Case study: Craft Beer Branding for Bucur. Bringing the history back in a vibrant city.
This case study presents the creative stages of the craft beer branding for Bucur, a Romanian beer brand. From the concept idea to the creation of logo design and packaging design.
As David McCullough says: "History is who we are and why we are the way we are." So this case study will unveil the roots of the brand packaging for Bucur, a new Romanian Beer. The colorful history of a European capital city is yet to be discovered by the new generation. You will understand how the concept idea develops into this brand packaging, from hand sketches to the retail shelf, ready to be bought.
Story of the beer brand
It always starts with the story behind the brand. What makes this beer brand special? What gives it a character? Finding answers to these questions will help a brewery owner easily connect with its target audience. You may wonder, why is this beer brand different from the rest? What is the message that we are looking to convey in this product packaging design and logo design? Uncommon for other beer brands, this one, carry on every brand packaging an intriguing story of the old capital as it is presented in Bucur's beer branding, the packaging design project.
For start, it is created to be an authentic Romanian beer. More than just an urban legend, it wants to revive a beautiful period of the old city, between 1870 – 1940. One of the personalities that help to define the brand is Caragiale, a famous Romanian playwright, short story writer, poet, theater manager, political commentator, and journalist. He is a leading representative of local humor and managed to translate in many of his plays the spirit of the city and its people.
Making people laugh was one of his greatest talents, and this type of humor was added to the mix when creating this beer branding. The creative design is not looking to just share the old forgotten stories of Bucharest. It wants to go further, and bring back the experiences, the vibrant tone of the city, with so many funny stories that are worth telling about corrupted politicians, aristocrats, famous merchants, and gamblers.
Imagine yourself entering a romantic era, a peaceful and prosperous time called "Belle Epoque" in a city where East and West civilizations met, ruled by a king, King Carol the 1st. A city where Neoclassic, Art-Nouveau, Baroque, or Byzantine architectural styles blends in with the local Brancovenesc style to create a unique, colorful, vibrant style.
The main idea was to capture in this beer branding the stories of the most famous boulevard of the city, Victoriei Avenue, where the true heart of the city lies and where, some decades ago, real lions & ostriches walked for the whole city to see them. In 1928 the famous Josephine Baker, an American-born French dancer, and singer, a symbol of the beauty and vitality of Black American culture, that took Paris by storm in the 1920s, was brought here by her impresario Constantin Tanase. She was seen walking through the city in an ostrich-drawn carriage. Another famous name of that time was magistrate Costache Câmpeanu who, owner of three lion cubs that he kept at home in an iron cage, used to walk with one of them through the city, holding him by the collar chain.
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Position of the beer brand
The newly released Romanian beer brand Bucur is owned by United Romanian Breweries Bereprod (URBB). From their portfolio, you already might know brands like Tuborg, Carlsberg, Holsten & SKOL.
Between January and June 2019, URBB registered a double-digit volume increase for premium and super-premium beers in their portfolio.
The concept of the brand is based on the idea of rediscovering the true heart of the city and creating an authentical, premium Romania beer brand.
Beer Branding strategy
The brand strategy wants to build interest and sparkle curiosity. It is about guiding people to discover the city and be intrigued and delighted by its stories. To create a new imprint on the mind of the consumers, a more deep understanding of the city’s history and famous personalities, that used to live here more than a hundred years ago, is required. The brand identity of this Romanian beer brand represents a successful marriage between old and new in an original contemporary packaging design.
The beer branding wants to explore the idea of a colorful, more unknown past of the city while generating a strong relationship with its customers by delivering a clean, direct message. The message is basically that nothing remains forgotten, everything is carried in the future, being an important part of the city’s heart: parties, gossips, a complex mixture of people and social classes, architecture, parks, theater & busy markets.
Just looking at the beer label design and it seems like you can almost hear the beating heart of the boulevard.
Craft Beer Branding
We were asked to create a brand image that would harmoniously blend the old, Belle Epoque Period, and the new city soul. The creative package was meant to also convey one of the Romanian people's favorite activities, to enjoy a good beer with their friends, out, in the old city center.
The old city center is still preserving today the charm of the Belle Epoque Period, old street lamps, cafes, bistros, lounges, and many breweries with an amazing history like " La Carul cu Bere".
"Caru cu bere" is the oldest brewery in town, where you can still enjoy the house beer based on a German-inspired recipe created in 1879 and kept the same until the present day. Our mission was to deliver an engaging, intriguing, and memorable experience for the brand's target audience.
Beer Logo Design
In some cases, the logo design for a beer brand will get to represent the product for a longer period, possibly even when the package design will be updated or changed. It may be helpful for the product branding, as you can discover in our dedicated article, to have a flexible logo that can stand the test of time and be integrated into different designs. It all depends on the concept of the beer branding and its expected longevity. For this particular logo design, the challenge was to discover a new suite of assets that can be used to promote this special city and its complex mixture of famous people, architecture, parties, cultural events, the ideology of the city of Caragiale. Taking its main inspiration from Caragiale's amazing work and characters, the design is adding a touch of playfulness to the composition.
