A Clinic in Design Balance: A critical essay of the Reve Brewing Co. can design
I have always been a huge fan of graphic design in the beverage sector, specifically alcohol design. Between the hard liquors, wine and beer you will find some of the most innovative and beautiful graphic design on the planet. It seems to have a freedom and energy not found in other design opportunities and you really get the chance to see a designer flex their muscles and cut loose. The styles range a gamut of simple and colorful to insanely ornate and complex. Sometimes they manage to mix all those elements into one 10 pound baby of a design.
This is evident in the Reve Brewing Co beer can design done by Kendrick Kidd. It is easy for a design to feel cluttered or cramped when it has a lot of different elements and design choices happening but Kidd has managed a walk off home run feat by effortlessly pairing these elements in an absolutely gorgeous and balanced manner. Combining pattern, old school illustration and handcrafted stylings in a clean and well balanced layout and grounded with excellent typography choices, this can design sings. It has a little bit of everything that speaks to a breadth of design styles that would attract any discerning eye. I personally love patterns as background elements and this one works perfectly to tie the design into a cohesive unit. It doesn’t compete with the rest of the design but provides a nice solid canvas that stylistically matches well with the type choices and ornaments used in other parts of the layout.
The rabbit mark has a great woodcut old school illustrative feel to it that lends a classic hint of elegance to a clean and modern design that pairs so well with the typography. To help balance the design and convey important information to the drinker, the bold and dark colored label, with its clean but handcrafted look is a necessary element that is well executed. The faux hand-lettering type choice here gives the design a warmth and human touch to balance out the cleaner elements and the stark white and silver background colors. It also provides a large swath of color to help break up the larger field of white and pattern that prevents the pattern from overwhelming the can. The color choices in the information label, black and brown, are a perfect choice to add that caring touch, the sense that each can is special and hand picked for the customer.
The ornamentation is also vital to the overall design. Used in small doses as simple accents to fill white space as needed and draw attention to certain design elements, it never feels over done or over used.
This can design is a clinic in balance. Using so many different elements that tie in well together and don’t feel like they are competing is tough for any designer but here it is masterfully done. I have long been a fan of Kendrick Kidd’s work and it is graphic design like this that inspires and provides a learning opportunity for any graphic designer to study. It catches the eye, conveys information in an easy to read form, has great composition and the color palette is spot on. But more importantly, most importantly, it is just a cool design. I have studied a lot of beverage design, specifically beer can design, and this one sings to me. How a beer can can have so much going on and still manage to come off as clean and modern as this is a feat. Well done Kendrick Kidd, I look forward to seeing more of your future work and hopefully trying the beer itself. If it is half as good as the design I am going to have to drink it out of a glass, at least until I can figure out how to enjoy looking at it while drinking out of the can at the same time.
You can find more of Kendrick Kidd’s work at http://www.kendrickkidd.com/