Brooklyn Brewery bottles are a mainstay in the aisles of any self-respecting liquor joint. Its classic, retro script logo was originally crafted by the artist behind the “I Love NY” design, Milton Glaser.
With this in mind, Brooklyn Brewery’s design legacy expands well beyond the average lager. As beer labels become more visually ambitious, the beloved brew is keeping up with the pace by adjusting their stylistic language. The brand’s exuberant, holistic new system by Leeds’ Robot Food adds an extra dose of style to cans, bottles, boxes, beer taps, glasses, and more.
In a booming industry dominated by funky graphics and illustration styles, Robot Food was keen on giving Brooklyn Brewery a look that stood out from the pack. But as a legacy brand with loyal drinkers in tow, the brief also called for honoring recognizable elements of the brand and its history.
“This was a great opportunity to treat a brand with ultimate respect, where we’re not trying to change anything, we’re just trying to enhance what has grown over time,” says Robot Food creative director Ben Brears in a press release. “It’s not about making it more mainstream or palatable, it’s about building on the Brooklyn group’s powerful brand and creating even stronger visual recognition. You’ve got to treat the ‘B’ icon with respect: it’s a globally recognised symbol.”
As such, Glaser’s iconic ‘B’ remains untouched. Meanwhile, typographer Rob Clarke helped the team make subtle tweaks to the logo’s surrounding type to better fit the circular shape.
“We’ve not changed the feel of it, just the legibility and impact,” says Simon Forster, Robot Food founder and executive creative director. “The clarity makes everything sing, and you end up with a more impactful, more consistent suite of brand assets that’s still proudly and recognisably Brooklyn Brewery, but with wiggle room to have fun.”
Before the redesign, inconsistent packaging formats and logo variations ran rampant and muddied the brand. As the Brooklyn Brewery range expanded over time, visual uniformity fell by the wayside. “This was creating a huge commercial barrier to sales, so it was our ambition from the start to create a united identity where all brand communications sing off the same hymn sheet,” says Robot Food managing director Dave Timothy.
The resulting brand system is stripped down and more legible, while also incorporating punchy individual flair across the range. “Improving a classic with respectfulness is the pinnacle of design to me,” says Forster. “It’s all too easy to fuck up an icon.”