Package Design - March 2012 - (Page 20)

RecaptuRed Flying Dog Brewery’s refreshed packaging celebrates the chaotic beauty of character-art illustrations restored to their original fearlessness. By Linda Casey Passion hen a brand claims a mountain-climbing physics professor (George Stranahan), a renowned political cartoonist and caricaturist (Ralph Steadman) and the father of Gonzo journalism (Hunter S. Thompson) as its virtual godfathers, it better have a bold approach to package design. That’s exactly what Flying Dog Brewery’s (Frederick, MD) creative director Adam McGinnis returned to the brand when he redesigned its packaging. The beer brand has continually refined its packaging and artwork over the past 20 years. A series of continuous package-design improvements can be a great practice for brands. But in Flying Dog’s case, the package-design changes were taking the brand away from its fearless, counterculture persona. These changes were especially evident in the package’s primary graphic element—character art handdrawn by Steadman. “For a huge Ralph Steadman fan like me, I felt we were doing his artwork a bit of a disservice,” McGinnis says. Much of the character art had become victim to such Photoshop sins as poor image cropping and improper resizing. And unlike modern image collections, where wiping clean design transgressions can be as simple as pulling up a master file from a digital asset-management system, Flying Dog’s 20 march 2012 W two-decade-old artwork collection was fractured— including physical prints and digital files scattered across CDs, DVDs and external hard drives. McGinnis combed through all of these files to create a central collection of originals. He then used high-resolution photography, like a museum archivist would, to zoom in on minute details in each piece of artwork. This information helped McGinnis create new digital masters with fully restored artwork. Building intrigue The freshly restored artwork receives more prominence in Flying Dog’s new visual hierarchy. McGinnis says that previous package designs tried to do too much on the beer label’s front panel. “Our label does wrap all the way around the bottle, but only 2 or 3 in. are visible from the front,” he explains. “Everybody was so worried about fitting all the printed information, such as the beer name, the style name and the logo. My opinion is that if you’re going to get this great artist to do bottle art for us, all you should see from the front angle is the Flying Dog logo and the character art.” This works in part, he says, because Flying Dog’s beer hits a different target market from

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Package Design - March 2012

Package Design - March 2012
Editor’s Letter
Front Panel
Designer’s Corner
Sustainably Speaking
Recaptured Passion
The Charms of Color
Beyond the Morning After
Look, Listen, Create
Product Focus: Flexible Packaging
On Packagedesign
Index of Advertisers

Package Design - March 2012