Featured brewer: Jane Frances le Blond, Mothership

A few decades ago, you couldn’t move for scantily clad women adorning pumpclips and bottles, yet today there’s – probably unsurprisingly – very little female imagery featured in beer design. Then we found Mothership, who’ve subverted old sexist tropes by featuring incredible, powerful, game-changing women in their branding. This is a brewery with inclusivity right at its heart. We caught up with founder Jane Frances le Blond to find out more.

What’s the story behind your design?: “Our overall design ethos is to be inclusive. We aim not to alienate anyone with our designs but to delight as broad an audience as possible. Our special “Extraordinary Women” series – featuring illustrations of women who have led inspirational lives – aims to be eye-catching and educational, introducing people to these women and telling them about their lives.

Talk us through the women featured on the specials range: “The women we choose to feature are women who are not hugely well known, but have done amazing things with their life. The aim is to give them a bit of exposure and share a story that might not otherwise be shared. We’ve shared/have plans to share the lives and achievements of women of a wide range of ages and races, we have women from a range of sexualities and women who have lived with disabilities. This is an ongoing series and diversity is the priority for us. Codebreaker, for example, our New England Double IPA is dedicated to Joan Clarke, a little known cryptanalyst whose work in WW2 in cracking the Enigma Code saved countless lives. Seeds of Hope, our peach pale ale, featured Wangari Maathai, the first female African Nobel Peace Prize winner, environmental and women’s rights activist and founder of the Green Belt Movement which has planted over 51 million trees in Kenya.” 

How do you work with the illustrator / designer etc?
“I do all the design for Mothership, as my background is in branding and design. We work with two illustrators – all core range can illustrations are by Atelier Bingo (https://atelier-bingo.fr), an amazing French illustration duo, and our “Extraordinary Women” illustrations are by the amazing Erin Aniker (https://www.erinaniker.com/About-Contact) who is a hugely inspirational illustrator who does lots of work for women and minority ethnic groups.” 

Who else’s design do you admire? “As a designer, one of the things that enhances my experience of drinking beer is beer can design. A bit like records and record sleeves, I enjoy drinking a beer and looking at the can design. I love the illustrations on the Wild Card cans, they’re beautiful, surreal and they draw you in, I can get really lost in them (the beer is outstanding too). I also think Duration do a great job with their cans, their photography is really nice too, and they do some brilliant promo videos – there was one recently where they really brought the can to life by animating a flare in the design (https://fb.watch/3IFH76sse-/). I also really love the Canopy designs – they’re such fun, as beer should be!”

Apart from your own beers, whose are you currently enjoying? “I have my hands pretty full with 3 children aged five and under in lockdown and so perusing beers is fairly low down on my priority list. Instead, I subscribe to the fantastic Hop Burns & Black Sub Club who I trust to send me a case of the best beers of the month each month. Last month’s highlight was definitely a Drop Project West Coast IPA.”

What’s your most listened-to album of 2020?
“I think I listened to more playlists and podcasts in 2020 than albums. Currently enjoying the Josh Widdicombe and Rob Beckett Lockdown Parenting Podcast. 6 Music is almost always on in our house, and if it’s not that it’s a Hey Duggee song or something like that!”

Reading / watching anything interesting? “Things I’ve enjoyed recently are The Queen’s Gambit, Industry, currently watching Back on All4, enjoying the new series of First Dates (shhhh!). Mostly easy watching stuff as life is pretty hard, I don’t need to be challenged by TV too! Roll on the new series of Gogglebox starting soon! Currently reading The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey which I’m really enjoying – a very surreal story of a mermaid caught on a Caribbean island who turns back to a woman from the past when brought onto land, all written beautifully in a gentle rolling Caribbean dialect.” 

What are you looking forward to in 2021?: “Getting my children back to school/nursery. Having a moment to myself. Going somewhere that is not my immediate vicinity. Seeing my wider family. Not feeling totally overwhelmed by all aspects of my life. One or some of the above would be nice!”

Cats or dogs? “I have 2 cats so I’d have to say cats but I do also like dogs if that’s allowed…?!” 

Oh go on then. Just this once.

To find out more about Mothership please check them out here:

Webshop: https://www.mothership.beer/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mothership_beer

Instagram: www.instagram.com/mothership.beer

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mothership.beer/

Featured artist: Szabotage, Gweilo

Featuring our first design (not the last) who didn’t make it into the book, we were intrigued by the story of a new brand, Gweilo, who are launching into the UK as we write. They commissioned Hong Kong-based Szabotage (Gustav Szabo), whose reputation as a street artist has seen him work alongside global brands as well as branch out to giving TED talks and holding sold-out exhibitions of his art. Obviously, we wanted to know more…

So what’s your design background? “I grew up in Brighton and Hove, and moved to London to study architecture.  I then went on to work as a designer, with great names such as Philippe Starck and Steve Leung.  Whilst in the UK I had a few shows and some success as an artist but it wasn’t until I moved to Hong Kong in 2013 that I was able to become really involved with the art scene. 

