Snapshots: July 2015 Issue

Twisted Tale

Fantastical visual narrative seduces shoppers to retry amber ale.

Driftwood Brewery of Victoria, BC, Canada, empowered Hired Guns Creative
( to turn up the strange to remind consumers of this session beer. The craft brewer knew the packaging would need to be dramatic to turnaround the varietal’s downward sales trajectory.

“The main goal with this project was to redesign the packaging for a beer that wasn’t selling very well, despite the actual beer being quite good,” says Leif Miltenberger, partner and business director at Hired Guns Creative.

The agency collaborated with photographer Sean Fenzl ( to create “a misshapen island scene” where the inhabitants have twisted together German noble hops and Munich malt.

“We believe that the intense new label design will catch the consumer’s eye and convince them to give this beer that they’ve forgotten about another try,” Miltenberger remarks. “We’re not sure if it does yet, as the redesigned labels are just hitting the market [early July].”


In Pursuit of the Night

Premium Carlsberg sub-brand captures the mysterious excitement of evenings out.

Carlsberg NOX, a premium Carlsberg sub-brand for night-life drinking that has launched first in Poland, aims to create an exciting aspirational story of nighttime pursuit. Design collective Safari Sundays ( created the packaging, naming and visual identity for the brand, which aims to deliver a new look and feel for the Carlsberg brand through an abstract, Nordic-styled name and sleek constellation inspired graphics. The visual story is meant to be an intense journey, full of anticipation, towards Carlsberg’s iconic ‘north star’ hop leaf, with a brand message that the beer is mysterious and enticing, implying that wherever the evening goes, it will head in the right direction. The senior designer for the project was Matthew Smiroldo, working under managing director Cynthia Davies and creative director Adam Walko. The chief creative officer was Damon Gorrie.


Complex Character

Geometric shapes convey the intricate flavors of beer alternative.

Made with direct-sourced, hand-picked Chinese teas from small family farms with rare botanicals and tropical juices, Prohibition Kombucha is a long-fermented beverage that aims to deliver a crisp, complex and refreshing taste that reflects the mountains, forests, soils and waters where the teas are grown. Each flavor is carefully crafted to amplify the tea’s identity and seasonality.

“Originally home-brewed by owner and polymath, Nate Uri, as a mixable alternative to alcohol during a brief ‘prohibitionary’ stint of his own, Prohibition is clean, bright, and delicious,” says Dan Ibarra of Aesthetic Apparatus (, which did the brand and package design. “Early creative direction for the brand suggested looking to liquor as the competition, as opposed to the wellness aisle. It’s not called Prohibition for the non-alcoholic healthiness of the drink, but for the raw, decadent and resourceful underbelly that prohibition breeds. The packaging is a blend of prohibition-era American modernism, 19th century French libertinism, Chinese name seals, and pre-Castro bottles of rum. It’s more of a guilty pleasure than a responsibility.”


Sweet Shots

Colorful paperboard sleeves make cocktail-inspired shots both familiar and novel.

Developed to be the world’s first craft cocktail-inspired artisan jelly shot, Ludlows Jelly Shots had a unique selling proposition and needed packaging that would distinguish it from the traditional brightly colored, artificial Jell-O shots popular with young adults.

“Being a new product and a new category, goal No. 1 was to tell people what the product is and how to use it,” says Adam Padilla, CEO and co-founder of BrandFire (, which developed the visual brand identity. “The hexagonal sleeve is unique in profile as well as functionality, as both front and back panels have vertical cut outs to view the product.”

Padilla explains that the packaging’s window familiarizes the consumer with the product while allowing the aesthetics of the jelly shot to serve as a color accent.

The product name and flavor names are prominent on the package, while black bands at the top and bottom of the package convey important information about how to enjoy the jelly shots and the product type.

The sleeves’ hexagon shape allows the package to be stocked upright or lay flat and stacked. “The vertical orientation allows the package to ship and disagree just as a bottle or can would, and fits neatly in a refrigeration unit or a POP counter top,” Padilla notes. “While the contrasting colors of the panels provide a great color pop, which increases visibility and helps shelf pull.”

Vintage woodcut-style graphics add a distinctive element to the package design, and the foil lids carry the most important product information, ensuring that consumers are educated about the brand even if they aren’t the purchaser and are handed one at a party or event.


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