Emma M Weiss
Emma M Weiss
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package design: dutch golden age beer

For this project, I was to either design a new brand or redesign an existing brand and create the package design for a line of products.

I decided to execute an idea for a limited edition series of the Dutch beer brand, Amstel, that would highlight a series of painters from the 17th-century Dutch Golden Age period. These six-packs would rotate every month for six months, featuring six main Golden Age painters: Rembrandt van Rijn, Judith Leyster, Rachel Ruysch, Johannes Vermeer, Gesina ter Borch, and Jacob Ruisdael. The even split of three female and three male artists is a way of elevating unsung female artists of the era to the same level of familiarity and admiration held by male artists like Rembrandt and Vermeer.

Each six-pack includes pairs of bottles with three different main works by the artist featured on the label. This particular set features Rembrandt van Rijn and three of his major paintings.

 Amstel is a brand that is deeply proud of its Dutch heritage, as well as active partners with institutions such as UEFA that pursue Dutch traditions. A natural— as well as new and different — extension of these values is to support an extremely rich history in art, especially Dutch Golden Age painting (an intentional reflection of their “golden” beer).  The intended audience for this limited edition series is a couple of groups. One includes existing customers of Amstel, who might be intrigued by a new design; another is the group of people more interested in independent breweries, who would likewise be intrigued by the design and decide to try Amstel; another is the art community, who would recognize the works of art on the label and therefore buy the beer pack and bottles for keepsake purposes. These people are young adults to middle age, who enjoy beer for its community and celebratory spirit.  Thus, this limited edition seeks to foster a fusion between two strong communities: those who come together over beer, and those who come together over art. This fusion strengthens both of these communities by promoting an environment of conviviality and encouraging conversation over both beer and art.

Amstel is a brand that is deeply proud of its Dutch heritage, as well as active partners with institutions such as UEFA that pursue Dutch traditions. A natural— as well as new and different — extension of these values is to support an extremely rich history in art, especially Dutch Golden Age painting (an intentional reflection of their “golden” beer).

The intended audience for this limited edition series is a couple of groups. One includes existing customers of Amstel, who might be intrigued by a new design; another is the group of people more interested in independent breweries, who would likewise be intrigued by the design and decide to try Amstel; another is the art community, who would recognize the works of art on the label and therefore buy the beer pack and bottles for keepsake purposes. These people are young adults to middle age, who enjoy beer for its community and celebratory spirit.

Thus, this limited edition seeks to foster a fusion between two strong communities: those who come together over beer, and those who come together over art. This fusion strengthens both of these communities by promoting an environment of conviviality and encouraging conversation over both beer and art.

 The design presents the works of art on three sides of the six-pack carrier. Their images take up almost the entirety of each surface, which highlights and celebrates the quality of Rembrandt’s masterful painterly style.

The design presents the works of art on three sides of the six-pack carrier. Their images take up almost the entirety of each surface, which highlights and celebrates the quality of Rembrandt’s masterful painterly style.

 Each beer bottle label does this as well, in full wrap-around paper labels that have much more texture than existing plastic sticker labels on Amstel bottles. As customers hold their beer and run their fingers over the label, they may almost feel the paint.

Each beer bottle label does this as well, in full wrap-around paper labels that have much more texture than existing plastic sticker labels on Amstel bottles. As customers hold their beer and run their fingers over the label, they may almost feel the paint.

 The carriers also have a display quality, with Rembrandt’s famous  The Night Watch  featured on one horizontal side that encourages people to walk up to it and engage with the artwork.

The carriers also have a display quality, with Rembrandt’s famous The Night Watch featured on one horizontal side that encourages people to walk up to it and engage with the artwork.

  The Mill  and his 1659  Self Portrait  on each narrow side of the carrier — the sides that would be outward-facing in liquor store fridges — also serve this purpose, as well as offer a reprieve from a sea of loud, graphic-heavy six-packs. In this reprieve, customers are intrigued and encouraged to choose this package over others.

The Mill and his 1659 Self Portrait on each narrow side of the carrier — the sides that would be outward-facing in liquor store fridges — also serve this purpose, as well as offer a reprieve from a sea of loud, graphic-heavy six-packs. In this reprieve, customers are intrigued and encouraged to choose this package over others.

 The other side of the six-pack features his signature and a small amount of information about his work for curious customers, laid over a texture of the signatures of each of the other artists in the series (to be released) to hint at what is coming next.

The other side of the six-pack features his signature and a small amount of information about his work for curious customers, laid over a texture of the signatures of each of the other artists in the series (to be released) to hint at what is coming next.

 The bottles each also include a sentence about each artwork on the back of the label to spark curiosity and conversation as customers drink their beer together. The decision to include two of each artwork similarly encourages community, as partners may choose to drink a bottle that features the same painting together.

The bottles each also include a sentence about each artwork on the back of the label to spark curiosity and conversation as customers drink their beer together. The decision to include two of each artwork similarly encourages community, as partners may choose to drink a bottle that features the same painting together.

 As this limited edition must be regarded as Amstel in the buyer’s eye — not as an entirely new brand. The carriers are the same shape as existing Amstel six-packs to reinforce this, as each beer brand uses their own varieties on the six-pack carrier shape and introducing a new variety for the limited edition would confuse buyers. The designs utilize the existing muted gold and rich burgundy red of the Amstel brand, as well as the Amstel logo at the same size and placement, with just slight variation. Instead of the brand colors’ and logo’s traditional metallic shine, the Dutch Golden Age edition takes this away from the logo as well as introduces a canvas pattern.  These choices not only reflect the canvas of the painters exhibited by the edition, but also function to make the designs more approachable. Because this limited edition displays fine art on bottles of familiar, non-specialty beer, it is necessary to stay away from a highbrow, overtly museum-like presentation of the art, as this may alienate some customers. The feature of Rembrandt’s actual signature likewise humanizes the design, offering a way for customers to identify with the artist and artwork.

As this limited edition must be regarded as Amstel in the buyer’s eye — not as an entirely new brand. The carriers are the same shape as existing Amstel six-packs to reinforce this, as each beer brand uses their own varieties on the six-pack carrier shape and introducing a new variety for the limited edition would confuse buyers. The designs utilize the existing muted gold and rich burgundy red of the Amstel brand, as well as the Amstel logo at the same size and placement, with just slight variation. Instead of the brand colors’ and logo’s traditional metallic shine, the Dutch Golden Age edition takes this away from the logo as well as introduces a canvas pattern.

These choices not only reflect the canvas of the painters exhibited by the edition, but also function to make the designs more approachable. Because this limited edition displays fine art on bottles of familiar, non-specialty beer, it is necessary to stay away from a highbrow, overtly museum-like presentation of the art, as this may alienate some customers. The feature of Rembrandt’s actual signature likewise humanizes the design, offering a way for customers to identify with the artist and artwork.

 Understanding a culture’s art is a way to enrich an understanding of the culture itself. The Dutch Golden Age limited edition version of the worldwide Amstel brand celebrates the rich traditional of Dutch art in a similar way that the brand celebrates other aspects of Dutch tradition. It brings Dutch culture to worldwide audiences in a new and tasteful way, while also encouraging an appreciation of art in a relaxed manner.

Understanding a culture’s art is a way to enrich an understanding of the culture itself. The Dutch Golden Age limited edition version of the worldwide Amstel brand celebrates the rich traditional of Dutch art in a similar way that the brand celebrates other aspects of Dutch tradition. It brings Dutch culture to worldwide audiences in a new and tasteful way, while also encouraging an appreciation of art in a relaxed manner.