I’m now a full time artist and have exhibited internationally, with sold out exhibitions, solo shows, and numerous collaborative projects, private and commercial commissions, including Louis Vuitton, Prada, Ritz Carlton, Jaeger Lecoultre and Evisu.

What are your influences as an artist / designer? “Although I’m born and bred in the UK, Hong Kong has been my home for the past few years, and I’m greatly influenced by the city and its culture. The artistic heritage of Hong Kong is everywhere and bears its own traditions, intersection and contradictions.  The blending of Chinese and Western cultures – forming the city’s unique diverse temperament and cultural landscape – has formed and heavily influenced my art.  My work has absorbed local and international complexities and the various dualities influences my art whiles retaining its own edge.

I gather visual references, sketch and recreate something that is typically ‘Hong Kong’ and turn them into stencils.  These icons are then spray painted in layers which creates a story or journey for the viewer.”

Tell us about your work with Gweilo. “The project was all about telling the Gweilo story, which actually shared a lot of similairties to my own journey in Hong Kong. I related to their historic moments and really enjoyed the imagery that it conjured up. I used my style of layering over 50 intricate hand cut stencils to create the final artwork over three canvases. 

Another great thing that came out of the whole project was becoming mates, we share a lot of passions including all being total car nuts (see picture of my Renault Clio V6 below). There was a lot time spent together and it was a collaboration, working together and having some great banter.

Apart from your own, which is your favourite beer design and why? “Craft beer seems to have brought out unique and bold artistic design – there are some amazing ones out there.  I really like the Broaden & Build Jaunty Amarillo IPA which has a street art graffiti text in old Skool style. 

When you knock off on a Friday (or whenever), what’s your go to beer? “Would it be too obvious to say Gweilo? I love their Session IPA – open a couple of those and boom it’s the weekend!”

What’s your favourite bar? “I’m always drawn to a bar with a great view.  New York is amazing for their rooftop bars – the Hudson Bar at the Hudson Hotel was very memorable .  The Groucho Bar in London or Soho House in Berlin are also top of the list.  I do miss a good British pub for a Sunday roast, pint and a log fire.  Here in Hong Kong I love hanging in Wagyu on Wyndham street, Central.  It was a great after work spot that spilled out onto the street.”

Favourite bar snack? “You can’t go wrong with fries or some cheese and onion crisps.”

What have you been listening to recently?One World Radio Daybreak sessions or Coccolino Deep. Got to love the rave!”

Are you reading / watching anything interesting? “When I have time to watch anything it’s usually car vloggers or parkour videos on YouTube.”

What are you looking forward to in 2021? “I’m really looking forward to the return of spontaneity.  Hopefully we get to see family and friends in the UK that we’ve been apart from for far too long due to the pandemic.”

Cats or dogs? “Cats. As for dogs? Well I have two small kids and that’s hard enough.”

Cheers to that!

To find out more about Gweilo beers, click here and follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

Szabotage can be found at:




Featured brand: Harvey’s. We wunt be druv.

We didn’t need the Anchor rebranding fiasco to tell us what we already knew. Rebranding a beloved beer brand is much tougher than setting up a brewery and creating a brand from scratch. When even your current yeast is older than Beavertown, Brewdog, Camden Town and a few more of the bigger players put together, you have to dig deep to ensure that the next generation of drinkers find you relevant. Harvey’s, founded in 1790, was brewing nothing but cask when it embarked on a rebrand that gave the much-loved yet slightly dusty brand a huge shot in the arm. We asked sales & marketing manager Bob Trimm to talk us through their approach. Given Anchor’s abject lesson last week in how to screw up a re-design, we might give them his number.

What was the Harvey’s brand like before the rebrand? “We had a number of issues with the brand architecture, for one thing. Different parts of the business had ‘had a go’ over the years so we had about 5 versions of the logo, some introduced in the 50s, some in the 70s and some in the 90s.

Our Lewes Castle Brown Ale, for example, had won 2 world medals but didn’t even have the Harvey’s name on the bottle. Several of our products had different imagery between the same product in cask and bottle.

