Crumbs Brewery

How to create a stand out
brand and packaging to catch an

eye in the crowded
market of
artisinal craft beer in NZ

Crumbs Brewery is a sustainable craft beer brewery in Wellington, NZ. They make beer and ale out of surplus bread which would otherwise go to waste. They were looking for a new vibrant identity and packaging which will give them more shelf presence and greater brand impact over their print and digital marketing.

Applications Used / Timescale

Adobe Illustrator - Logo, Pattern Design
Adobe Photoshop - Mockups
Adobe XD - Website Layout
Adobe After Effects - Motion Graphics

All work was tracked with Toggle, time spent on project: 21h 30min. 


The craft beer market and the beer market overall for that matter is highly oversaturated and highly competitive in NZ. They'd love the new identity and packaging to stand the test of time, and stand out againt all the noise. It should be memorable and exciting. They needed the logomark to have some relevance to their use of bread in their brewing process.

The Brief / The Problem

The craft beer market (especially now, at the peak of the boom) is known for quite bold and outlandish packaging and illustration style. Although the client wasn't opposed to this per se, they'd love to steer clear of anything too illustrated, quirky or to be frank - raunchy - in their style. They'd prefer to explore a pattern or typography and let the brand be the main focus.

Below are given some examples from the client - we can see clear graphics and quite alot of colour blocking - so from that I read out that being bold in a tasteful way has a green light. The examples gave me a feel of the 70s, a feel of fun and sustainable and just a little bit trippy.

Crumbs Brewery is supplied to bars and restaurants across the country and abroad, and on their own e-commerce website, but over 65% of their income is generated from supermarket sales. They have a distribution contract with a select number of supermarket chains across NZ, and this is why they want to focus their efforts on a brand label that will have good shelf presence. Remember - customers will only scan the shelf for a few seconds, so colour and legibility are key.


Before I got my sharpie on paper, I sat down for a few hours and did some market research. Not only for visual style but the overall state of the artisinal market (in NZ and globally). That's always a good place to start - so you'd know who are you creating for (in this instance I am not talking about my client, I am talking about their client).
It's important to ask the right questions, before letting the creative juices flow. It's more easy to think outside the box if you know where the box is.

Questions generated:

What is the right tactic to make people look at our product for longer - how to tackle that - and with what tools?

Consumerist psychology in supermarkets - how to manage the choice?

What information Is important to our persona?

What are competitors doing well / not so well?

How saturated are we talking?
How heavy is the competition, out of who do we have to stand out?

Role playing - what would I stop at, what would I pick up, what would I buy (in that order) if I was our persona.

And the more detailed questions like: How to incorporate bread to a logo? How can you say "bread /crumbs" with a graphic style?
What is the right colour palette so the brand would look tasteful but at the same time exciting and colourful, would pop (figuratevly) on the shelves?


Their demographic is "young professionals with an expendible income, those that appreciate good food and even better beer". We established that they're young, tasteful and with money. A great place to start. They're foodies who spend money on enjoyment. This tells me, that the packaging can cost a bit more than an average mass-market beer (doesn't have to, but can). This tells me, that the person seeks quality and adventure in what they consume. We have to convince them in the quality and in that this is made carefully, it is made honestly and it's something that they've never tried before and goes well with their taste, other products they may purchase from the grocery store and with their overall lifestyle. Lightly talking about the other 35% of sales: the bars - we need to establish that bartenders want to recommend this product and that they know what it is, chefs can cook to it and that it's so special, it get's the best shelf presence in their restaurant and bar. Online - we need to make sure it's easy to choose and easy to buy. Theoretically a simple task to handle.

Articulating / Questions Answered

The beer market as a whole compared on a global scale is stylistically a bit aged, so pinching refrence globally of what not to do is quite easy. The consumer is ready to pay for a good beer so the style can seem  expensive and tasteful, thus more quality. I steered clear of fun typographyc style and summery colours - firstly, to stand out, and secondly not to be appealing to too young people. I made the colour choice with quality, luxury and sustainability in mind. Compared to the market share the competitors hold, I went on with the tactic of not chasing or running ahead, but taking a complete new and exiting, bold route.

How to catch an eye? Simply put, on a psychological level - with illusions. The brain makes the descision to look at the product, before we consciously do ourselves. I needed to incorporate an illusion in a tasteful way to the product. For a foodie the second point of interest, once their eyes are on the product, is the first readable thing you see on the bottle. I made sure it's not the logo (logo as the main focus comes across a bit egocentric by the brand). The first readable thing is something to help them out, help them make a choice - it's the name of the beer, that gives away what the product might be (an slang word that's as aussie as it can be). After that comes honest helpful information of "tastes like" - you know what you will drink before you even make the choice. And the second segment of the label is gold for foodies - "goes well with" - is it a good addition to your shopping cart? And the third one - % of alcohol, botteled date, etc. And lastly - the logo and brewer. By that time you've come to know the product and we've risen attention and interest. No abstraction in the information - only honest want to help you choose the best beer available.  


