Bold Rebrand, Sweet Collaborations

On a mission to revolutionize the quality of beer at live music venues and events, Signature Brew makes and sells music-inspired craft beers from its own taproom and music venue in East London, while its core beer range—Roadie, Studio Pilsner, Backstage IPA and Nightliner—is available at bars, venues and festivals across the UK. In addition to creating its own range of craft beers, Signature Brew is empowering bands to extend their art with band collaboration beers. To date, Signature Brew has collaborated with nearly two dozen musical artists including Mastodon, alt J, Mogwai, Slaves, Tigercub, Rodney P, Frank Turner, The Skints, Millencolin and Enter Shikari.

Sam McGregor, founding director at Signature Brew, notes, “My background is in the music industry, so we have always collaborated with bands since the very beginning of Signature Brew. I believe the first 10 beers we made were collaboration beers.”

Founded by McGregor and Tom Bott in 2011, Signature Brew was born to unify live music and great beer. McGregor adds, “Live music should be a powerful and unique experience and deserves a beer made with the same dedication. We needed our brand identity to proudly encompass the fact that Signature Brew captures the art and passion of live music. These are beers that live up to the experience of seeing your favorite artists play live.”

B&B studio delivered that proud brand identity by creating a new, confident visual identity system for Signature Brew that captures the same craft, spirit and energy as the live music its beers are created to accompany. Balancing the fixed with the flexible, the new design empowers Signature Brew with the creative freedom it needs to thrive.

The new design system allows the brand to maintain the creative independence it needs when collaborating with numerous artists, all of whom have their own unique brands. Signature Brew’s new identity uses fixed typography as an identifying logo mark set against an eclectic graphic background. The graphics, illustrated in-house, are inspired by the multi-sensorial experience of great live music, and also the eclecticism and vibrancy of graphics found when searching through vinyl covers. 

Claudia Morris, creative director at B&B, explains, “The redesign has a sort of energy and confidence to it. The design is contemporary; it’s not fussy; and it has a solid presence. The way the design is typeset gives the visual branding a bit of quirk and own-ability, which is very important.”

Shaun Bowen, creative partner at B&B, says: “The new branding for Signature Brew celebrates the diverse creativity of this music lifestyle beer, while bringing an order that actually sets the brand free. Signature Brew needed a bold brand identity to elevate its core range, whilst empowering it with the freedom to curate the unique brilliance of the individual artists it brews with.”

This freedom is an unusual requirement because most beverage brands don’t partner to the same degree that Signature Brew does with bands on both the product development and the marketing materials. Morris adds, “Signature Brew collaborates with all sorts of artists and bands, so we had to give them the freedom to be quite eclectic and spontaneous in those collaborations.

“One way we delivered this freedom and still ensured brand consistency was to create a kind of sticker device as a core visual branding element,” she explains. “Because the logo lockup acts as a unit, it could be added to nearly any type of design and still work as a distinctively Signature Brew branding element. This way, future collaborations between Signature Brew and the bands would feel cohesive.”

McGregor reports the design has already proven itself with a collaboration named Krfsht. “To celebrate Idles’ biggest ever headline gig, which was for somewhere around 9,000 people, we created Krfsht,” McGregor explains. “I was a little concerned about the name because the word has no vowels in it, but the band’s frontman, Joe Talbot, liked that the word was basically a sound—the sound of a can opening. I have to say that the name works really well! And we were able to use our new brewery’s branding in the can design, which was combined with a design done by the Idles’ singer. The resulting design is unique, and it represents both the band and our brand well.”