“And although we’ve always seen ourselves as a premium product, it wasn’t reflected in our design. Also, to be brutally honest, we had a strong following and staunch fans but we were seen as old fashioned amongst younger drinkers. People who didn’t know us well assumed that the sepia illustration of the brewery in our logo was how the brewery looked in 1790 and was now a museum rather than the actual brewery.”

So what was the brief? “To introduce a singular company logo and a brand hierarchy that could underpin the evolution of the brewery and the product range, and to emphasise the provenance, heritage and quality of our beers and our business. We initially approached 8 agencies – 4 turned up to the meeting with redesigned logos so we knew they weren’t the ones for us. Two agencies wanted to turn us into Beavertown which would have been a disaster. We finally selected WPA Pinfold as their collaborative approach and the thorough, strategic process felt appropriate for the task in hand.”

What was the rebrand process like? “We wanted as many people as possible to be involved in the redesign – there’s nothing worse than unveiling a new look only for people to hate it. A group of 10 directors, marketing, sales, retail, brewing and pub estate people were involved, We had fascinating discussions about what the Harvey’s brand meant to them – we brainstormed, had creative sessions and really opened up discussions, Only then did the agency start work on the concept. They came back with 4 design routes, none of which we’d have rejected out of hand. We decided on one route for the core range, with elements of another that allowed some flexibility for our seasonal beers and the introduction of our can and keg range.

“For the seasonal range, we actually had a draw-off between a Leeds-based artist that the agency suggested, and a local artist (Malcolm Trollope-Davis) who was born and bred in Sussex. They did 5 designs each for our seasonal beers, and as soon as we saw them, we all agreed that the local artist had just captured something about the area that was right for us. The designs went straight from the sketchbook to the pumpclips.. For the cans, we commissioned an abstract painting from local artist Susan Lynch and used elements of that across the range.”

What’s been the payback from the rebrand? “Now we’re in cans and bottles, with a contemporary design that conveys our heritage and the quality of the product, we’re opening up new markets. We have keg and cans on all P&O cruises (when they get going again), in restaurants, we’re pouring on the British Airways i360 and more locally, we got tremendous feedback at Brighton & Hove Albion when as well as our cask ales, fans could see walls of our beer, from stout to IPA.

We’re intrigued by “We wunt be druv”! “It’s the unofficial county motto of Sussex and means ‘We will not be driven’ – reflecting the independence, spirit and pride that’s at the heart of everything. It reflects a stubbornness and strength that we aspire to, particularly in regard to our independence. Harvey’s is currently run by the seventh generation of the family, with two members of the eighth generation working here, the ethos being that they are custodians of the business which they hold in perpetuity for future generations. You might see other brewers our size succumbing to takeovers, but Harvey’s will remain a family business.”

A couple of questions we’ve asked everyone else. Your own design aside, who do you admire? “Chiltern Brewery. You can go into a pub on a busy Friday night, look at 6 handpulls and have no idea what sort of beers they are. Chiltern has created a very clever design that makes everything evident, down to the colour of the beer.”

Apart from Harvey’s, what’s your Friday evening tipple? “I’m a traditionalist and a lover of stouts. My current favourites are Wild Beer Co’s Millionaire, Wiper & True and Bristol Beer Factory.

What have you been listening to during lockdown?Jack Savoretti and I’ve been dipping back into Human League too.”

Reading anything interesting? “I’m half way through Ken Follett’s Eye of the Needle – it’s my first Follett and I’m enjoying it.”

Cats or dogs? “I’d better say cats as I’ve got one.”

Indeed Bob, you better had. Tiger by name, tiger by nature.

For more information please check out:


WPA Pinfold

Featured designer: Tom Moore, New Bristol Brewery.

We love a gorilla in a spacesuit as much as the next person, so when we saw the New Bristol Brewery range of beer cans we inevitably wanted to know more. Freelance designer – and gorilla-wrangler – Tom Moore talks about some of his design influences and how he’s helped the brewery’s founders Maria and Noel James extend the famous Alfred’s journeys to bring the brand to life.

Hi Tom, first things first – what’s your background as a designer? “I have studied art & design since secondary school, specialising in theatre design at university. Since then I have worked as a freelancer alongside artworking or assisting for various art, design and print companies near to Bristol. 

What are your design influences? “I’m influenced by so much that I see around me. Instagram has been a huge part of that in recent times as well. Mainly, I’m attracted to bold colours, strong contrast and good composition. You can find great examples of that in the beer world with the likes of Drop Project, Masquerade Brewing, Unbarred Brewery etc… but also with amazing artists like Sean Lenn, Muskerton, Helyn Gulley, APOLAR and Micah Ulrich (to name a few). Music, film and nature also inspire me a lot and feed back into my artwork.” 

