Some Thoughts on the Current State of Beer Design

Budweiser Can Redesigns

Miller High Life Rebrand

Earlier today, Under Consideration posted a new rebrand for Budweiser, certainly one of the most popular beers in America and product of one of the largest corporations. The rebrand, in my opinion, seems like a lot of hard work for a rather uncomfortable looking can.

The first thing that seems really weird to me is that the rebrand was done by JKR, which is a London based design group. For a beer that’s German in nature, but is advertised as America’s favorite beer, having a bunch of British designers handle the rebrand seems odd to me. There are plenty of talented designers here in America, for example, Aaron Draplin bringing a clean edged look to a classically busy beer can?

As for the rebrand, the bow tie, as Armin Vit put it so well, is now the main symbol for the brand. But this bow is so, completely awkward looking, I can’t imagine why this was chosen to define them. I should clarify, because it’s not only a bow, it’s an overly busy script that’s layered on top of a bow, peaking over the edges. It’s not the logo isn’t well crafted, because the details in the design are really impressive, but I have no idea who they’re trying to market to. The only thing I can think of is that the bow is fast looking, perhaps reminiscent of NASCAR? This isn’t a great guess, but it’s the only one I’ve got.

Generic Beer Cans

When I think of beer rebrands though, one of the most successful one of the last few years is Miller’s High Life rebrand, which in my opinion was perfect. They took the essence of the brand and breathed new life into it. When I look at the Budweiser rebrand I see too much noise and a whole lot of red.

Then I see something like the generic beer cans above, which are from the collection of Mary & Matt as seen over on Sight Unseen. These were seen in the classic movie Repo Man, starring Emilio Estevez. They make me think of the simplicity of packaging, which is why I thought I’d take a crack at simplifying the can, as you can see at top. The rebrand is on the left, mine is on the right. Is it better? Not really, but it shows you how much clutter there is on the can. Plus having your logo sideways seems so weird to me.

These thoughts mostly pertain to large beer manufacturers and don’t even begin to touch about indie breweries, a lot of whom do a great job with their branding. The thing is, you don’t see indie brewing company logos plastered on ads and in convenience stores, you see major corporations logos. Who knows, perhaps this rebrand will turn out to be a success for Anheiser Busch?


August 5, 2011 / By