Austin Beerworks: Helms Workshop

Curator: Ryan Feerer
date: February 13, 2012
Categories: Advertising, Packaging Design, Typography
Tags: Austin, Austin Beerworks, awesome, beer, christian helms, helms workshop, Packaging
The Austin Beerworks can mockups (Design by Christian Helms and copywriting by Christian Helms and Mike Woolf)

To me, beer label design is a coveted job in the creative industry. You would think that a job so exciting would warrant only the most beautiful designs. However, if you’ve walked into your neighborhood Whole Foods or craft beer store, you’ll discover a wide range of lackluster design. Inconsistency from label to label and from can to can, the designs fail to live up to the brew inside. There are a few exceptions, of course. 

The creative genius, Milton Glaser, and his iconic Brooklyn Brewery designs are pretty consistent throughout. With the original Brooklyn Dodgers “B” suited in various colors and patterns, there is no mistaking whose brew you’re looking at. The good ole Texas folk over at the Helms Workshop are consistently creating amazing things too, especially on the brew-front. They’re responsible for one of the most simple and beautifully designed beer cans, which happen to belong to Austin Beerworks.

Christian Helms, of the Helms Workshop, took a really simple approach to creating the Austin Beerworks brand. Going back to the idea of “less is more,” they let the power of the logo-mark and colors do the talking with a beautifully beveled white-and-sunset-red “A” popping out from a golden drop of beer. Right below the “A” sits a star, no doubt a representation of the wonderful state of Texas. Across different brew styles, the color palette is a perfect complement to the design. On the shelves, each can next to each other creates a beautiful pattern of color and logo. They make it impossible not to appreciate the thought put into the design system. All of the design elements are craftily constructed and are as bold, crisp and lively as the beer itself. In a world of overworked beer labels, the fresh design of Austin Beerworks really outshines the competition.

Besides the minimalist approach to visuals, the style-naming is quite edgy and fun. Their brew styles—Fire Eagle American IPA, Black Thunder German Style Schwarz, Pearl-Snap German-Style Pils and Peacemaker Extra Pale Ale—all sound like something I want to enjoy. It’s a refreshing take on the stale, generic naming of most brews, i.e. American Pilsner.

A shot of a sixer (Photo by Andrew Yates)

An Austin Beerworks ad (Design by Christian Helms and copywriting by Christian Helms and Mike Woolf)

This particular beer definitely lives up to the design of the can, or should I say the design lives up to the beer? It seems like Austin Beerworks is having a hard time keeping these things on the shelves, and I’m sure the combination of both the brew and design is to blame. If you come across one of Austin Beerworks’ brews, make sure you treat yourself to a sixer. Even if you’re not a drinker, these cans will most definitely make your fridge (and you) look much cooler. You won’t regret it.

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