Can you fill us in on the gorilla on the cans before we go any further? “Well, Alfred was the very famous gorilla who was a resident at Bristol Zoo until his death after WWII and he remains a mascot of Bristol. New Bristol Brewery have taken them as their mascot in their own right, and it was Maria and Noel’s vision to send him to different locations on the beer cans. It’s been fun to get to know his character a little bit through designing; he can be a bit grumpy and prefers his solitary time I think. It’s been great to flesh out this character, with multiple dimensions… doing the details on his space suit was a designer’s dream! I’ve just done his “house” too, so that should be cool to see the reception to that.” 

Tell us a bit about your work for New Bristol Brewery. “I knew Noel and Maria a bit from when I worked at another local Bristol brewery, but we’ve really grown a lot closer through working on these cans together. I love them, they’re really great people with kind hearts and the passion and drive to make fantastic beers. I applied for the job via a Facebook ad they put out in late Spring 2020. The application included 4 designs, 2 of which got through to being actual labels. It’s like Alfred (the gorilla) is a sort of Mr Benn… visiting all these different worlds and places on his many adventures. The design process is fun, with Maria coming up with the ideas and me making them a reality. She has a great vision of what she wants for each beer can, and we share a lot of ideas and inspiration imagery before I start working on a new label. It’s been one of the most detailed and involved artistic projects I have ever been a part of and I’m really proud of the cans as a body of work. The best part is that I don’t have to pretend to like the beers, as they are all delicious!”

Apart from your own, which is your favourite beer design and why? “I really love Buxton Brewery‘s style. They’re striking, clear and distinctly Buxton. I like that they do these little series of beers which all share a design style. My favourites are probably King Slayer and King Maker – I love the colours and textures.” 

Apart from New Bristol, who’s your favourite brewery and why?Unity Brewery from Southampton. I’ve tried loads of their beers and never found one I don’t like. Great artwork too from Matt Canning.”

Favourite pub or bar? “It’s been a while since I’ve been to a pub or bar!!! Beer Emporium on King Street, Bristol is one of my favourites. An iconic part of the city for beer drinking, otherwise for a nice quiet country pint I’d choose The White Hart in Iron Acton, or the White Horse in Compton Bassett – I’m a country boy at heart.”

Favourite bar snack? “Dry roasted or chilli-coated peanuts.” 

What music are you currently listening to? “Loads of different stuff – lots that’s new for me. I’ve just got into James Acaster’s Perfect Sounds podcast and I’ve been picking up loads of recommendations from there. A few recent favs include Royal Swan by Phoxjaw, Prime by Arcing Wires and Everything Else Has Gone Wrong by Bombay Bicycle Club.

Are you reading anything interesting? “I’ve been listening to the Arc of a Scythe series of audiobooks by Neal Shusterman, while I’ve been designing. It is set in the far future, where death by natural causes has been virtually eliminated thanks to advances in technology, and an advanced computer system known as the “Thunderhead” controls society. The Thunderhead is a form of artificial intelligence who does not make mistakes or have regrets. However, the Thunderhead can communicate with others. The Scythedom is an organization separate from the Thunderhead tasked with deciding who must die, as overpopulation has remained a problem.”

What are you looking forward to in 2021? “More adventures with Alfred and New Bristol Brewery and some other projects I have been working on should be coming to fruition this year so I’m looking forward to seeing how they are received and how they grow and develop. Of course, I’m hoping for life to get a bit easier as regards the pandemic and I hope my family, friends and loved ones continue to be healthy and safe.”

Cats or dogs? “Dogs. Obviously!”

Obviously. Thanks, Tom!

Please follow Tom on Instagram @tommooredesign or connect with him via Facebook @tommooredesign.

Also please follow @newbristolbrewery on social and sample some of their delicious beers from their webshop.

Featured brewer: Dave Stone, Wylam Brewery

Dave Stone, head honcho at Wylam Brewery has lots of opinions, many of which we agree with (see above). For him, beer was a logical move from his previous career in the music industry, but once you’ve got music in your bones, there’s no getting away from it. As part of the research for Beer by Design, we asked for the story behind Searching For The Joys Again and he sent a YouTube link to a track by Shack (see below) and said ‘The lead singer was a massive smack head and it’s a song about searching for heroin on the streets of Kensington. The artwork depicts how people often bury their heads rather than seek joy.’ Which was so brilliant, we wanted to know more.  

