Thursday, January 18, 2024

The Twelve Pack

I recently had a freelance job designing labels for Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing Company of Cherry Hill, New Jersey.  When they opened in 2014, I soon became a Thursday regular, getting to know owners Jamie Queli and Seth Dolled, and bartenders Ryan, Kai, and Marysia - who challenged me to spell her name (It took months to figure out).  They were always so kind and welcoming, often topping-off my drink. They eventually had me drawing Minions on their large chalkboard menu behind the bar.   By 2016 they were talking mural, but I moved back to California instead and that was that.  

During the summer of 2022,  Forgotten Boardwalk did an Instagram call-out, looking for artists to create labels for upcoming brews.  I messaged them.  They remembered me.  Boom - I'm a label designer.  Over the next 16 months, I would create 12 such designs that I share with you here, lucky reader.

1. Tightrope Walker

Jamie would send a pdf document providing the beer's name and other pertinent information. She'd give me a character, like Pierre the Tightrope Walker seen here, as well as inspirational images - photos or illustrations, usually from the 1920's and '30's.  She'd even write a little backstory, often based on true events in New Jersey history.  Jamie wanted the characters to be villains to appeal to her main demographic - 25 to 40 year old males.  The edgier the better.  My stuff skews more whimsical than edgy, but I tried!  Pierre is my first attempt at 'edgy'. 

I would submit a sketchbook rough for feedback, then create the final art in Photoshop. I often added little side gags, "Easter eggs", or what Will Elder called "chicken fat".   The final comp would be done in Adobe Illustrator, adding their official logo, Surgeon General's warning, and assorted text. 

Sample of Jamie's pdf briefs with specs and inspiration.