October 28, 2013

Process Work: Midnight Society Brewery logo

Midnight Society Brewing is a side project that I work on with my girlfriend (now wife) Meagan. We brew our own beer, produce beer ice cream, bottle cap magnets, and beer bottle tumblers. This is the sister company of my t-shirt business Midnight Society Apparel. The branding for both companies go hand in hand with each other.

We came up with the name for the company while brainstorming. The discussions we had revolved around our favorite things from our childhood. We decided to make the company name a reference to one of our favorite shows “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”. The group that told stories in the show call themselves “The Midnight Society”.

The inspiration for the logo came from the fire pit that the children told their stories around. This fire pit connected all the storytellers around it. We started this project as a way to connect with fellow beer enthusiasts. The fire represents that connection and symbolizes our passion toward the product we create.

Early sketches for Midnight Society Brewing primary logo.

We started this project by creating beer ice cream. So my initial logo sketches had nods to ice cream. I moved into making icons that represented both beer and ice cream for the primary mark. As I was creating the mark we started creating other products. To represent the company as a whole. I moved away from the ice cream and beer references. I started drawing the mark in a circular format. To show what the logo would look like on a bottle cap. This approach also let me sort out options that would look best at small sizes.

Sketches for Midnight Society Brewing primary logo that show the flame.

Meagan and I started sketching out our ideas together at this point. She drew a stylized flame that I liked. I added two pieces of crossed wood underneath it. The mark had a skull and crossbones effect. That played into the dark and eerie theme of the show. One these two parts came together we knew this was out mark. We liked the mark because it was simple, recognizable, and connected with the show.

Initial beer label design sketches. I wanted to see how our primary logo would work on the label.

Now that we had our mark. I moved onto sketching out the bottle label designs. Because we knew we were going to have bottled beer and we were not using kegs at the time. I found a company called GrogTag that creates custom labels in small amounts. I sketched out a neck label and body label based on the template the company provided. The initial labels featured a pattern based off of the shape of a hop. I moved away from it because the pattern became too busy. So started stripping things away to their core.

Beer label design sketches. I moved away from the pattern and focused on primary logo itself.

At this point I knew that I wanted to simplify the label. So I started playing with the format of the label. I tried ribbons, many shapes, and different type layouts. But I landed on the circle because of its simplicity. I added the star and the moon to the circle to give an air of mysticism.

 Beer label design sketches. I experimented with flame in the primary logo to see how we would use it in other contexts.

I tried to incorporate the flame from the primary mark into symbols for wheat and hops. I liked this solution because it showed the verticality of the flame. It also showed our attention to detail. We do not expect all our clients to see the mark. But we know it will enhance the experience for those who do.

The completed primary and alternative logo for Midnight Society Brewing.

Now that I had a strong direction for the primary mark and beer label. I scanned my sketched into the computer and started building the elements of the brand. On the left is the primary logo, designed to for use on the products. On the right is the alternative logo, designed for use in promotional pieces.

The completed beer label for Midnight Society Brewing that we send to press.

Above is the final design that we sent to GrogTag for print. I added the moon and the grain to the label. A white line connects the primary mark with the other elements to show their connection.

The completed beer cap for Midnight Society Brewing.

I kept the bottle caps super simple. The caps highlight the primary mark. No word mark to go with it. Because our audience will see the label with the bottle cap. By having the just primary mark on the bottle cap we can build brand recognition with the mark. We used a great printer called Bottle Mark to print our caps.

The bottle caps and beer label together for Midnight Society Brewing.

We put a lot of hard work into the branding and our products. It is so rewarding to see everything come together.

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