February 12, 2011

Rahr & Sons Transforms Tragedy Anniversary into Label Art

The Fort Worth, Texas brewery Rahr & Sons has impressed the Curator before with their retro-looking design. They have some more work to look at.

First, their winter warmer label:
My first thought is that's a lot of text and not much space for an intricate, snow-covered scene. Text is good and all, but they've got a beer description right, a brewery story left, and a big texty logo over everything. That works when your art is a pinup girl or a ship, but for a picturesque look at buildings, that's a lot to ask of a tiny space.

The new label for the Summertime Wheat:
This is a little better, keeping the image to just a single figure with wheat stalks forming a multi-layered line against which the figure rises in front of the logo. The use of the yellow is obvious but the shade works well. One thing Rahr consistently does in its design is avoid flat, straight lines, and here that lends to a swaying feeling with the wheat.

The rodeo-themed Bucking Bock:
Okay, well here they design around the big lettering well, with it seeming like the R's tail is what caused the horse to buck. Here they've got a straight line in the fence, which serves to contrast the horse and the flying rider. Not sure how I feel about the shade of blue. It's a pretty hue, but when I think rodeo, I think more on the warm color palette, like a dark orange or red or something.

Lastly, as you may remember, last year a storm took out Rahr's roof. For the anniversary, they released the aptly-named Snowmageddon, with this 22-oz bottle label:
From the brewery:

February 11, 2010 – cold dark and snowing. Not any ordinary snow – but instead a heavy, mean, ugly snow that spilled over the brewery. Leaving the brewery that late evening – who would have known there would be no brewery that next morning.
February 12, 2010 – awoke to the sounds of twisted metal, gushing water and alarms as tons of snow came crashing down through the roof and into the brewery. We tried to save what we could and accept the loss of what we could not.
As the day waned, through many a friends helping hands, a new beginning was forming. This was not the end, but alas a start to something new and wonderful.

Scary stuff to anyone who's ever owned a building, let alone put their own livelihood at stake by starting a business. The label departs from their usual template just a bit, losing the Alamo-inspired center bulge and shrinking the lettering a bit while also shifting from the dusty tan-plus-one color scheme to a full color image on a white background. The image itself is what you'd predict; a brewery with a twisted, broken roof-like structure with a bunch of snow. I suppose my only thought is that this snow is really white, puffy and friendly, nothing like the "heavy, mean, ugly snow" described. This might be one of those cases where you need to balance approachability of design with accuracy of depiction.

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