What’s it like to design a beer brand?


What’s it like to design a beer brand?

If nine months ago someone would have told that I would be working in something I love, that is designing, in a complete different language, and far from home, probably I would have thought that it was a joke.  My name is Andrea and I am an Erasmus student from Spain, who worked at the Green Office designing the new label for the University ale in partnership with Canterbury Brewers and Distillers.

The inspiration for this year was John Tradescant ‘the elder’, the father of English gardening, who designed the gardens on the site of St Augustine Abbey, Canterbury, then owned by Lord Wootton and now, in part, the home of Canterbury Christ Church University.

In 2015 a larch was planted on campus to celebrate Tradescant 400 anniversary and to represent the wide range of plants that he introduced to England. It is believed that he introduced the larch following a journey to Arctic Russia in 1618, that is why the main logo for the label I designed is a larch tree. Three years later Tradescant joined a punitive expedition against the Algerian corsairs in the Mediterranean, and brought back “apricockes”, gladioli and the horse chestnut, among other plants.

These last elements were present as well in some of the other designs I came up with at first in order to have some options to choose from. In the end the simple design of a larch tree silhouette was the winner because we thought that we didn’t need all those elements together, just the tree which equally represents John Tradescant’s legacy and CCCU’s commemorative planting back in 2015.

Tradescant 400 Ale, which is the name we chose honouring his name and celebrations, forms part of our Bioversity initiative, which focuses on the creation of a unique identity and sense of place based on our location within the Canterbury UNESCO World Heritage Site.

I also designed beer mats, posters, and banners following the same stylistic requirements in order to have a full coverage promotion of the ale. As I mentioned before, we finally chose a simple monochromatic design, White backgrounds and black elements like double stripes for framing and serif typographies mixed with others of a handwritten style. The result ends up being classic, elegant and simple but still maintaining a modern and minimalist look.

As a foreign student, it was an amazing experience to work in this project hand to hand with other people whom helped me learn a lot about the local culture and history. I even had the opportunity to learn and see with my own eyes how this ale is produced in the most artisan way.

This fine ale, brewed using heritage hops, including varieties grown on our campus, makes the ale truly one of a kind! You can see and taste it at it’s first public outing at the Canterbury Food & Drink Festival in Dane John Gardens from Friday 27th to Sunday 29th September where it will be featured at the Kent Green Hop Beer Festival Tent!

by Andrea Gonzalez Guerra, ERASMUS student

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