A beer called Rose

The Wassail

The Wassail by MacKintosh  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the first assignments  for my Graphic Design course was to create a beer label. We had to come up with a name for a craft beer made in Australia by a company with a Scottish heritage: A blend of Australian amber ale and Scottish stout.

Now there are few things in this world that I hate more than the taste of beer… I was first introduced to the taste in Germany when I was on exchange in high school visiting an awesome family. I loved the exchange and my host German family! I hated the beer. Since then my hubby has tried multiple times to introduce me to the taste, but every time he gets a dramatic display of face-pulling as the horrible taste fills my mouth! So needless to say, I was not exactly thrilled at the idea of designing a beer label!

Innitial Beer label ideasInitially I thought I might call my beer ‘Red House’ after the house William Morris‘ designed, as my designs for the menus, coasters and carpets of the Art House Bar (where this beer would be launched) were based on the Arts & Crafts movement [1850 – 1900]. I then did some research about what that era produced in Scotland (as this beer has a Scottish heritage.) I found that the Glasgow School of Arts was very influential at the time and that Charles Rennie Mackintosh was particularly well know for his stained-glass rose designs from that era.

After some deliberation I decided to call the beer, Glasgow Rose. Hubby was absolutely horrified: “You can’t call a beer Rose – no bloke will drink it!” (Of course! Why hadn’t I thought of that?)  However by that stage I had already done a lot of research and sketches and I was not excited about the prospects of starting again. My lecturer said that since it was a craft beer it was probably for the more cultured drinker, and did not have to apply to the average Aussie bloke…(not that hubby is uncultured or your typical average Aussie male!) So I kept going.

Beer label wrap-over concept sketchBeer label preparatory sketchesI wanted the design to look like a stained glass window, incorporating a rose and a eucalyptus leaf. I submitted my first draft that looked remarkably like a wine bottle label! Of course it did – what do I know about beer labels?!

I kept  researching and looking at real beer labels and had another go. I adjusted my colour choice and as background I used images of textured glass. I designed a wrap-around label for the  bottle neck and body, as well as an image for the bottle-top. This time I was much more satisfied with the result.

Final Beer label designSure it is a beer called rose, complete with flowers on the label – but hey – maybe the girls would like it!

I then also had to design an invite to the launch of Glasgow Rose, drawing on the style and colour-scheme of the Art House Bar as well as the beer label.

I used some of the illustrations from the menus I had already designed and tweaked my original beer label design (the one that looked like a wine label) to become the invite.

All in all I learnt a lot and passed the course. Who knows what exciting assignments and designs next term will bring…


First attempts

Three months ago I started studying a Diploma of Graphic Design. I thought that adding this skill to my toolbox would be a good thing to do: It would give me a career option to work from home while we have little kids, and then later I could simply use it with my work in Community Arts and Cultural Development.

What I did not realise was the amount of work it would take to study part-time, work part-time, and mother full-time! Somehow, with much support and help from my Husband, mum-in-law, lecturers, friends, and various other awesome people, I can now officially say I passed my first semester! 

Arts and Crafts Movement [1850 – 1900]. We then had to select an appropriate colour scheme, and justify why it was suitable.

Arts & Crafts movement colour scheme

Next we had to do hand-drawn sketches to digitize and then use in our designs of four seasonal menus, clearly reflecting the art movement we had chosen. Each of my menus feature hand-drawn images of British foliage since this was something that featured largely in that era. On each menu some of these are in white, which creates consistency and contrast with the muted tones used otherwise. I tied the the four menus together by the placement, font and colour of the words ‘Art House Bar’, as well as the centralised placement and consistent font of the word ‘menu’. The fonts used here are very typical of the Arts & Crafts period.

Menu 1: Summer

I chose to use greens which speak of life and growth, referencing the green English countryside. The flowers depicted here were inspired by lavender and daisy species that bloom in summer.

Menu 2: Autumn

The dominant colours used for this menu are autumn colours of terracotta and crimson, contrasted with white. Again the Begonia and Aconite flowers featured here are ones that specifically bloom in the UK in Autumn.

Menu 3: Winter

For the winter menu I decided to feature Irises and lilies that are typical winter bloomers in the UK. They have a very distinct shape and featured heavily in the work of Walter Crane. The dark blue is a cold colour to go with the temperature of winter. I used an ochre as a highlight colour alongside the white, as used in the other menus.

Menu 4: Spring

Tulips are such a typical spring flower that they were the flower of choice for the last menu. I used the terracotta colour in about 80% opacity, rather than the ivory I had originally intended to use, as the ivory was simply not strong enough against the white and turquoise. The turquoise is a beautiful crisp colour that shows off the pink and white spring blooms well.

So there you have it… my first attempt at marrying my drawings with graphic design.

In with the old!

Tulip textile design by William MorrisI recently started studying Graphic Design and am absolutely loving it! For one of our first assignments we had to research a stack of historical art movements. The one that got me interested was the Arts and Crafts Movement [1850 – 1900]. The name of it is quite deceiving as it has nothing to do with knitting and embroidery in the craftiest sense of the word. Instead this art movement saw some extremely talented artists gathering to form artist guilds and societies to encourage top quality design and to support each other’s creative journeys. How nice! They worked together with a common goal of glorifying God through their creative practice.

Floral design by William MorrisI particularly love the work of William Morris (1834 – 1896), the father of this movement. He was an artist, printer, bookbinder, designer, poet, writer and craftsman. (No wonder I like his work!) He created the most amazing decorative floral designs!

William Morris designApparently he said: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” I love it! That is pretty much the motto I like to go by when it comes to creating a home!

It seems this movement combined a whole lot of things I love! I can’t believe I did not recognise the beauty of the works from that era before…

Cray illustration by William Morris