The logo design had to express in a modern language the vibrant heart of the city that lies on Victoriei Avenue from the late 19th century. The beer logo design is structured along the imaginary lines of a long street perspective. Using the product slogan, the boulevard becomes once again, like it was in the Belle Epoque period, the focus point of the composition, a place where everything happens. The gentlemen’s hat, a symbol of that period, is being hand-drawn and added to the composition for a touch of old city charm. The font for branding & packaging is a vintage-inspired script that comes to emphasize the evoked period.
Beer Packaging Design
Beer packaging can make a remarkable difference both in stores, on the retail shelf, and in eCommerce platforms. In a matter of seconds, the package design helps the customer decide to buy the product or not. The beer package visually tells the story of the brand, generates an original tone and feel of the product. It becomes the silent salesman. As we all know, humans are visual creatures that learn from an early age to interact with the world using visual cues that the brain absorbs, manipulates, and reacts to them. A creative package becomes an important asset for a beer brand when used correctly. We were excited when Bucur package design received its first international award at Indigo Competition.
The packaging design concept started from walking maps, traveling through the old town of Bucharest, its architecture, less unknown stories & places. Every element of the beer branding has its roots in the authenticity of this city. Moments of discovery and humor are created, illustrated & engraved on the beer label design, telling the unique story of each corner of the city, rediscovering its personalities, and sharing it with the new generation.
The atmosphere of the city can be found in many details that surround its citizens. The beer package features design elements and architectural inserts like a street lamp or the first bakery that opened in the city. The focus is not only on the static elements but also on the people, the famous characters of Bucharest. The two types of typographic styles used in the composition are combining past & contemporary elements to describe the story of the brand and its strong connection with the old city of Bucharest.
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The design can be easily adapted for different family members. While keeping the design structure in place, different colors and illustrations can be replaced while maintaining the same visual style. The shape of the bottle design adds a subtitle masculine vibe to the entire feel of the product. Having a more rectangular silhouette, the bottle design differentiates itself from its competitors. A pale, elegant background is used to illustrate the streets of the city.
Another city element appears - the old street lamp from a period of Tango & Charleston dances and seems to guide the eye over the entire composition. During the packaging design printing process, a challenge had to be overcome. The paper material that was chosen at the beginning for the brand packaging was replaced with a more flexible, thinner type. We decided to conduct more color tests to find the proper colors that could replace the first ones without damaging the initial style of the beer label design.
On the back of the label, unique stories are being introduced to the public in a journalistic style appearance. Much more is yet to be discovered...
Beer Package Typography
The two types of typographic styles used on this creative package are combining past & contemporary elements in order to describe the story of the brand and its strong connection with the old city of Bucharest. The main font is a vintage-inspired script based on hand lettering, created carefully to infuse a harmonious flow. An easy, modern secondary font was used in order to add a note of modernity to the composition.
Craft Beer Packaging Illustrations
Two major city architectural symbols were drawn, Ateneu & Capsa House. They represent more just buildings, they describe a unique, colorful universe of the old city center. Their walls were witnesses to many special events for more than a century.
Athenaeum is a neoclassical domed building situated in the city center, and more than that it represents a landmark for the Romanian capital. It first opened its doors in 1888 and, to the present day, it's the home of the " George Enescu Philharmonic and George Enescu international music festival. The Capsa Restaurant, another historical landmark, was established in 1852 and was the meeting place for noblemen & artists of that time. The restaurant is not only associated with its exquisite pastry products but is also famous for being a welcoming place for Romanian writers. It was the first French-inspired confectionery shop on Calea Victoriei.
Drawn in a line vector style illustration, both buildings create the perfect background environment for this Bucharest-inspired beer branding. They are telling the story of the most famous boulevard - Victoriei Avenue, the heart of old Bucharest. Wanting to bring the old charm of the city back in present times, other design products of that specific period were illustrated, like an early bicycle and an old phonograph. The illustrations are featured on the neck of the bottle, using a one-color background. Mita Biciclista, was the first woman to ride a bicycle in the great metropolis of Bucharest. Mita, was such a good rider that she was invited to ride the king’s bike. The story says that King Ferdinand gave her a classic Baroque mansion in a great area of Bucharest.
Printing details & Beverage Launch
One of the last steps before launching a new beer brand is the printing process. What any brewery owner should know? The place where he wants to build more presence. In stores. Online markets, or both. For example, if the beer will be sold mostly in stores and pubs, it's best to choose a label design that offers a tactile experience. Textures, an emboss pattern or logo, and other printing effects will make the customer want to have the beer bottle in his hands. On the other hand, if the beer brand is sold mostly online, a detailed study should be created in which the beer label design is analyzed on different devices and sizes as you can see in the latest packaging design trends for beer.
Beer marketing strategy
The beer branding for Bucur was concentrated on its physical presence in Romanian restaurants, bars, and later on in stores.
The main attention was directed in delivering a label design that looks and feels good on the shelf and in people's hands. A silver label paper was chosen that would complement both primary colors of the two types of beer while bringing a touch of old city glamour into the mix.
"History is who we are and why we are the way we are." David McCullough, American author, narrator, popular historian & lecturer