Bauhaus Beer Branding

wormwood's picture

Hello again Typophilers

Any feedback or criticisms, from both designer and consumer viewpoints, of the branding, typography and packaging for this beer brand would be greatly appreciated.

Please note that all the elements in white will be silver on the bottle labels and cap.

penn's picture

The counter on the 'A's are rather large. To compensate I might move the cross-bar up a tad.

Since the name is Bauhaus, I might experiment a bit more with the classic square, circle, triangle shapes commonly associated with the movement.

nina's picture

I think this is pretty strong, except for the Helvetica. There's no reason why it needs to be there – in fact to my eyes it seems out of place both visually and historically; it feels like a non-choice, and next to the fresh & typographic mark that's sort of a letdown. Something a bit more fresh, angular and less compromising might be great as secondary font. Sans or maybe slab.

BTW, be sure not to go too Marlboro on the front label. Although I think the way it is now should be fine.

Edit: The type on the back label is tiny indeed – can you test if it's actually still legible once you take it to the silver foil paper?

penn's picture

^agree with all these thoughts as well

Michael Hernan's picture

On the back label the body text looks like it can't make its mind up between being justified or ragged!
also what is the mark before 'organically (Above ABV). I would be looking to avoid having this mark to the word's left hand side even if you could optically align it. I would even go so far as to redesign the back to take care of this!

Otherwise back looks neat.

riccard0's picture

I would avoid pairing it with a grotesque (Premium Beer, etc.)

Edit: Ooops, sure I'm slow!

riccard0's picture

From a consumer standpoint, I like my beer labels a tad more vintage/friendly looking.
That, and the alcohol too! ;-)

wormwood's picture

Thanks everyone.

The logotype matrix is 5 units high and I would rather not subdivide it. So the A's crossbar either goes where it is or vertically centre. I tried it centre but preferred it 1 unit down.

Any actual suggestions for an alternate typeface to Helvetica? One that could work for all the type other than the logotype. I would rather not introduce a third typeface.

I hadn't considered the Marlboro similarity. I'm disappointed in myself for not spotting that.

The back label type is small but should be OK. Will see for sure when the proofs are done.

All the back label text is align left ragged right. Any justification is pretty much just by chance.

The mark before 'organically grown' is an asterisk to link to those after 'barley' and 'hops'. I'm happy that it creates a small indent in this context.

The decision not to adopt traditional beer styling was a considered one, which was decided upon partly to distinguish the product from alcoholic beers.

Michael Hernan's picture

All the back label text is align left ragged right. Any justification is pretty much just by chance.

A mantra I like to go by is 'Dont except chance unless chance gives you perfect.'
I like ragged right aswell, but as the type is set here, I would consider having the text re-written either to:

A. make the rag more obvious
B. add in the extra words you need to keep an even density in the line while allowing for justified text.

Justified text was popular with the hard-core Bauhaus designers. I can hear Max Bill telling me now, This is not a book, it is a beer label.

'*organically grown'

OK, so you are referencing the ingredients on the next line. Careful – because this looks like a continuous string because of the short measure (line width). Consider what designers of the Bauhaus would have done, would they have accepted what the machine automatically did for them? - well actually... [humor]

[TIP] Small Caps for Post code?
I used to make heavier weight either using a bolder weight or outline and made the type smaller so as to be optically the same as the rest of the address. This technique has been useful for stationary until now where Small caps are becoming more frequent feature.


wormwood's picture

Thank's userone. You're right. A couple of edit's to the main body of copy on the back label and it will justify evenly.

I was happy with the slight visual indentation caused by the aligned left asterisk in front of '*organically grown' exactly because I thought it helped to prevent it from looking like part of a continuous string. What would the designers of the Bauhaus have done? I've received none of their schooling. Well, maybe a little, subconsciously.

I think I will leave the post code in this instance, partly so that its text block remains mostly justified.

Can any of the campaigners against using Helvetica or a grotesque suggest some alternatives?

wormwood's picture

BTW I try to avoid using Helvetica as a rule. I regard it as rather a lazy default setting. This is possibly only the third time I've used it in my entire career. But for this job I thought it was the natural choice for a number of reasons. It's interesting to hear otherwise.

eliason's picture

This looks sporty to me (may look less so when the white becomes silver). That may work pretty well with the 0% alcohol idea. I think it's appealing overall.

I'm not sold on the neck label - that diagonal baseline works against the gridded design of the font, IMO.

Any chance "total organic" could become "totally organic"?