Dave, music is integral to everything you brew. Can you explain? “Music certainly weaves a very important thread through our beers. Our head brewer Ben was in bands and put gigs on previously and I also came from music into beer. I used to put on festivals and co-owned a couple of nightclubs. Over a decade or so ago it became apparent that the internet was breaking the route to market for music. I have no problem with the technology in principle but unfortunately thanks to peer-to-peer sites such as Limewire and the like people were simply stealing music and in the process it was being devalued. So myself and my business partner had a wild night on the piss one night and thought about what we could do moving forward that we loved equally as much as music. Several pints in we managed to work out you can’t download beer from the internet and the rest as they say is history.”

How does this translate to the design of the cans? “It’s certainly an big influence, alongside what’s happening in the world… which is all a bit nuts at the moment isn’t it! A beer name like Searching For The Joys Again is inspired by the band Shack whereby Sleepwalking Into Dystopia is inspired by the current state of affairs. Tallboy cans are wonderful image carriers, there is space to express our ethos on the label alongside the liquid that is inside the can.”

What’s your overall design ethos? “We have some core brand guidelines which we predominantly stick to. The centre bar with the beer name and logo on is important. In a good independent beer shop these days the fridges are amass with bold, beautiful, vibrant designs and for us the centre bar is an important constant that identifies the beer as a Wylam Beer. Design is of course a mode of persuasion that attracts the potential purchaser and our design ethos is centred around the personality of the beer and the folk that brew it. We work closely with Sally Linsdell who is what would be referred to these days as a ‘digital nomad’. She’s from here in the North East but lives in Bali where she runs Real Eyes her design agency. There is a definite benefit to the fact that she’s so disconnected from the goings on here plus it’s not too shabby when I have to go to her office for a meeting.”

Any particular favourites? “Ah that’s a bit like asking me which of my children is my favourite (the answer to that by the way is neither as I prefer my dog hahaha). I couldn’t really pick one design out as it’s ever evolving. For me the real joy is in the finessing, where you start with an idea and a rough directional and then coax it on till the final proof marries up to what you had in your mind’s eye. Also, due to the fact that the modern beer drinker rarely wants to try the same beer twice (which for me is one of the biggest negatives in beer currently) we are releasing at least three never-to-be-repeated beers and corresponding designs a month so it’s the body of work that becomes favourite rather than each individual design.”

Apart from your own beers, whose are you currently enjoying? “For hop forward stuff the holy trinity of Deya, Verdant and Cloudwater always make their mark. The Kernel do things right on every level and there is a beautiful honesty to their beers. Burning Sky are true masters of their craft and never disappoint however it feels a bit unfair to just mention these breweries. Let’s face it there are so many brilliant UK independents out there right now that I could go on all day listing them. I feel that whilst the initial wave of excitement around modern beer may have peaked the standards in British Independent brewing is still going up. It’s a good time to drink beer regardless of all this pandemic bollocks.”

What’s your most listened-to album of 2020? “I think it’s a dead heat between ‘Untitled (Black Is)’ by Sault and ‘Rough and Rowdy Ways’ by Bob Dylan. Sault [Guardian review here by Alexis Petridis] are a must listen for those who haven’t found them yet and the new Dylan album is, in my opinion, the best thing he’s done for decades.”

What are you looking forward to in 2021? “That’s the simplest question to answer that you’ve asked me so far and can be answered in just two words… The Pub.”

We’re with you there. Cheers Dave.

Featured Designer: Harry Archer, Solvay Society

Solvay Society featured in the ‘typography’ section of Beer by Design because of the clever way the name of the beer uses a different typeface to suggest the character and personality of the beer inside. But there’s a lot more to the design story than that. We caught up with freelance designer Harry Archer to find out more.

So, Harry, where did you train? I studied art, design and media at 6th form college in Eastleigh then applied to do graphic design at Kingston University, much to the disappointment of my dad, who wanted me to accept my place at Central Saint Martin’s simply because it was mentioned in Common People by Pulp. Kingston was a super eye opening experience; there is a reason it’s the best in the country. Chatting to my college peers who ventured elsewhere, their courses lacked a lot of interest. Every day was a day full of random thoughts, interesting development and chatting about all things design. The first year was focused around idea generation, I ended my first week in front of my whole course in my boxers with my hands tied together (don’t ask). The second year was more commercial thinking about design and applying it correctly. Final year was bringing the lessons you learnt from the previous years, actively merging them together to have super exciting outcomes that communicated your idea succinctly. The course was very independent but the studio culture of working in a creative space was probably the most beneficial part. Bouncing ideas off of friends and watching people just do stuff was essential to growing as a graphic designer.

