Designing the Black Hops 4th Birthday Labels: Part Two – Black Forest Birthday Cake


Black Forest Birthday Cake.

Following up the Zappy Birthday label, I really wanted to keep the minimal theme running, and create a series of labels that all shared a common aesthetic, while each being unique and reflecting the beer inside.

A birthday is never complete without the cake, and the Black Forest Birthday Cake Stout didn’t disappoint.

Inspired by its German pastry and brewing origins, boasting sweet chocolate malts with a rich cherry filling and a velvet smooth mouthfeel, this beer was killer, and we needed the label to match.

Black Hops – Black Forest Birthday Cake Stout. Photo © Black Hops

While Zappy Birthday was a ‘fun’ design, I knew that the Birthday Cake needed to get a bit dark to reflect the Stout and really showcase the beer.

My initial concept was to take the Black Hops badge icon and turn that into a little slice of Black Forest Cake and it worked nicely but lacked the impact and ‘darkness’ that we were shooting for, so that was quickly shelved.

To try and really capture the ‘dark’ vibes, I needed to get a bit literal, so ‘scary dark forest’ became the basis for the concept and then everything flowed from there.

‘The Blair Witch Project’ was a film that scared the shit out of me, so I chose to run with the scary-as-funk scenes with the stick-figures as a broad inspiration for the backdrop.

JOOOOOOSH!!!: The Fright Rags 'Blair Witch Project' Collection ...
F that.

I’ve always been a fan of symbolism and iconography and the DHARMA logos and blast door map in ‘LOST’ fascinated me. I loved how you didn’t understand what the hell they were the first time you saw them. That inspired the minimalist cake illustration, knife and 4 candle icons.

The blast door map in ‘LOST’

To make those stand out, I blurred out the forest background, brought out the reds to nod to the cherry flavours, and offset that with the light cyan ‘fog’.

I wanted to try and include little hidden symbols in each of the labels too so for those eagle-eyes out there you’ll find an extra-something on each can.

mmmmmm cake.

Next up in the series is the Vermonster Birthday Sunday. Stay tuned!



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