January 27, 2011

The Design of British Columbia's Driftwood Brewery

Late last year, a reader suggested that I take a look at the design by British Columbia's Driftwood Brewery. Let's start with the Sartori Harvest IPA:
Well, it's an IPA label, so we're probably seeing hops, and in this case big hops. There's a strange-but-cool little lineup of the four ingredients of beer on the right there, which is a neat recurring device that only sometimes blends well with the label. The best thing about this label is the use of different shades of olive and blue that form the waving background. It's a nice cascade (get it?) of color fields that gives the image dimensionality. That goes well with the hops, which in this case actually are in some perspective  as they retreat into the background.
This is creepy, and I hope is for a seasonal barleywine that occurs late in the year. Note the little cracks and clouds surrounding the text at the top. The best thing about this label is the use of a tiny bit of red. I know I often laud the use of limited color because it keeps printing costs down, but in this case that little accent adds a lot of interest to the piece, whether making the cellar door more sinister or making Igor's hair pop against the background. No four ingredients here; maybe they were off the page.
The BlackStone Porter brings back the ingredient lineup, this time with enough room to accommodate them comfortably. They're balanced by some stylized fronds and flora on the left, which would be better if they didn't sit behind text and thus make it really hard to read. The major design element, the dirty boots, are positioned nicely, and overall the composition is well-done, with framing arc text and the hard lines of the porch floorboards. Again we see hints of the wavy color fields from the Sartori Harvest in the little pools below the dirty soles and laces.
Lastly, the Fat Tug IPA label is probably the best of all of the designs. The wavy color fields we've seen before are back, and this time carve out very distinct areas. Those fields work particularly well with the comic-book depiction and perspective of the "Humulus Lupulus" boat (name of the hop plant). The cool color palette is consistent without anything getting in the way. The ingredients are back and, while the tugboat could have made a little more space for them, they're easy to see and understand. The marsh or dock represented by the green line on the left keeps the image interesting. The typeface is a military-industrial stencil look, perhaps calling to mind the famed German U-Boat film of 1981...
In all seriousness, I'm glad "Dan" drew my attention to Driftwood. Like a lot of Canadian breweries, our exposure stateside is really limited. I like the design, and I particularly like that they have a distinct style that stays consistent from beer to beer.

Some notes:

1 comment:

  1. Only just noticed you featured this mate. My favourite Driftwood label was omitted: http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc3/26956_401841617520_213196707520_3789720_1309031_n.jpg The Belle Royale is sumptuous in taste and appearance.

    Heads up: although the Fat Tug label is nice as a graphic, unfortunately the subtle shades of grey and gun-metal blue are diminished in the printing process, turning the design into a bit of a lump (see here: http://beeradvocate.com/im/beers/62911.jpg) Their newest beer, 20 pounder double IPA, suffers similarly. COntrast the design: http://www.beerontherock.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/twentypounder.jpg with the final product: http://www.vancouverbeerblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/P1010303.jpg .

    Love the blog as always

    btw I am "dan" and this is my blog http://smallbeerblog.blogspot.com

    Shame, otherwise these are gorgeous labels.