At a time when our culture lives, sleeps and breathes irony, it takes a lot to capture people’s attention with a winking, knowing smile. But hats off to Durham Brand & Co. who did it brilliantly with their packaging and labeling for Braxton Brewing Co.’s Yesterday’s Headlines Vol. 02 Cherry Kettle-Soured Ale.
To start with, you’ve gotta love that name. The phrase, usually reserved for things (and people) deemed no longer relevant, here has a double meaning. First it refers to the beer that Braxton brewed over the previous year; it’s also an allusion to the stories printed on the paper in which each bottle is wrapped.
First printer Steinhauser used vintage wooden type blocks to hand stamp the brand on the labels. This was then scanned into the computer and offset printed onto Wausau Coated’s Ever Opaque Bright White Felt pressure-sensitive labels. The result is gritty, grungy, and completely compelling – a garage band concert poster run through the prism of designers with a flair for making type sing. The cherry red on the words “Headlines” and “Cherry” supply the extra little twist that kicks the label up from good to great. Bonus points for commemorating the date of the beer’s second anniversary blow-out on the label itself without marring the aesthetic in the slightest.
The label done, press releases and other copy – including news about the second anniversary celebration – were gathered together and screen printed onto newsprint, which was then hand-wrapped around each bottle, the Braxton logo always front, center, and resting at a jaunty angle. In an age when newsprint is known primarily for being that stuff that gets blown around your local subway station, it’s really eye-opening to see how good it can actually look when the professionals get to work.