How about Avenir for the Helvetica text?

eliason's picture

p.s. I think the big B needs to be moved right a touch to be optically centered.

nina's picture

"the natural choice for a number of reasons"

I'd suggest something clean, with clear shapes and a constructed character. I was first thinking something angular like Stratum or maybe the new Vitesse; but on second thought that might be tricky in terms of getting uncomfortably close-but-not-quite to what you have in the mark. So, how about something geometric but round – in the overall direction of the ultimate Bauhaus font, Futura? But possibly a bit more current and smooth; dunno, Avenir or maybe even Gotham might be worth trying. Take care to carefully balance the weights.

BTW, there might be better typographic solutions than a slash between «Zero Alcohol» and «Total Organic».

Edit: I see Craig suggested Avenir too. Nice :-)

riccard0's picture

I don't think anyone ever called me a campaigner! ;-)
I would try something "futuresque", in order to contrast with circles the squareness of the logo, or something "cut & curved":

Edit: I'm know to sleep between tabs...

Sindre's picture

Here's a little something I'm working on at the moment, based on a few Norwegian functionalist letters from ca. 1932. It's less severe than Futura, borrows some details from the version of Erbar Grotesk used on Norwegian street signs, but the main inspiration is the lettering on the great Norwegian phone boxes. Almost finished in two weights. A possibility?

Tomi from Suomi's picture

That is very nice!

Have you considered the two-storey 'a' from Erbar; it would work well with those characters. You could do a stylistic set to have both.

And would you consider doing the small x-height version as well?

Sindre's picture

Thanks, Tomi. Er, yes, I tried, but couldn't make a decent one. I've made a good "æ" with the "a" part two-storey, though. I'm keen on making this a no-compromise typeface, unlike Erbar, that almost could double as a grotesque. I'll start a separate thread on this soon, I just need to make the bold cut more finished first.

It wasn't my intention hi-jacking your thread, Jonathan. Still, if you like my typeface in progress and want new, fresh lettering for your brand job, I'm open for a chat about that. I'll show you a better sample in a little while.

Tomi from Suomi's picture

Look what I found from 1997:

These are crap, but with two x-heights and a two-storey 'a'. I had totally forgotten about this, but you reminded me, and I found these eventually.

Sindre's picture

That's great, Tomi. You never finished them?

Here's a very quick mock-up:

I apologize if you think this is too forward of me, Jonathan. I just got a little excited.

Tomi from Suomi's picture

Hi, Sindre-

No, I never finihed them, and in fact I had totally forgotten I'd ever made them in the first place. Now I have to think about this; should I go for them again?

With your 'PREMIUM', those M's look iffy. Perhaps cut them to cap height, and adjust the diagonals?

Sindre's picture

Well, my goal is not to make this a smooth, modern geometric, but to keep a lot of the typographical naïveté of the early geometrics. Then again, I made those bold M's in a hurry a few minutes ago, so they might need much adjustment. Thanks a lot for your great input and enthusiasm, but I feel we should continue to discuss these things when I post this typeface up for critique in a few days, so we don't hijack this thread any further.

Ratbaggy's picture

Here's a recent bahaus type abstraction I did recently.

..just cause.

wormwood's picture

Many thanks to everyone for all the feedback and alternate typeface suggestions, offers and mockups. I'll give them serious consideration.

I agree that the diagonal neck label compromises the overall geometry but it was something I had no say about. It's not too bad and maybe even adds a little dynamism.

The wording "total organic" was chosen instead of "totally organic" for syllabic and visual symmetry.

I think the forward slash within 'Zero Alcohol / Total Organic' is probably the most suitable option. I thought dots would not be as complimentary and anything more complex would be un-Bauhaus. I also think there's a popular sense of modernity with the forward slash through its use on the internet.

I didn't mean to suggest anyone was a campaigner. It was just a lapse in vocabulary :)

Love that graphic, Ratbaggy. Maybe do the whole alphabet and release them as a poster/postcard series.

Here are some of the reasons, which may well be misguided or narrow minded, why I considered Helvetica as "the natural choice" for this job ...

- A sans serif was needed for a modernist design.

- An angular constructivist sans serif would clash with the logotype.

- A rounded constructivist sans serif would be too close to the lettering on the Bauhaus building and conflict with the logotype and brand identity.

- It works well for an 'information graphics' aesthetic which connects with a Bauhaus/brutalist 'form follows function' and 'ornament is crime' ethos.

- It can be used for all the text other than the logotype and still be legible at very small sizes on the back label and therefore the undesirable introduction of a third typeface is avoided.

- It has a wide choice of weights which makes it very workable for the labels and the many other contexts in which it will be needed.

- It has a relatively large x-height which minimizes the lowercase text's ragged horizontal rivers of space that would compromise the overall geometric design.

- The dates of release for Akzidenz-Grotesk (1896) and Helvetica (1957) bracket the Bauhaus era fairly closely (1919-1933).

