How does it feel to be the creative author of a whole brand identity?
Can you ever be ‘wrong’?

Nick Dwyer

“most of the time its only me that sees where I could have done so much more”

For my money Beavertown Brewery is the most original and most kick-ass craft beer packaging to be seen in many moons. When Gamma Ray rocked up in bars it was like a breath of fresh (if mushroom laced) air. In its wake there seem to have followed some pale imitators, but this brand design is the real deal.

As Beavertowns online history tells us founder Logan Plant had a pub, the Dukes, and was brewing some beer. “Nick, who was waiting at Duke’s at the time, comes up with the name Gamma Ray and shows Logan a drawing of some space men on Mars firing lasers and being attacked by UFOs – a perfect fit for the beer!”

As the idea grew into a brewery Nick went from pulling pints to being appointed creative director, and its his idiosyncratic style that has pretty much built the visual brand from the beer mat up. You can’t manufacture ‘authenticity’ and ‘soul’ like this. It flows out of the guys pen.

So Nick, How does it feel to be the creative author of a whole brand identity? Can you ever be ‘wrong’ ?

Nick Dwyer, A Curate's Egg

It’s both amazing and terrifying in equal measures, but I would say that’s what drives me to make things look as good as possible.

The deadlines are much tighter than I would like, and it’s taken me a while to get to a stage where I’m comfortable working so fast. I think the trade off is more a personal one than one that filters into the designs, as most of the time its only me that sees where I could have done so much more or added more detail or hand designed a part instead of using a generic texture or any number of things really.

One of my friends mentioned the other day that they were impressed I put so much time into things that were essentially one offs, but until then I had never really thought about that. The narcissist in me sees them as things I can show people for ever, long after the beer is gone (with specials and one offs)

Nick Dwyer, A Curate's Egg

In regards to being wrong, there’s no doubt in my mind that it happens regularly. It used to happen a lot more when I was worse at taking feedback and criticism, but what tends to happen now is I have an idea that I obsess over in my head, put on paper, fine tune then show it to the guys at the brewery. Almost always they will catch issues that I didn’t because they are thinking “what happens when this is on a shelf / in someone’s fridge / in someone’s hand / on their blog or Instagram and as frustrating as it is, their feedback and changes are usually undeniably necessary and bang on.

To minimise this I will go hunt down whoever is brewing the beer I’m designing for and learn everything about the beer before I start. This means there’s usually something for everyone involved to say they had a part in, not just me scribbling away in my office.

I will admit though, it goes both ways and I usually find myself butting heads with folks here who want a pun or silly world-play in the title. I know people do like it, I just think it puts a ludicrous sell-by date on the concept, design and branding in general, as they are only ever funny once. To put it simply, try and think of an iconic beer with a silly name…



What’s your process?

I like to know as much as possible before I start. The design tends to be more successful if, say, Logan (that’s Logan Plant the brewery founder-ed) and I have chatted about movies, books, comics or stories that relate to the process / style / name. Then ill draw out the line by hand, and colour it digitally – ranging from scanning a sheet of painted paper. Take “Heavy Water,” which also contains plans for the old brewery) to dropping the colours in in illustrator (across all of our core range printed cans).

Nick Dwyer, A Curate's Egg

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