Design Inspiration

I collect scraps of print designs and images that inspire or stand out to me. From time to time I will post them here and discuss what aspects of the design I find noteworthy. I just figure this blog is as good a place as any to store my little scraps and images. I’ll also add a collage of all the images from these types of posts in the near future.

I thought I’d start with some interesting packaging designs for various types of beer that caught my eye at the local supermarket here in Utah. I was particularly impressed with the designs from Uinta Brewing.

After checking out more of their designs from Uinta’s website, it quickly became apparent that Uinta’s branding is as smooth as their beverages. The designers at Uinta Brewing Company rely heavily on bold colors and simple shapes to create some really artistic packaging. The high contrast designs help their products stand out on store shelves.

Uinta Brewing Logo

I love the angles and the varying thickness on the Uinta Logo. Balanced and powerful.

Another interesting aspect of the Uinta designs are the slightly rounded and powerful typefaces used. On the Uinta logo pictured to the right, the letters are smooth and bold. The weight of the stem (is that part called a stem? – I need more friends who are into typography…) on the right side of the letter is thicker and helps to distribute the visual weight of the logo. The heavy letter U at the beginning would look odd if it were not offset with another larger character at the end. On the whole, I’ve noticed that the other fonts employed by these designers share a similar abruptness, which, without the softened and slightly curved corners, would not contribute as much as they are. Sharper corners would create too much contrast and had they selected a sharper typeface, I believe the type would take too much away from the designs. Instead, the fonts play well with each other and the overall smoothness of the entire packaging, so kudos to those guys for tasteful font choice.

Uinta Script Font Examples

An example of the script font which Uinta uses sparingly.

While we’re talking about type, I just want to mention how much I like that script font up in the corner of the glass bottle case designs. It’s featured in a few places on some of their packaging. They use this more decorative font to garnish the designs. It’s lightly peppered here or there but not relied on as much as the slab fonts which seem to make up the majority of their font arsenal. In the image on the left you can see one instance of what I believe is the same typeface being used on the “Pineapple Gose” packaging.

The interesting thing about the Uinta designs is how much they rely on sharp contrast, yet how artfully they keep the branding consistent. As far as color goes, contrast and vibrance seem to be the name of the game. The font choice, design style, and simplicity all work together harmoniously to highlight the color, which is the most obvious and striking element (in my opinion anyway) of the packaging.

I also noticed that Uinta uses other elements of their branding to further unify the experience across different packaging. The clearest example of this, aside from the elements I’ve already discussed, is the use of the compass. The compass seems obvious considering it’s presence in the logo from their website. On the website logo the compass is whole, but for the packaging it is dissected and different parts of the compass are placed on other parts of the packaging. The compass needle can be found on the small wraps around each glass bottle’s neck. Below the neck on bottles, and printed around the lip of each can, is the compass rose. I didn’t immediately notice this when I was in the store, but now I’ve noticed it and I think it adds a robust and refined look, especially on the cans. Great packaging and design work from Uinta.

Uinta wasn’t the only beer on the shelf that caught my eye.  A few other designs captured my attention and I found myself in the middle of a grocery store snapping pictures of beverages I usually don’t pay much attention to. I wasn’t aware until today that the beer industry was so producing such interesting packaging. This level of effort in design seems like a trait exclusive to IPA’s and local breweries. Packing among the big name brands like Budweiser, Coors, and Michelob are generally pretty boring. Take Heineken for example. I’m pretty sure the meeting to discuss the brand identity and logo took less than 2 minutes and probably went something like this:

CEO: “What logo should we use to represent this beer?”

Lowly Marketing Employee: “How about a plain red star?”

CEO: “Yes! I love it!”

Bohemian Brewery Packaging Design

I think those greens work so well with the color of the cardboard. It’s great to see that level of cooperation between the physical packaging and the design.