Art Direction Concepting Illustration Print Design

3 wise illustrations

Art Direction / Concepting / Illustration / Print Design

So for Christmas last year the brewery Røde Port decided they needed help with concepting the name and label sticker for their Christmas beer. The market for Christmas beer is quite saturated, as Christmas has become the biggest beer event of the year. Many rely on corny or kitchy attributes directly taken from the (American) Christmas tradition: Green, red white. Santas and reindeers. The whole shabang. I suggested we’d try something different – naming the beer “Myrr” or in Danish “Myrraskær”. Myrr is, for those not in the know, one of the 3 gifts the wise men supposedly brought baby Jesus on his first birthday. The story of 3 men on camel back riding through the lands is not only a tale of our Western Christmas traditions, but also the story of centuries of precious cargo travelling long journeys to end up in cousines elsewhere. That is also how the tales of many great beers got started.

Looking back, I personally find the original Myrr illustration I made a little crude. It is quite clear that it was only meant to be the background of something else. I however remember enjoying mixing up elements of illustration (vectors) and photos (pixels). The colors are also grading in an interesting way. I kind of wanted to create tension by using high contrast, even complimentary colors.

So now, a couple of years into having produced Myrr, we wanted to get back to the thought of having not only one seasonal beer – but 3. Luckily coinciding with the number of gifts the wise men brought.

The second label we created is “Gold”. It may not appear super funny to a non-Dane, but everyone in Denmark knows what a “Gold Beer” is and know it to be a rather boozy, sweet common man’s beer. To expand on that extremely funny joke, I wanted to make the label illustration to be extremely lux. Gold is a super weird texture to have to reflect in an illustration – especially for print. Have a look and see if I succeeded:

So what were the 3 gifts in total? Myrr, Gold and … Francincense! You sense it already from the “insense” part – this is a smoky beer. Funnily, the Danish word “Røgelse” for Francincense almost just means “smoke”. The beer is not only smoked, it is also a very dark beer and I wanted that reflected too. As the attentive reader will notice, the men are at different places in each illustration. That was on purpose, because I wanted it to look like they were moving when putting the beers side by side. Haha. I am so funny.