In recent years we’ve had the pleasure of working with Outside Lands music and arts festival in San Francisco, and this year we were happy to add a new character to the festival’s official mascots. Joining Golden Gate Park Ranger Dave is now Ranger Ruth! Check out our illustration of Ruth here, along with some photos of how the real life character made her inaugural appearance at the festival.
Of all the Almanac Beer Co. projects we’ve had the pleasure of taking on, perhaps the most exciting has been getting to create a large-scale mural for their new brewery in Alameda, CA. Almanac’s founders asked us to create an isometric scene (similar to our previous can illustrations) that was evocative of a map of the bay area, bridging their two homes of San Francisco and Alameda, while also infusing the design with lots of little easter eggs, paying tribute to some of their favorite pop culture icons. See if you can spot them all including Ren & Stimpy, Star Trek, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Rick & Morty, Monty Python, and Firefly.
The mural itself is a 40’ x 17’ behemoth, installed by the great team at Sterling Graphics in San Francisco. After considering both hand-painted and decal applications, the shear size and detail of the artwork led to the wallpaper style decal approach as the best option. You can see a video of the installation process below, along with our initial sketch and photo of the finished artwork, but we highly recommend stopping by the brewery to enjoy the mural in-person, paired with a cold pint.
Initial Concept Sketch
The latest IPA release from Almanac is their Don’t Call It Frisco Double IPA. To commemorate the beer and the city of its origin, we created a label illustration depicting San Francisco residents spanning the history of the city. To go along with the beer, Almanac also released a t-shirt featuring the characters from the label. Both are available at Almanac’s two Bay Area locations.
"Don’t Call it Frisco 16oz Cans! Check out the full wrap label for this dry special hop bomb, wrapped in an illustrated history of San Francisco residents and epochs, each contributing to our favorite city’s unique character. Brought to life by the pixel-pushers at DKNG Studios, we can’t wait to share this incredible DIPA with you. Brewed with an irresponsible amount of hops, Don’t Call It Frisco! is our locals-only lupulin bomb. This impossibly fresh Double IPA is made to be enjoyed within days of packaging. A simple malt base provides the liquid canvas for a double dry-hop of Citra and Galaxy hops, producing aromas of passionfruit, grapefruit, stone fruit, and lemongrass. Call it fresh, call it hoppy, juicy or dank—just Don’t Call It Frisco!"
Almanac cans are back! We’re excited to share the first label we designed for Almanac’s new line of 16 oz. cans, which also happens to be the first beer ever canned at their new Alameda brewery! The label shares its artwork with the soon to be installed mural that will grace the walls of the brewery, and features the entire Bay Area along with some unexpected landmarks and visitors.
“The label on our New Taproom Smell IPA features a DKNG-designed mural that will soon adorn our Alameda taproom wall. It's a fantastical 3D homage to the Bay Area and our proud new home on the island of Alameda in the East Bay. We wanted a bright, colorful and humorous backdrop for what we hope will be many years of great beer and great conversation shared among families and friends in our new home. You'll see iconic references to the area like the Oakland Bay Bridge, San Francisco Ferry Plaza Building, Port of Oakland, East Bay hills and Alameda Naval Base. And if you look closely, you just might notice a few of Damian and Jesse's personal creative flourishes inserted throughout. Yes, we are sci-fi and fantasy geeks. DKNG once again brought our creative vision masterfully to life!”
Our series of art prints inspired by vintage travel postcards rolls on with two new additions - Los Angeles and San Francisco. Each print celebrates some of our favorite locations in two of our favorite cities.
Greetings from Los Angeles and Greetings from San Francisco are each 14” x 11" three color screen prints on French Kraft-tone Index Off-White 100lb paper, and both feature metallic gold ink which you can check out in the photos of the prints below. All Greetings From prints (including Austin, TX) are now available in the DKNG store.
Close Up Shots
We’re excited to share our latest collaboration with Almanac Beer Co. on their new Tropical Galaxy beer, a Galaxy dry hopped sour farmhouse ale aged in oak barrels with mango, lime, and coconut. The name immediately conjured up imagery of 1960s sci-fi wrapped in a tropical vacation. We landed on a beach scene of an astronaut preparing to ride the waves of an alien planet, surrounded by the beer’s ingredients, along with some friendly alien wildlife.
Initial Concept Sketches
This project also gave us the opportunity to embrace the sci-fi cinema look by creating a limited edition poster to commemorate the beer’s release. The poster is an 18” x 24” 5 color screen print on rainbow metallic foil paper, giving the print a sparkling intergalactic appearance. The poster also made an appearance at the annual Screens ’n’ Suds charity event in Chicago with proceeds benefiting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Mockingbird Foundation and Alzheimer's Association.
Tropical Galaxy is now available at the Almanac Taproom in San Francisco and available throughout the country wherever finer beers are sold.
"Tropical Galaxy is a cosmic elixir of lush equatorial flavors. We blended mangoes, lime and coconut together in oak foedres with our farmhouse-brett base beer to create a far out and funky tropical treat. We finished it with a generous dry-hopping of Australian Galaxy Hops, contributing aromas of passionfruit and citrus. Enjoy on your next intergalactic odyssey with fresh crab, jerk chicken or scallop ceviche."
Label Printing Process
We've created the following design mockups of the finished label on both white and black backgrounds for your sharing convenience.
DKNG recently had the opportunity to take on a project that was a first for us…mural design. The challenge was to develop a multi-panel mural for Almanac Beer Co.’s new San Francisco taproom that tied into their existing brand, while also complimenting the new space without overpowering it. The solution turned out to be two separate murals - a large abstract mural featuring the Almanac logo, and a smaller, more detailed mural, featuring an isometric cityscape that incorporated both the Mission district of San Francisco where the taproom is located, along with existing Almanac branding and iconography from their fresh beer series. The murals also incorporate the color palette of the space including the natural wood tones of the bar and seating as well as the blue-gray tones of the hand-finished plaster walls.