Pixel Pusher's picture

The counter form in the large "B" looks like an equal sign.

wormwood's picture

Thanks Pixel Pusher. I hadn't spotted that. May use it in some way as part of the marketing.

B = A x 0% + O x 100%

Sindre's picture

By the way, are you aware of the pan-European (sans UK) low quality supplies shop Bauhaus? The similarity stops at white sans on bright red, but that's enough for most people, I guess.

wormwood's picture

I was aware of the Bauhaus retail stores. Bauhaus Beer will initially launch in the UK and some other non-European markets.
And on the bottle packaging everything that is white, in the image I posted, will be metallic silver.

JoergGustafs's picture

just curious – what’s the concept behind this product?
I don’t really get the link between bauhaus, zero alcohol, totally organic, the colours and a Swiss brewery…

all about seb's picture

Guess it is a play on Brauhaus / brewery ?

J Weltin's picture

I don’t get it either. Not my cup of tea (or: can of beer).

wormwood's picture

The product's concept is good tasting organic beer that lets you stay sober. The name has no significant link, concept, wordplay or pun. It was found to be suitably appealing among potential buyers and consumers.

However, there is one word that may suggest a connection between the product and the name ... sobriety.

It's interesting how the questions of meaning that are asked about the naming and identity of products/brands in development are seldom asked of products/brands already on the shelves, which are mostly accepted at face value and the level of instinct or feeling.

Beers names that are proper nouns have no inherent meaning. And where is there any real link between the product and the name of these beers for example... Duvel (devil) / Tiger / Cobra / Stella (star in Latin) / Red Stripe / Corona (crown in Spanish) ?

francis bold's picture

I see no real core values to this brand at all as it stand, strapping the design around the bauhaus movement is all well and good but does it really communicate what's inside the bottle? and the heritage of beer in general?

The silver foiling in my option could potently look quite tacky and could be seen as a unnecessary device to enhance a some what bland label.

I'm trying to picture the bottles shelf presence with its bold upright label with the silver foiling all lined up together, and I'm thinking very over powering and dominating, sure i can see it drawing attention to itself but will it be for the right reasons.

As a consumer i defiantly wouldn't associate this style of design with a beer label, i would see it being more fitting for like an energy drink or something amongst the kind.

eliason's picture

I dunno, I think "Bauhaus" makes some sense for non-alcoholic beer made of organic ingredients. Clean, modern, sober, progressive, cool.

wormwood's picture

@ francis bold
I think the plain and succinct wording on the label communicates what's inside the bottle perfectly clearly. The rest is mainly tone of voice. The creation of the beer's identity was more concerned with evoking an attitude and shared values than with "strapping the design around the bauhaus movement".

Also, I do not think it is either necessary or appropriate for this beer's branding and packaging to communicate the heritage of beer in general. This beer does not share that heritage and it would be misleading to the consumer to suggest that it did. Hopefully the market will assess this product with as little prejudice as possible.

You're quite right about the silver foil. It is wholly "a unnecessary device to enhance a some what bland label". Worth a shot though, don't you think?

It's funny, I pictured the bottles' shelf presence in exactly the way you describe. I hope it works. Drawing attention to itself is its primary objective. The rest is for the shopper to decide.

Glad to hear that "As a consumer i defiantly wouldn't associate this style of design with a beer label". It was another one of the aims for the design to avoid beer label cliches. The bottle itself and the context in which it will be encountered, as well as some cognition on the part of the shopper, should be enough to overcome any confusion.

And an association to 'energy' drinks, and their kind, is better than an association to the'follow this with 6 shots, a kebab, unsatisfactory sex, projectile vomiting and a hangover' kind of drinks.

@ eliason
Thanks for those positive adjectives ... "Clean, modern, sober, progressive, cool." They're exactly the sort I would put on the Bauhaus beer mood board if I had one.

francis bold's picture

You defend your decision well, but I'm still not convinced. Perhaps when you do the consumer testing and apply the 3 second rule it will tell a different story. By all means I'm not totally against the design it has for me some ok touches. I'm drawn more to the neck label than anything else, and almost would like to see that brought down into the main label at a larger scale and the B to go up as a wrap around neck collar.

for me it would be how i can create more of a understated elegant and calm (sober) image, than a overstated and evasive dominant presence

And remember women drink beer to. The hole design seems to be very male orientated.

Oh and yeah the silver foiling cant do much harm, but its expensive specially considering the area coverage you have. maybe consider just doing a nice outline round the B than the hole.

Special-K's picture

For some reason, I'm not liking the placement of the ® on the Large B. Maybe bottom right instead - not sure. With the product being "Organic", I would think earthtone colors would be more appropriate. Think it could go well with the silver. What color is your beer and bottle to be?

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