August 13, 2010

Some Assorted Label Art for Friday: Green Flash, Grand Teton, Odell, Midnight Sun and Breaker Brewing

Plains, PA is up by Scranton, which is safely in Coal Country, and is home to the small Breaker Brewing Company, who released the Quiet Canary Saison this summer:
Admittedly, this is close to my heart (both literally and geographically, in relative terms), but I love the use of the sepia tone to suggest history, and the black coal elevator logo at the bottom. The name, of course, refers to the canary that early coal miners would use to judge the buildup of potentially harmful gases (if the canary died, it was time to run the hell out of the mine). I like the distorted image of the miner; it kind of reminds me of outsider artist Jack Savitsky's paintings of miners. I've referenced him before, but, courtesy of the Outsider Folk Art Gallery in Reading, here he is again:
Anyway, I have to get up and try this beer, and see what other art they've got in the works. Honoring the coal mining tradition (and current harsh reality) is something we've started to see more of lately, and I frankly love the idea of a craft brewery that embraces that identity.

Odell released a double pilsner as part of its single batch series:
This is notable mostly for its commitment to a medieval Germanic style. I like the way they integrate the Odell logo in the top right.

Less Medieval and German is the Midnight Sun Hop Dog:
I wish I could try this, because I like the idea of a Double Wheat IPA, but that's neither here nor there. The question for me is about this label: Is there too much going on? And I'm tempted to say yes. I actually like the main design, but I think the problem is in the flanking text fields, including the brewery field at the top. There's too many color fields and elements, and it just takes away from the vibrance of the image by making it seem cluttered. I'd try moving the black field on the right over to the left, killing the different color backgrounds for the URL and size, and finding a way to put the Midnight Sun info on a background that fits with the main image. I generally like Midnight Sun's art, and this is no exception, but the difference between design and art is that design is form following function, and here the functional fields around the art are getting in the way of a good piece.

Green Flash released a label for their Summer Saison:
I really like the painterly new work from Green Flash, like this and the Le Freak:
The biggest problem with the Summer Saison label, like the Midnight Sun above, is in design. It's tough to read some of that white text over the light summery colors of the sunrise/set in the art. Nitpicky? Maybe, but this stuff is why people actually do design for a living, and it can be the difference between our snap judgment of a label as "attractive" or not. In the Le Freak label, for example, there is no such issue, because they put the text on a dark area of the art.

Grand Teton Brewing Company holds one of the innumerable events called "The Art of Beer." I will save this rant for another time, but theirs is one of a very few that actually should have that name, because it's an art contest to design a beer label. From the press release:

Local artist Abby Paffrath’s amazing Batik of a leaping cutthroat trout was chosen to represent the contest’s theme of “Life in the Tetons” for the autumn and winter seasons on the Trout Hop Black IPA label.

First the winning entry (all winners can be see on the Teton Arts Council Web site):
Abby has always been inspired by the outdoors in her lifelong quest through the arts. She has a Fine Arts education from University of Montana, but her real love of the dyed batik began when she enrolled in a cultural arts program in Bali, Indonesia. Batik is a wax resist dye technique used to create images and patterns on fabric; it is traditionally used in ceremonies and rituals by the Balinese peoples. Abby now resides in Jackson Hole Wyoming where she is surrounded by the natural beauty of the Teton Mountain Range.


There's the label adaption, and you can see why the piece was a winner. My guess is that printing concerns limited the color scheme and took out those deep reds from the original, but I think the piece transitions well to limited color palette. The trout emerges from the landscape, and the white text circle sets it off nicely. Well done.

Glad I was finally home enough to get back on the blogging horse this week, and was even able to throw out a challenge to my peeps in the 'gosphere. Hopefully more to come, as we try and get the last of the art from the show back to its home in one piece, and I look forward to the end of summer and seeing where the show goes next year.

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