Collective Arts Brewing believes in two things: first, that creativity fosters even more creativity, and second, that creativity makes for even more delicious beer.
Cheers to that! It’s why they prefer to do small batches and feature limited edition artwork on their beer cans and labels. Of the thousands of submissions they receive for designs, they select the ones that will highlight their diverse portfolio—Nothing for Miles by John Godfrey being one of them.
John is a packaging designer and the Creative Director at Chargefield. While he’s relatively new to illustration, he explained that “every now and then something comes together,” and his artwork getting selected for the Jam up the Mash brew was indeed one of those times. It’s a little bit artist Alex Colville, a dash of “57 Channels (And Nothin’ On),” and a sprinkle of pop art.
“I don’t have my own distinct style when it comes to illustration because of working as a designer for so long,” John explained. “If you’re going to work for a bunch of different companies with different kinds of approaches when it comes to their branding and aesthetic, in order to fit with each of those companies you have to adapt yourself to different styles of design.”
For his submission to Collective Arts Brewing, John used the 2D template they provided. But when the brewery then selected his work, he wanted to take the opportunity to put something even more extraordinary into his portfolio. That’s when John took what he’d created in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator (his usual tools) and put it into Dimension.
“I wanted something you could view from different angles,” he said, “and basically give it a really interesting layout, almost like planning a photo shoot.
Having designed beer can packaging before for clients, he already had an easy setup in Dimension—one which allows him to show cans side by side in a photorealistic way rather than a flat one which leaves a lot to the imagination. “When it comes to presenting things, I can quickly apply labeling to these cans already in the software, do another quick render, and they can truly understand how the product will look on the shelf,” he mentioned.
And it’s not just taking an image and giving it a 3D appearance—you can actually place a product on a shelf. “Let’s say you have a hot sauce,” John said, “which is a really saturated market. You can quickly take a picture of a shelf where it would appear in a hot sauce aisle and comp in some bottles of the proposed design. It’s a cool way to show how the product stands out.”
Five years ago, this would have been an enormous undertaking, especially if designers were proposing multiple designs. Now, clients can see what the work looks like in half an hour—and when it comes to selling an idea to a client, John says it’s a no-brainer.
“Dimension is straightforward and easy to use, but that means the challenges fall on the creative side of things,” admitted John. “You can set up the scene in basically just a few minutes, but creatively what are you going to do with that?”
For Jam up the Mash, John created a theme where the test pattern bars from the can are scattered about, marrying the environment the can is in with the art on the packaging itself. Something he hadn’t played around with in previous designs was focal length, but for this, he tweaked it, so the focus drops off in the background and makes it look even more like a real photograph. He didn’t just slap on an image and render it out—that’s done easily, but the artistic side of things takes time and, ultimately, a vision.
“How are you going to make it stand out? That’s always going to be the challenge. It will always be on the creative side,” John said. “But I think that’s perfect. You don’t have to fight with the software, and instead, you do what you do best. Come up with ideas.”