Twenty eight years ago, design legend Milton Glaser sketched the first Brooklyn Brewery logo, and it’s only just now experienced its first-ever full-scale packaging refresh.
In the original logo, Milton showed off his flair for well-considered simplicity. The brewery’s co-founder Steve Hindy had hope the logo would focus on Brooklyn icons – the bridge or perhaps the Dodgers – but Milton kept to a simple, swishy, elegant ‘B’, which is meant to resemble a swirl of foam, that honours both Brooklyn and its brewery, while creating its own iconic look.
And now, well into his 80s and seemingly not even considering retirement, Milton is redesigning the iconic packaging to keep up with the times just as much as he himself is. Colourful, fresh, bold, the new designs are certainly eye-catching. Each type of beer stands out with its own personality, but remains unmistakably part of Brooklyn Brewery and doesn’t drift too far from the original branding.
Milton’s creations are to design what New York is to America: famous, impressive and an embodiment of the country. As well as ‘I <3 NY’, which is cited as the most frequently imitated in human history, Milton was also responsible for the iconic Bob Dylan poster for Columbia Records. Oh, and he also co-founded New York Magazine.
Compared to other muddled, busy beer designs, Brooklyn Brewery's uncluttered packaging holds authority on the shelf.
Not all cool calmness, Milton's designs show the explosive, bubbly, fun side of beer too.
All the designs have a well-considered colour scheme, making the most of a few, simple block colours. The classic aesthetic doesn't lend itself to either men or women, the young or old, rich or poor - but simply people who enjoy beer. This in contrast to some manly, fiercely targeted beer packaging designs that can leave a sour taste (and no one wants that in their lager).
Image: Steve Hindy and Milton Gaser talk design