Howling Hops // Beer Labels

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Label No.1: Pale XX Custom Superior, No.1, introducing The Wolf

Howling Hops started out in the cellar of my local pub, the Cock Tavern, so it was a truly happy moment when they – alongside design agency Tinder & Sparks – coincidentally approached me to work with them on their branding. Not just because I love their beers. Ahem. And what’s more, it transpired their beautiful new Tank Bar was to open just round the corner from our studio in Hackney Wick; so truly my ethos of working with small local businesses was to be fully served with this collaboration…

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While Tinder & Sparks burnt the candles at both ends putting the logo and identity design together, I went about initially designing and illustrating the first 10 beers to be bottled.*

We wanted the bottles to jump out from the shelves and fridges, so it was agreed early on that we’d reflect the richness and fruitiness of these hop-laden beers in the colour schemes. After a very enjoyable tasting session, I put together colourways for each flavour based upon the little I could remember (and my notes), came up with the idea of a cameoing Wolf – like a canine Hitchcock – to honour the beers’ previous labels, and landed on a template that everyone was happy with: large, psych-filled lettering with a spot illustration on the front; decoration and further illustrations depicting the wolf engaged in some activity related to the specific beer round the side. To make them jump even further, I stuck to 3-4 Pantone colours and tried to include at least one that wouldn’t normally be easily printed in CMYK.

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*Since then, the number of labels has topped 20. That’s a lot of unique beers to brew in just over a year (at time of writing…)