The design ideas and creative process for my Beer and Brewers designs was totally different from that described in my first post. Whereas Bicycles Builders was centered on some of my personal childhood memories and emotions, my Beer and Brewers designs are, instead, the result of solid research with a logical structure spanning from the chain of production to the final consumer.
There are, however, rules that always hold true for any design project. It is good to always bear in mind that, any time we start a new project, we need to understand what we are dealing with. If it's a company or a client, we need to study the core values of what they need and what they want. We must understand where they come from, their future goals and who their clients and competitors are. Even If we don't have a client, we can still apply the same questions and working process to our work. This is an excellent exercise in the perspective of future employment but also keeps our mind busy and open to new creative ideas.
Furthermore, from a practical point of view, always keep a sketch pad on hand and sketch, sketch, sketch! One does not need to be outstanding at drawing to sketch, and it is a way of remembering because, just as ideas come, they also disappear. So, if you quickly record your ideas and inspiration on paper, you avoid the risk of losing a concepts forever.
Now, back to sources of inspirational ideas. For my Beer and Brewers project I began by reading about Beer in Wikipedia (LINK). The Contents index on the left side of the first page shows how the overall subject, Beer, is divided into a variety of different aspects. In particular, History, Brewing, Ingredients, Society and Culture were the aspects that raised questions in my mind and that I was curious to know more about.
So that you may further understand my creative process for Beer and Brewers, let’s take a look at the questions that actually came to my mind and how I drew inspiration from the answers I found to these.
Where does beer come from?
Water is brewed into beer through the fermentation of cereal grains such as malted barley, wheat, maize (corn), and rice. The fermentation by means of yeast, converts the grain sugar to alcohol, and different grains impart unique and characteristic tastes. The fermentation is then flavored with hops that add further “Character” to the beer, meaning a more or a less bitter flavor and a “hoppy” aroma, and act as a natural preservative. Other flavors, such as herbs or fruits, are occasionally included.
These different grains already give us some design ideas and if you go to Dribbble.com or Behance.com and scroll through some Beer designs, you will see that hops and grains are widely included in illustrations and logos. Examples are the fantastic designs done by Nick Slater (LINK) and by Brandon Rike (LINK).
Let's move on, again with the help of Wikipedia and the Internet.
What is the history of beer?
Although beer dates back to the early Neolithic Age when cereal cultivation began, the first written evidence of it comes from the Sumerians and, more exactly, from "The Hymn to Ninkasi", their prayer to the goddess Ninkasi. So here we have another great inspirational design concept. A female Sumerian god with grains and hops. One could research some gods that are connected to beer.
or further knowledge and inspiration one can, of course, continue reading the history section that will tell you that, although over the centuries, many other cultures, including Egyptians, Greeks, Iranians as well as Chinese and Indians embraced this beverage, it was with the Celtic and Germanic tribes that beer spread through Europe where it became widely produced, firstly on an artisanal and, later, on an industrial scale.
What was the brewing process and what is it now?
The process of making beer is known as brewing. Although beer can be made at home, and has been for much of history, dedicated buildings for the making of beer are called a breweries. In my case the “process” of brewing brought to mind messages such as "Real Artisan Product" or "Artisan Brewed Beer" that I could place around a costum font or a goddess in peasant dress, holding hops and grains, and thus enforce my designs. I trust this example helps illustrates how following a logical procedure can actually stimulate one’s imagination.
What are the ingredients of beer?
Just the simple fact that the basic ingredient of beer is water, is enough to give one tons of inspiration!
Take a look at the work of Riley Cran (LINK) who incorporated ice crystals in his beer design, or the work of Muti, where Neptune, the god of water, is incorporated, again, in his beer design (LINK). We, on the other hand, could incorporate some sort of legendary water goddess or ice mountain or water drops in ours.
How did beer become so famous?
Beer is sold everywhere in bottles and cans; draught beer is found more particularly, in pubs and bars. Industrial brewing is a global business and, alongside this, there are thousands of smaller producers which make it widely available and very affordable. Furthermore, many social activities are associated with beer drinking. Beer therefore also has unifying effect and has become part of our culture. What great design ideas we can acquire from this!
In fact, beer as a social unifier has already been represented by various great artists. See, for example, Francois Jaques’ “Peasants Enjoying Beer at a Pub” (LINK); Alphonse Mucha’s “Bieres de la Meuse” (LINK) and, last but not least, Edouard Manet’s “At the Café” (LINK). As in my Beer and Brewers, I love to get inspiration from great artists and then pay them a tribute!
It should be evident by now as to how, with just a bit of research and answers to a couple of questions, one can really gain tons of ideas to work from for any subject matter.
For a Beer and Brewers project one can sketch and create different types of hops, wheat and grains, get inspiration from ancient history and mythology, or represent normal people in social activities. One can choose to represent, as I did, a historical personality, Napoleon on a horse, holding a glass of beer and further enforce the message with ad hoc phrases.
Allow me to suggest just one last overall rule pertaining to the actual designs for the project. It is good practice to try to find unity throughout the designs. In this regard, for my Beer and Brewers project, I used three main colors. From each color I created a darker hue for the shadows and a lighter one for the exposed side. Also the strokes are uniform. Small strokes for the shadow side and normal strokes for all the rest. The theme is of course beer, but I did use three different personalities to convey my message: a pirate, a conqueror and an artist!
For those who sometimes struggle to find new ideas and inspiration, hopefully this description of the procedure I followed for Beer and Brewing, will serve as a sort of template to facilitate their creativity.