Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Brand development, accelerated

Marketers like to wax philosophic about the value of doing the difficult, but necessary work of understanding the audience, defining the brand characteristics, messages, etc. before ever associating an image with a product. In the often compressed time frames of product development and product launch, one has to work quickly. Or, there are times when the right image just plain suits the product and there is no reason to slow down.

A close friend and nationally published illustrator, Bill Cigliano, provides illustration to publishers and advertisers seeking a unique visual perspective. In the case of beverage packaging, existing and commissioned work has brought impact to craft beer brands.

"On Hop-Ocalypse, my art is used on that one specific brew and that happened because I had an existing painting of an atomic bomb mushroom cloud that appealed to them. I think it’s a really distinctive label and package, quite attractive and I like being part of that," Bill said. The client, Clay Pipe Brewing Co in western Maryland, serves a small, but growing market in and around the Chesapeake Bay area.

Hop-Ocalypse and its visual identity occupy that place where a striking image provides exactly the right emotion for the product. In this case, the product name and the illustration have obvious connections. The image, already in the artist's portfolio, found another life with beer, a happy marriage.

For the Captain Lawrence brand, Cigliano created an enhanced image that could be carried across an entire product line. This approach, common visual identity across products and packages, enables the brand, regardless of the product, to be easily identifiable to the consumer. (The exception in this product line is their Belgian-style summer ale.)
In these cases, exciting imagery matched marketing expectations. The many questions appropriate to brand and product development were answered, perhaps intuitively, before the images were selected or commissioned. Regardless, they work for their respective owner/brewers and contribute to the interesting body of work in brewing and beer art.