In Fall 2014, the co-founders of Farmer Willie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer approached me to design their can. I took on the project under one condition: we rebrand the whole company to better express the energy and quirkiness of the back story. In January 2015, I officially joined the team as Head of Design.
Freeing Willie ... and his brand
What is Farmer Willie's? Who would actually drink this? Does this product appeal to a large or narrow audience? Working closely with the co-founders, these are the types of questions we had to ask ourselves to best define the brand. The Issue book below shows this entire process.
Creating the brand driver, a technique I learned at Landor Associates, really set the tone for the rest of the project. A brand driver is a technique branding firms use to compare your company/product to unrelated things in order to give you a clearer understanding of the important aspects of your company. If your company was a vehicle what would it be? An activity? An object? A chair? A beverage? An animal?
I changed the traditional exercise in a unique way by having the two co-founders and I participate do this exercise separately in order to point out which aspects of the brand we were aligned or not aligned on. For instance, if one co-founder thought the company was a Cadillac but other thought it was an old blue truck, there is a clear discrepancy on what they want their brand to be.
All of this led to the final logo which expresses the quirkiness of the Farmer Willie's story. So how do we express this as part of the can design?
Finding your inner Willie... on the can
The concept behind the can design is that while you drink the beverage, you are giving yourself a Farmer Willie’s beard. Since the target market is millennials, this playful move is a fun way to show your friends your new favorite drink on social media. Thinking about Farmer Willie's in the next 5 years and the addition of new flavors, the can leaves space between the beard and the name for iterative designs in the future.
Willie escapes... and takes over marketing materials