The relaxing of the national lockdown felt like a fresh start for us here at Fallen Brewing. Announcing our commitment to independence, pulling back from the supermarkets and ending our (operationally-brief) association with Molson Coors has been liberating. Refreshing our branding felt like a suitable way to mark the occasion and usher in a new era for us. The monochrome designs have been with us since we moved into The Old Engine Shed in April 2014. They’ve served us well and I think have become a recognisable brand in UK craft beer circles. There was always the concern though that the lack of differentiation in design between different beers was a weakness rather than a strength. Cans looked very similar on the shelves and pump clips and keg badges looked the same on bar fonts. The only thing you could say for certainty without closer inspection was that what you were seeing was a Fallen beer.
So, we started thinking about a brand refresh and what we wanted to achieve. As soon as we started thinking seriously about the project, we approached Erik Porter of Union Creative. Erik was involved in the original BrewDog branding before going freelance and is also the designer responsible for Fierce’s fantastic look and many others. We worked with Erik on the North Sea Bridges project in 2018 and were super-impressed with his approach and ideas. ‘Improved differentiation between products’ was the primary element of the brief that we gave to Erik. Erik’s initial thoughts were that the brand was strong and would benefit more from tidying and modifying rather than going back to the drawing board. Overall, the new designs are true to this concept. They’re fresh but familiar.
We started with the can designs and started playing with the different elements. The hop logo has increased in size and prominence; logo and body text fonts were modified to remove the old distressed look and lock-up lines were introduced to frame the beer names. The overall effect on the front of the cans is a fresher, cleaner look. The most obvious way to improve differentiation between different beers was by introducing colour. Erik introduced us to a whole new world of primary, secondary and tertiary colour spectrums and we spent what felt like days if not weeks deciding on the colours for the new ‘regulars’ range. The only sticking point was the colour of the hop and the potential clash between hoppy green and the colour of choice. This was quickly circumvented by applying some poetic license and making the hop logo the same colour as the label. Anyone seen a purple hop? We all love a good story so we’ve included a short paragraph on the back of the label to describe each beer and another paragraph on who and where we are and what we try to achieve. We’ve also reduced the best before time (as we’re no longer beholden to the ’12 month BBE’ requirement of the supermarkets). This was never something we were comfortable with. When you look at the back of the cans now you will see a PKD (packed) and a BBE (Best Before End) date which will be six months from the date of packing. It was important for us to be completely transparent on this to ensure you guys know how fresh the beer is when you buy and drink it. As fresh as possible is the ideal scenario!
The colours and the design modifications worked really well and the cans looked great but we felt they needed to be a bit more unique. The old monochrome designs were seriously minimal and we wanted to add a bit more to the new designs. In steps Zain Kapasi. Zain is one of my (Paul’s) oldest and closest friends. He’s a GP in East Lothian and also happens to be an incredibly talented illustrator and photographer. You might already be familiar with some of his sketches on the Stirliner Weisse, Big Raspberry Dog Chew, Dark Territory, Giant Loup and Surf Line cans. We commissioned Zain to do a unique sketch for each beer to sit behind the designs as ‘watermarks’. The sketches tell a story for each beer and really add texture, interest and differentiation beyond what we’d already achieved with the initial designs. They’re subtle on the cans, pump clips and keg badges but they’re so good that we’ve included the full sketches on the website. The majority of the photography on the updated website is Zain’s work as well.
We also decided to bite the bullet and go for 440ml cans in 12-packs. All the feedback we’ve had from independent retailers is that the market prefers 440ml cans and from a stockist’s perspective, smaller pack sizes are also preferred as it allows shops to conveniently stock more varieties. We think the generally sessionable nature of our beers and our ambitions for the years ahead are well suited to the new format.
It’s always our intention to be as eco-friendly as possible when running the business so we tried to live up to our eco-credentials when re-designing the packaging. The new can labels are 90% plant-based, we’ve minimised ink-usage on the new box designs, we’re planning to use paper packing tape (but didn’t get the initial box designs quite right!) and the pump clips and keg badges are printed on cardboard rather than foamex. They’re all small changes but were the most eco-friendly solutions we could find.
Finally, the eight beers that have been unveiled in the brand refresh launch will form our new ‘regulars’ range. We didn’t want to call this a core range as it implies that all beers are available in all formats (cask, keg and can) all year round. For now, that status will only belong to our best-sellers Local Motive and Odyssey. The rest of the regulars will appear consistently throughout the year alongside newly devised special releases.
We’re really excited about having the opportunity to make a fresh start and the brand refresh feels like a great way to kick off a new era for us. We’re looking forward to working with you all going forward. If you want to know more or you want to stock the beers in your outlet(s) give us a call on 07500 906924 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading and stay safe.
All the best
Paul and The Fallen Brewing Team