With the name figured out, and the art direction in place, we headed into the brand identity design process. This is the point where the rubber meets the road, pretense is cast aside and we make the pretty stuff that most of you are probably here to see.
Using their mood board as our guide, we developed two initial directions:
The first was a hand-rendered cursive logotype, evocative of an old sign you’d see in a Nora storefront. It included lots of texture, pops of color and fun messaging. “Big Lug Canteen. Decent.”
The second direction was clean and contemporary, a bit goofy and non-pretentious, featuring custom-made typography astride a simple canteen icon (groundbreaking stuff here, people). This extended to a fun icon system, including Scott’s face, and alternate builds for house beers and various menu items.
After a lengthy conversation, the canteen-driven direction was the clear winner. I’ll fast forward a bit here and say that over the next several months, we finished up Big Lug’s modular identity system, copywriting, print menu system, drinkware, merch, tap handles, keg collars, festival kit and fully responsive, menu-forward website. Further, we were able to carve out a few areas in the space to create what is perhaps the finest bearded baby cupid + beer eagles + hot dogs + burger mural in the entire world of Nora.
And while all of these touchpoints are important, the real star of Big Lug is the space itself. George Small (Eddie’s architect) took our branding package and knocked the exterior and interior buildout out of the park. Bright, contemporary exterior color pairings, enormous plasma-cut slabs of steel, exposed I-beams, dazzling pendant lights, large windows looking into the brewery, and an upstairs patio overlooking the Monon bike trail (complete with views of misguided people who waste time on things like diet and exercise) make it one of the most remarkable spots in Indianapolis.
The reception has been resoundingly positive so far, and I bet it will only get better with time. Nora loves it, beer geeks tolerate it, and you’ll love it too. Go now. Grab a Kristofferson Pale Ale and some wings. And don’t overthink it.
This column was provided by the folks at CODO Design, a five-man branding firm based in Indianapolis, IN. They’ve spent years working with startup craft breweries on naming, branding and positioning, responsive web design, and package design. They’ve gathered their experience into a comprehensive Craft Beer Branding Guide to help startup breweries navigate the entire branding process. Check it out at www.craftbeerbrandingguide.com.