January 24, 2011

Three More Label Designs by Short's

You may remember that the simple, creative work by Grand Rapids, MI, Short's Brewing Company was some of the most intriguing and delightful that we looked at last year. Between the fall and now, I've collected a few new pieces of label art by them.
The Autumn Ale, an ESB, is a pretty good example of using a warm color palette, which we usually see for autumn designs to remind us of leaves. Nice use of the orange-yellow gradient to allow for different font colors between the top and bottom. I like the use of long, brown trees in the pint glass. The canopy looks a little like the head on a beer. And of course we have florid prose we have come to expect from Short's label descriptions: "Lore of the season captured in Ale"
The Black Cherry Porter label is less good, though I like the angles and composition. The diagonal tree doesn't quite get enough across about the beer, and the font doesn't stand out well against the trunk and cliff. Putting the dark teal text over the green leaves doesn't exactly scream contrast, either. Because of the dark-on-dark, they lose the black-burgundy gradient that is really the most telling element of this label.

Most recently, Short's released the Woodmaster, "the auspicious blueprint of savory fermented delight extracted by gallant humans of the world." The image is mostly white from the snow covering the ground, with no perspective. The figure cutting the tree (who seems to me to be vaguely out of proportion) is turning his head to look at us, adding intensity as his face and hair add some color. I like the way the tree branch grows through the text. The only thing I'd like more is if the tree was off center a bit, and then the text could balance the label, rather than the right side appearing empty as it does now.

All in all, Short's is continuing to show that interesting design does not need to come from lots of color or detail, but from good use of color and figure combined with creative subject matter. I think I'd like to see them branch out a bit in the coming year or two and try to do some more things with their style. A few small changes could take some of these from good to really fantastic.

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