Unraveled:

THE DESIGN JOURNEY OF A KICK-ASS BEER CAN

This is a recent project we completed for a great local brewery near our home base here in Fort Worth, TX. Parker County Brewing Co. has a proud heritage as the first brewery to open its doors in the county since 1879. They consistently create award-winning brews and year after year prove that their small-town brewery can hang with the big city boys.

One of the ways patrons can bring beer home from the brewery is in fillable and machine-sealable beer cans, “Cowboy Cans” as they like to call them. Parker County Brewing Co. had been using the same can design since 2017, and it was time for a major upgrade.

We thought this would be a great opportunity to give you a peek into what goes on behind the scenes of our design process!

 Here is the original can design:

When doing any redesign project, our first step is to pick apart the original design and identify what is and isn’t working. For this project we found that the text was difficult to read, the copy was prolix while leaving much to be desired, and the mixed fonts muddied the branding and dulled the design quality.

 

One of the first questions we asked as we approached this project was, ‘do we want to keep calling it a Cowboy Can?’ Did that title need to take up real estate in the design? We dipped our toes into this project with these first iterations that still included the original title.

We wanted to throw out a few significantly different styles for this design to see what resonated with the client’s desires and the brand as a whole. Once these iterations were in front of us, we realized that the name ‘Cowboy Can’ dictated a certain design style and concept direction that we didn’t want to go in.

We decided the modified hops and wheat pinstripe was the strongest design of the three. Putting these two ideas together we created a second iteration using only the brewery name and created a grayscale and a color version.

In addition to leaning into the brewery name only, we wanted to entertain the idea of renaming the can and incorporating visual elements to reflect the new name. Here is a sampling of the directions we explored:

Version 1: The Oilcan

Version 2: The Tankard

Version 3: The Bootleg Bucket

While all of these designs were fun, we didn’t feel as if they achieved the classic, evergreen design that we needed. If we had been designing a can for a single, specific brew, a more stylized/dialed-in concept piece would be the strongest offering. 

 

As a can that would be used for multiple styles of beer – we needed something that could be more universally implemented. 

 

Our next iterations featured different adaptations of the brewery logos.

The Courthouse Logo:

The Text Logo:

Ultimately, on the path to our final design, we fully executed 22 separate concepts.

Let us proudly introduce you to the new Parker County Brewing Co. can design:

We’ve paid homage to their historic roots with the font choice and ornamental pinstriping as well as the clean black and cream color palette that lends it a classic feel. By cutting down the copy on the can, we were able to increase its readability and implement the use of negative space to balance the design.

 

All in all, we’re proud of the team who worked on this project and the fantastic job they did exploring concepts and narrowing down designs to find the iteration that encapsulates the small-town feel and big-city clout of this brewery. Cheers!

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