What are your design influences?
I have always had an interest in subtle design elements that have a real meaning behind why, the ‘why’ does need to be important. I spend quite a long time just asking myself ‘Why have I done this?’. One of my first influences was visual and sound artist Ryoji Ikeda, After seeing this type of design work I began to rein it in slightly; things can look awesome for the sake of being awesome. Other than that I am always finding more and more influences to my design practice through the endless scrolling on Instagram, I have discovered some really neat new studios who are killing it right now, like ilovedust, Studio Yukiko and Studio Blackburn

Tell us about your work for Solvay Society. “I remember when Roman (Founder/head-brewer of Solvay Society) first got in touch about doing the re-brand. Up to that point I was just designing what they were after and it lacked consistency. It was quite daunting to begin, I looked into what others were doing which drew me to the use of pattern, It was quite a common thing to see these so I wanted to do something that was different but the same. We came up with ‘The 3 Faces’ that make Solvay Society cans so recognisable. The first face, the archway, has a sense of welcome with the name and type of the beer and a colour trim down the sides. The second face is the blurb section which is so prominent because Roman has such a strong reason for his choice of ingredients, the purpose of the beer and the process and I felt it was important for people to be able to read about it in detail. The third face is a pattern that sticks to the colour palette and reflects the beer name or purpose. For example, 8:20 features the striking rays of the sun, as it takes 8 minutes and 20 seconds for the sunlight to travel the darkness of space and illuminate the Earth’s surface.

The minimal colour palette was also important. The design is mono and the variety comes from the striking colours that appear on about less than 10% of the design. Having black cans was a key design decision.

It has always been a top tier list for me to work with a beer brand, but one I could say I have made my stamp on. Amazingly to this day I am yet to meet Roman face to face, but he’s been very happy with the work that we have done to bring Solvay Society into the more modern market of craft beer, so that makes me super happy. Working remotely you would think it would have a hindrance, but 2020 proved it certainly can be the new new.

Apart from your own, which is your favourite beer design and why? “I am adoring the story behind the Overtone brewing cans, the love of music and beer. I also love me a bit of techno and merging the worlds from two together to create a stand out branding is pretty sick.”

Apart from Solvay Society, who’s your favourite brewery and why? “I have had a huge love for Camden Town Brewery since I got an opportunity to visit their factory on a ‘staff training’ day, learning about the process which ultimately inspired one of my final year university projects. They have such beautiful branding and everything they do is just brilliant. I even collect their exclusive cans because that’s how large an impact they have had on me. Just need to figure out a better way to display them.”

Harry’s desk and Camden specials collection.

Favourite pub or bar? “Local bar to me called Belgium and Blues, killer night out, whilst trying some of the nicest beers Southampton has to offer, not to mention the bitterballen.”

Favourite bar snack? “No competition. Snyder’s Jalapeño pretzel pieces.”

What music are you currently listening to? “A bit of alternative indie rock, The Cribs new one is pretty good and Glass Animals. Also been listening to songs from Tarantino films, just because it’s so iconic.”

Are you reading anything interesting? “I received a book about street food recently; if there’s another interest I have other than design work, it’s street food. The other book is Accidentally Wes Anderson, the book born from the Instagram page of the same name.”

What are you looking forward to in 2021? “I am mostly looking forward to progress of normality, not visited any galleries or exhibitions in what feels like forever. I also have tickets to The Book of Mormon which I have been desperate to see on stage. Exciting new design projects in the pipeline are also well up there.”

Cats or dogs? “Cats by far. My love of mine has been immortalised on a cup. Solid Christmas present from my other half.”

Aw, cute.

Nice one, Harry.


To find out more about Solvay Society please check them out at https://www.solvaysociety.com/

His name’s Alan but we call him Ed.

Editors absorb a lot of the stress that’s created by writing a book. Authors crashing into deadlines, designers careering into even worse deadlines, a budget spreadsheet that has to keep everyone happy and, this year, the impact of Covid-19 on all that. Alan Murphy, the editor who wrangled Beer By Design from a germ of an idea to the bitter (you’re welcome) end, was Project Ed. We salute him.

Describe your role at CAMRA Books: “My role is a combined one of Commissioning Editor and Managing Editor. I submit book proposals to a Publishing Advisory Group for consideration and (hopefully) approval. I then work out a budget and schedule with the author and draw up a contract for them to sign. Once the author completes the book, I work with our editorial and production team to put the book together before sending it to the printer. “

What did you enjoy about the Beer By Design book in particular?: “So many things but working with someone like Pete, who is incredibly passionate and knowledgeable about the subject, was a real honour.”

