I created Mabinogion Craft Ale as an answer to the Brand Opus Chrysalis Brief. The brief required its participants to come up with an innovative drink product that could be sold and distributed in pubs or clubs around Britain. I decided to concentrate my efforts on pubs in Wales.
Growing up in a Welsh speaking primary school we were often told tales from the Mabinogion. A piece of Welsh literature that explains the folklore and myths behind some of our most beautiful and famous landmarks. The tales of our ancestors, from Merlins Oak to Gelert, I wanted to share these tales through my product and make it a celebration of what makes Wales and our people so unique.
For my initial concept I drew my inspiration from Wales' terrain. I used flat graphics and colour variants to distinguish between flavours. I liked the end product and could imagine drinking it at pubs all over Britain. However, for me this wasn't effectively communicating what made my product and idea so unique. It was communicating mountains but not specifically Welsh mountains and landmarks or the stories behind them.
What makes Wales so unique is the names of these beautiful sites and why they've inherited them. Cadair Idris is a Welsh mountain. The name translates to Idris' chair. Idris was an ancient Welsh giant and if you look at the beauty spot named after him it looks like the mountains have formed around were Idris would supposedly sit down and watch over his domain.
A TWIST ON
In order to communicate the Mabinogion as a theme through my packaging I turned to the book itself. The book is adorned in beautiful intricate Celtic knot work patterns and artwork. These are very complex and contain a variety of colours and intricate little details. I created a series of these patterns in a stripped back simplified form.
I used the modernised knot work patterns to create a grid. From this grid I was able to create my beers signature M logo mark. This M and subsequent knot work can be seen on the front of the packaging designs. I also use other elements of this flat knot work throughout the brand guidelines created for Mabinogion Craft Ale to accompany typographic elements.
From a strictly aesthetic standpoint, it’s harder than ever to call out specific visual trends amongst Craft Ale Design. There are 7,000+ breweries in the United States, all constantly jockeying and innovating to grab at consumer attention, never mind the thousands also in Britain. To stand out in this market you need a really unique product. Mabingoion meets this criteria of being quirky and eye catching enough to draw people in, however other craft ales also stand out aestheticaly. What makes Mabingoion stand above its competitors is the thought and story behind each flavour. This will retain our consumers attention and keep them coming back to reminisce and find out more.