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Land of the Pine

I was asked by a friend to create a hand lettered label for his new home brewed beer. He is an artist/designer as well, but wanted my take on the project. It was a blessing to collaborate with someone that understood design language, and spoke visually in giving me examples of what he liked. Each step of the way I asked for his feedback so I would know exactly what he was looking for. 

His beer is called "Land of the Pine", since he sources ingredients from the Pacific Northwest. 

I started by gathering inspiration. I wanted to have a wood block print feel to the final product. 

Next, I roughly sketched some variations just the name, which would be the focal point of my design. 

Then refined the lettering. 

At this point, I felt the two main words ("Land" and "Pine") were satisfactory, but the catchwords would need some work. He expressed wanting to have a slab serif to offset the script, but nothing too heavy. 

I worked out various arrangements and how to incorporate the information he wanted conveyed as well as the feel for the project while trying to avoid prevalent design cliches you see on beer labels. 

This was my first submitted sketch, which I knew would be WAY too busy, but I knew I could take things away from there. 

He encouraged me to simplify it, of course. 

I scanned the main lettering and printed quite a few sheets to sketch around it. 

I knew I wanted to incorporate not only the pine trees but also the shape of a pine cone scale. He really liked the "New York Butcher" image from my inspiration images, and I tried to think of how to convey that frame into the shape of a pine scale. 

He asked if I could incorporate an axe. 

Then he wanted the axe smaller and not as prominent. Also, the more I looked at the design, the more the pine scale that created the frame around IPA looked like a person's bottom. I couldn't unsee that. 

We both liked the wood cut tree tops above, but (no pun intended) I re-worked the area below (again, no pun intended). 

I wanted to have an actual pine cone, so there would be no question about the design. 

I worked these components until I had a look I liked. This consisted of lots of tracing paper over different sketches until I incorporated all of the components I liked. 

Once I inked the full drawing, I scanned it and retouched it in Photoshop, adding some color fills and making a mock up of what it would look like on the bottle. We both wanted to keep the unrefined quality of the lettering and illustration, so we decided not to clean it up in Illustrator. It will be printed on uncoated stock that will lend itself to some texture anyhow. My friend is pleased with it, as am I.

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