What role do you think design has in the beer world? “A vital one. As Pete says in the introduction, a beer has to be noticed before the customer chooses it amidst a sea of competition, and that’s where the design of label, can or pump clip comes in.”

Was there anything that surprised you about the Beer by Design book? “I think what surprised me most was just how much we are influenced by design; even the angle of a letter in a name can alter our mood.”

Burning Sky artwork by Simon Gane

While all the designs are obviously your favourite, were there any personal stand outs? “Very difficult, but I’d have to say Burning Sky for the atmosphere they evoke.”

What’s going to be your festive tipple this Christmas? “I’ve got some bottles of Arkell’s Sir Noel Christmas Ale and Adnams Tally-Ho. I’ll also be supporting my local brewery, The Nook, with some of their fine beers such as Maple Porter and Oat Stout.”

When you’re not working on books, where can we find you? “I spend most of my spare time walking our dog, watching my son play football at the weekend, or teaching my daughter to drive. For relaxation I love to cook, so you’ll often find me in the kitchen (though not at parties).”

Beer, design & music are our jam. What have you been listening to recently?
“I’ve been listening to a lot of mellower, more contemplative music this year. A lot of stuff like Bill Callahan, Beach House, Jenny Lewis, as well as old favourites like Elvis Costello and David Byrne.”

And when you’re not commissioning and editing books, what do you read? “I read a lot of fiction, American writers like Richard Ford and Cormac McCarthy, as well as William Boyd and Jonathan Coe. I’ve been reading more and more crime fiction and was recently recommended the series of Bernie Gunther detective thrillers by beer writer Adrian Tierney-Jones.”

Oh Yes It Is.

All the fun of the panto without having to change out of your pyjamas. Result.

Let’s face it, this is a specific season to be very fucking jolly. No-one is having Christmas as usual but it doesn’t mean we can’t have a thoroughly enjoyable one, albeit with Zoom providing more of the festivities than Aunty Gladys after she’s been at the sherry.

We’ll be featuring some Christmas specials – beers, deals and more – in the next couple of weeks but the Panto in a Box by Brewgooder caught our attention not just with superb design but the story behind it.

It features 4 beers: Bawrus was brewed by Brewgooder and Pact Coffee, Mother Gose is from Wild Beer Co, Jack is from Mondo Brewing and Daisy the Coo from Gipsy Hill, plus some chocolate, popcorn and a specially-commissioned panto story by renowned panto writer and star Johnny McKnight.

We caught up with Abby, who’s in charge of special projects & campaign research at Brewgooder, to ask her about the project:

Is this the first charity project you’ve done?

“As a purpose driven brand, our mission has always been to use beer to positively impact the lives of others and lend our platform to people that need support. The core way we do this is with clean water, which we believe is the most people-empowering resource on the planet, so our drinkers have already helped to unlock millions of litres of water for communities around the world. But this mission has also translated to other forms of people positive impact be it across areas such as inclusion and compassion – for instance, during lockdown we ran a national campaign to gift over 28,000 beers with messages of support to NHS staff, which we were really proud of.” 

How and why did you choose this issue to focus on?

“We’d been thinking for a while of what to do for Christmas when James, our co-founder and Head of Brand came across a newspaper article highlighting the impact of Covid-19 on Panto Season, alongside the thousands of freelance creatives and performers who have been out of work and struggling to receive any form of support from the Government.

As soon as he pitched the idea to the rest of us, we were sold.”

How did the design concept come together? 

“We knew we wanted a traditional panto feel and worked with illustrator Jamie Macdonald (aka Airship23) to bring the characters to life. Wild Beer felt very strongly about their dame having a pineapple hat, so we made sure to incorporate that!

Once we had our characters, we worked with our regular illustrator Jez Dunn (Happy Place Studio) to finalise the can labels. We were torn between having either the characters in black and white, or the backgrounds black and white with the characters in colour. We opted for the former, as we felt the black and white characters helped to convey the traditional feel.

For the box, we had been inspired by Tiny’s Rebel’s birthday box design and reached out to Boxmart to see what they could do for us. They came up with the brilliant “stage” design for the box, that allows the “curtain” to rise and reveal the beers. The box also has a clever insert on top that both keeps the beers more secure and also allows for the popcorn and chocolate to be secure. Jez also did the artwork for the box, doing a brilliant job capturing a traditional theatre vibe.

As well as the Theatre Artists Fund, we are also working with Capital Theatres and Acting 4 Others on this project, with some of the funds being donated to their causes.

