This week’s best branding projects: Beer, jewellery and aliens

The beautiful - and slightly strange - new identities and rebrands from the week you may not have heard about.

We take a look at creative agency Above+Beyond’s slick new labels for Meantime’s popular beers now available in cans, Charlie Smith Design’s visual identity for an eccentric, luxurious new jewellery brand, and The Partners extra-terrestrial new messaging-based visuals for METI - an organisation trying to contact life beyond Earth.

Above+Beyond: Meantime

We love a cool bevvy here in the UK, especially now the sun is hanging around later than 3pm each day. But what we also love is a drink that’s noticeable, like these ones designed for Meantime by Above+Beyond for the London brewer’s flagship beers.

Above+Beyond has designed a distinctive matte black background for Meantime’s three top beers - London Lager, London Pale Ale and Yakima Red - which are launching in small cans for the first time (following suit from the likes of Camden Town and Beavertown).

Although don't be fooled, the once independent brewer Meantime was sold to Asahi Breweries of Japan in 2016. 

A bold typeface and illustrations from the clock where the Greenwich-based company got its name also work to create a simplistic yet strong label. The new look represents the brewery's beginnings as a small lock-up on an industrial estate.

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Above+Beyond is a creative agency that works in the film, music, PR, branding and advertising sectors.

Charlie Smith Design: Piccadilly Vaults

New to the London jewellery scene is Piccadilly Vaults, a brand opening up shop in Piccadilly Arcade. It asked Charlie Smith Design to design the store’s visual identity, packaging and other promotional assets in time for the big launch.

Piccadilly Vaults wanted to be known for ‘unusual treasures’, and the idea of a mythological sea creature - the Kraken - soon became central to the overall visual identity to achieve this. Charlie Smith Design commissioned illustrator Olivia Knapp to produce this detailed illustration of the Kraken.

Olivia’s hand-drawn pen and ink style is influenced by European line engravings of decorative relief and scientific specimens from the 16th to 18th centuries.

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However, getting the tone just right proved no small feat - the beast had to be both a menace and beautiful, so a lot of sketches and refinements were made. The Kraken appears to be centuries old, lurking in the depths of the ocean, and with a gold touch and the background of dark inky blue paper, the illustration is captivating.

The Kraken is complimented with a more standard typography, with the aim to be timeless, premium and luxurious.

Charlie Smith Design works on projects from brand identities, packaging and signage to exhibition graphics, websites and books. Recent projects include signage for Byron and a new pizza restaurant in Hoxton Square.

The Partners: Messaging Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (METI)

Probably one of the strangest branding experiences for The Partners, METI is an organisation that doesn’t rule out the possibility of “life beyond Earth”, conducting scientific research and educational programmes in Messaging Extra-terrestrial Intelligence. But the organisation’s main point of difference is ‘messaging’, which The Partners took and extrapolated into a wider visual identity.

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The Partners needed to do a little bit of research into code systems, messaging and the origins of language to create their own binary language for METI - and the result is pretty amazing.

Inspired by the Arecibo message, the 1974 interstellar radio communication broadcast into space, the brand used binary code to represent simple graphic pictograms about life on Earth and the convention of writing - 'Hello, World!'.

The Partners combined the two to create METI’s own message - 'Hello, Universe'. As a greeting to the universe, the phrase also works on business cards, and the allows room for translation. Even the METI employees can have cards that link the binary language with their own native language on Earth.

The Roman alphabet in binary becomes a metaphor for a universal language. The typography and colour scheme reflects the theme of research, and the square translation brackets hint at scientific annotations. The METI logo is based on a square grid that uses binary patterns.

The Partners also created posters where you pop out perforated squares to create a binary message, and simple postcards where people are encouraged to create their own communication.

The Partners is a marketing agency based in London with big-name clients such as the BBC, Coca-cola and Ford.

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