Check out our initial sketches for the murals below along with photos of the finished taproom. We also created a time-lapse process video of the awesome team from New Bohemia Signs painting the murals by hand. Their team of four sign painters spent six long days hand painting every inch of the murals! The Almanac San Francisco Taproom is now open at 2704 24th Street.
Time-Lapse Process Video
Initial Concept Sketches
Last year we had the opportunity to design a series of limited edition fresh beer bottles for San Francisco's Almanac Beer Co. Almanac's "Farm to Barrel" process takes advantage of local, seasonal ingredients and has landed them on the map as one of the fastest growing breweries on the west coast. We were thrilled to work with Almanac again on their first venture into canned beer. Each beer's isometric illustration focuses on part of the beer making process - from the orange groves and wheat fields of California, to the brewery, and the city of San Francisco itself. Almanac's Fresh Beer cans are now available in Whole Foods stores throughout California and coming soon to a state near you.
"I first partnered with Nathan and Dan on the design and branding of our 22oz Fresh Beer Limited product line back in 2015. The rollout was very successful and the response to the new branding was intense and immediate. We were onto something. For 2016, we had an exciting new canned six-pack lineup coming out, so I figured it was a great opportunity to expand on our prior success and further evolve the visual language we had developed.
I wanted the cans to be bold, inviting and contemporary—but I also wanted to honor the long legacy of iconic beer brands that came before us. I couldn't be happier with the results. Nathan and Dan crushed my expectations and based on the early response, I think we're going to have another rousing success in our hands."
Co-Founder / CEO
Almanac Beer Co.
"Almanac’s Craft Pilsner is a crisp, dry-hopped lager that provides a West Coast twist on the traditional German style. Citra, Mosaic, Simcoe, and Mandarina Bavaria hops provide a melon and citrus nose backed by 100% Pilsner malt. This beer is crushable, always begging for another sip and pairs well with sushi, outdoor grilling and tames spicy Thai and Mexican dishes."
San Francisco IPA
"This West Coast IPA features an explosive aroma of citrus, tropical fruit and dankness from a blend of Citra, Mosaic, Simcoe, Hallertau Blanc and El Dorado hops. Intensely hoppy without overt bitterness, a light malt backbone balances this IPA, giving it a clean finish and making it a beer to be enjoyed again and again. Inspired by San Francisco but brewed to be enjoyed everywhere. Enjoy with super burritos, hangtown fry, and rich copping."
"This California spin on a saison highlights tropical and floral aromas. An expressive fermentation provides hints of pineapple and white pepper, while a dry-hop of Mosaic and Hallertau Blanc doubles down on tropical aromas of mango and passionfruit. Enjoy this aromatic farmhouse ale with earthy mushroom dishes, funky washed-rind cheeses and al pastor street tacos."
"Mandarina’s tart and citrusy profile makes it the perfect beer for warm, sunny days. The combination of crisp tartness, tangerines and the citrus aromas of Mandarina Bavaria and Citra hops puts this farmhouse ale’s fruity aroma over the top. Pair this summer sipper with a day at the beach, fresh seafood and citrus-infused desserts."
Behind The Scenes
What began as rough ideas and initial sketches (see below) eventually transformed into ink swatches, box mockups, press checks, and finally canning and boxing of the finished product. For more insight into the process, check out our appearance on the Adventures in Design podcast episode 395 (player below).
We’re excited to be back on board with our friends at Outside Lands creating the branding for the 2016 edition of the San Francisco festival. The poster and logo above will serve as the key art for the event and we'll be sharing additional work as we approach August. In the meantime, check out The Muppets announcing the 2016 lineup in the video below.
Muppets Promotional Video
Initial Concept Sketch/Proposal
2015 let us check an important item off of our bucket list - having the opportunity to design a beer label. Almanac Beer Co. is a quickly growing brewery based in San Francisco, and specializes in unique, fresh and barrel aged beers using local ingredients. We worked with Almanac to design their new line of fresh, seasonal beers which are all based on historic eras in San Francisco’s history. As for the bottles themselves, instead of a typical paper label, the seasonal bottles feature a full 360º wrap, screen printed directly onto the glass.
First up in the spring was Valencia Gold, a golden ale brewed with Valencia Oranges and orange blossom honey. Valencia Gold celebrates the Mission District of San Francisco during the 1850s gold rush era. The artwork includes Mission Dolores Church in a street scene representing the city’s skyline at the time.
Emperor Norton celebrates a folk hero in the history of the city. Perhaps the most famous and beloved homeless resident of San Francisco, Emperor Norton garnered a huge cult following during the late 19th century and forecast important bay area developments including the construction of a trans-bay bridge. The beer itself is a dry-hopped Belgian style ale brewed with apricots.
Paris of the West harkens back to the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition that took place in San Francisco 100 years ago. The ferry building and waterfront are featured on the bottle as well as the Playland amusement park erected on the boardwalk at the time. Paris of the West is a Quadrupel Ale brewed with flame raisins, candi sugar, and oranges.
Barbary Coast concludes the series of the four seasonal releases with one of the most debaucherous times in San Francisco History. Early 20th century sailors visited what is now the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco to visit saloons, dance halls, and ladies of the night. Barbary Coast is an Imperial Stout brewed with cacao nibs, chili pepper, oak, and sea salt.
Almanac is quickly expanding its distribution but these limited edition seasonals are only available while supplies last. Available where finer beers are sold, contact Almanac to find out if their beers are sold in your neighborhood.
Thanks to our friends at Down the Street Designs for providing the animations throughout this post.