ALSO, we are recording a very special performance of our Jack and the Beer Hops pantomime, via Zoom, which will be live on our website at brewgooder.com/panto from December 12th-31st.”

How long did it take from having the idea to arriving in your webshop?

“I believe the first conversation between James and I was around the 24th August, and we launched on November 24th, so exactly 3 months!”

Any other considerations from a design point of view?

“From a personal point of view, I believe it’s the box that truly makes this product what it is. We knew we wanted the cans to be positioned as if on the stage, and Boxmart really made that happen for us while ensuring they were super safe in transit. The curtain opening really enhances the unboxing experience.”

What’s the Brewgooder design ethos, this project aside?

“Our design ethos up to this point on our core range and branding has been very reflective of our clean water roots, and particularly the country of Malawi where the majority of our projects are based. So from traditional patterning to the names of our beers being based on districts and phrases that have originated there. We also frequently collaborate with different designers and like to offer the white space to not just the other brewer involved but also the cause or issue we are trying to raise awareness of, which is epitomised with this project!”   


Character illustrations – Jamie Macdonald AirShip23 https://airship23.com/

Labels and box illustration – Jez Dunn – Studio Happy Place https://www.studiohappyplace.com/

Box design – Boxmart

Photography – Ground Level Up https://www.groundlevelup.com/

Where is it available? 

Online from our webshop! https://shop.brewgooder.com/product/jack-and-the-beer-hops/


Featured Designer: Leigh Pearce, Cloak + Dagger

Leigh is the designer from the trio behind Cloak + Dagger. He spent his formative years fraternising with graffiti artists, listening to rap records and watching gory horror films and B movies – all of which have influenced the look of Cloak + Dagger’s artwork.

We fell in love with Cloak + Dagger’s design early on in the research for the book. There’s such a vibrant consistency to the look and feel, and we love the laid-out label artwork as much as we love the look of the cans on the shelf. The design fizzes with personality and we wanted to know more about the designer behind the brand.

We caught up with Leigh, who talked us through his thought process when designing for Cloak + Dagger:

“As creative director and partner of Lolly Studio, a design and animation agency working with clients including Coca-Cola, easyJet and the World Health Organization, I rose to the challenge of creating artwork that would ensure Cloak + Dagger’s cans stand out in a crowded fridge or on a bottle shop shelf. Not an easy task, but a fun process.

“The names of our beers are abstract and not descriptive in terms of style, strength or colour. Often our names rhyme – this comes from my hip-hop background and experience of writing rap lyrics. I enjoy the syllabic sound the names make: Komodo Bozo, Galactic Catnip, Gigantic Antics, Routes to Pluto.

“Visual consistency across Cloak + Dagger’s range is achieved with a design based on increments of 45-degree angles and a strong but minimal colour palette. Black and white are core colours, then I add two vibrant secondary colours to help distinguish each beer.

My passion for golden-era hip-hop resonates through our artwork. Komodo Bozo for instance makes a nod to Pharoah Monch’s Godzilla soundtrack-sampling rap anthem ‘Simon Says’, with a snippet of the song’s lyrics also gracing the can.  All cans feature similar lyrics and messaging.

The bold style of the artwork is influenced by graffiti. I often use dots, broad strokes and highlights and light flares, albeit in a vectorised format, all techniques employed by my subway art heroes. Most designs are character-based, which is a core element of my illustration style.”

Leigh also showed us how the design for each can develops from early sketches to the final image on the can.

Leigh adds: “The language is confident, conversational and waffle free, right through to the standard informational messages on the can: “Yo, please delight in our beers responsibly” & “Recycle=Karma”.

Some other things we wanted to know about Leigh:

Where you trained: After finishing my Foundation in Brighton I went on to Central Saint Martins In London for a BA course in Art and Design. I left after the first year as it wasn’t the right fit for me. Came back to Brighton, ran a pub and reassessed. So I guess you could say I’m self-trained.
Design influences: I get a lot of my influence from 80’s and early 90’s street culture, skateboard graphics, subway art, Charlie Harper and Sesame Street 😁
Apart from Cloak & Dagger, what’s your favourite brewery and why: Our local heroes Burning Sky because they make all kinds of delicious beer in many styles. When I can’t get Komodo Bozo, I seek out Arise.
Favourite pub or bar: The Cloak Room. It’s the Cloak and Dagger taproom / canteen in Brighton. www.cloakroombrighton.com
Favourite bar snack: Beerkins (fried pickles)
What you’re currently listening to: Flicking between Sault – Untitled (Black Is) & Lord Goat – Final Expenses. 
Cats or dogs? Cats.

Check out Leigh’s Instagram page.