talk about corporate oppression.
So Dan went to work and created this:
Dan really nailed something with this design. Instead of focusing on the negative of feeling, well, entrenched, he showed Earl do something about it. I swear I've met this Earl guy before.
We've received lots and lots of compliments on this design. Buuuuut.....there is one problem: this label was originally designed for bottle labels. We bought a used bottling line, and we were going to package in standard 12 oz bottle six-packs. Since the labels were going to be paper, there were very few design limitations.
And then, just days before I was about to pull the trigger and order labels and six-pack carriers and such, I did something I'm very good at. I changed my mind. I learned some details about mobile canning from Jeremiah at South Loop Brewing (now called Hop Butcher). Without going into all the decision making process on why we went with cans, well, we went with cans. We LOVE cans.
So we began by using shrink wrapped cans because we could get them very quickly and in small quantities to start out. The plastic used for the shrink wrap labels also has few limitations, so far so good.
But shrink wrapped cans cost 3x as much as normal printed cans. Meaning cans with ink printed onto the metal. And we don't like paying 3x more for something. So we are going to begin using normal printed cans. Now here's the real issue. Printing on metal is fraught with peril. There are numerous limitations not the least of which is that we are limited to 6 colors total. 6. Not millions like on paper printing. 6.
So guess what? We have a complete new redesign for Entrenched! Yes, that's right! We changed something!
Here it is:
Earl is still here. He's still saying no to corporate bullshit. But now he has a really nice view.
We hope you like the new design. We love it!