Searching for refrence and inspirational pieces, i started from  pattern. Different brain games and illusion pictures  that play with the  viewers perception. Trippy,  rather fine  patterns  and  derived the final result from there. I wanted the feel  of living pattern - so the product on the shelf is almost alive. Colour wise i thought - mature, expensive, sustainable, royal - and came across these deep purple, burgundy and green tones, complimented them later with soft greys, beiges and yellow, so the colours would stand out in contrast and as an addition of playfulness.  The label - i was thinking, what is the clearest way of communicating important  information - and thought of old-time apothecary signage, simple and straightforward. I decided to add illustrated mild field-flowers and roses  to the design to give  it some extra life and to edge  it up a bit - beer is not for men or women - this one exactly is foodies of all kind - bold people. I was inspired by quality fabrics and millenial fashion when tieing it all together. 

Concept / The Big Idea

The big idea articulated stand something like this  - a brand of beer for bold people who dare to try things they've never tried before, for people who dare to give their taste to the handsof artisinal masters, for those who care for sustainability and unwasteful living, for those who  seek experiences and new tastes, for those who care about how things are made and why and for those who have a beer shaped hole in otherwise a perfect cool lifestyle. 


Sketching and reasearch were closely standing side by sid - i  started from the  logo, since it was the one that had the most clear limitations by the client. I sketched and at the same time sought, if maybe something like this already exists. I was looking at the top 10 best craft beers of NZ and steered clear from that kind of simplicity, that would be too easy and stayed on my  own path of design as i promised on the first stage of thinking about this. I tested out different kind of patterns and how they'd look, how would the product came alive and finally decided on 3 winners. The colour palette was chosen before, i identified the colours and used them troughout the design process, not letting any of them lead - i made sure it's a tasteful mix of colours and all of them get their chance to shine - thus making the whole brand presence more colourful but still united.

The logomark came to be a hybrid between a foam hat, a loaf of bread and subtle typographical crumbs underneath it (type used in other materials and headers as well). The style is grownup without losing the feel of fun - it's specialised, tasteful and honors the work and trade - without forgetting that drinking beer is not a serious job. It's more soft than it is straight-forward, it's more playful than it is serious - it's a nice balance between the graphic careless style and the expensive and edgy choice of colour and patter (this comes forward again in how the labels are worked in - conservative and straight patterns with the addition of randomly places field flowers and a label that is almost like stamped on the product without a care  in the world. 

Semiotic Tools

Once the colours were identified, it was easier to find a balance that worked between them. Typographi is chosen to resemble the feel of old apothecary typeface, to be serious and simple - not to take the attention away from the info itself. 
Names of the beers came from local slang and depict the taste and environment where and how this beer is best consumed, to make the experience wholesome "choka" meaning "awesome" also globally giving the hint of chocolate, "s'arvo" meaning "this afternoon" and "ol cobber" meaning "a pal, mate".

Here i came up with 3 exampelatory patterns and colour combinations, how the brand and packaging should look throughout the brand. Every taste should have its own pattern and colours, they should have an equal sign between them in the long run. 

Imagery, Signage, Packaging

When designing the packaging it was important to keep in mind that the colour and illusion should have the number one attention slot, the signange have the second slot and the logo should come in third and last. Nothing excessive, nothing extra. 

How the brand would come to life and exceed only being a product. It's steps forward to being a community and an important part of a certain type of lifestyle. The merchandise is designed keeping the persona in mind - when drinking beer, it's vacation time, it's a  break. So comfort and beauty is crucial - every piece should work on its own, fulfill it's use and be beautiful outside the brand, as a standalone piece. 
Website, Media Presence, Motion Characteristics

The website works as a community gathering place, where they get information about events, new products and industry news and at the same time it works as an e-commerce site, where you can buy beer and the new tastest first. The design is friendly and familiar, the built is clear and userfriendly - same philosophy as the product packaging design - nothing excessive -  we keep in mind you're here to fulfill a task - be it attending to an event, getting the news or buying new beer or our merchandise. 

The motion graphic style is whimsical, simple and clear. 

Social media presence is built around the same philosophy that is present troughout the designing of the brand - honesty and usability first. The content and lingo is friendly and familiar, honoring the customers and honoring good time and good taste. It gives out honest information, diving deep to it's product, the process and putting the customer on the throne - we talk about them and who they are. 

Important Notes

All photos, videos, mockups used are cleared under the CC0 license.