Courtesy of Matt Everley / m.e.designlab

Artist Matt Everley created 52 original logos and beer names for the project.

Mike Pomranz
August 15, 2017

Good beers come with all sorts of labels. Their packaging the runs the gamut from things like Maine Beer Company’s black text on white paper to Pipeworks Brewing Company’s comic book on a can. But all beer labels and logos have one thing in common: Someone had to design them—and that person probably put a decent amount of thought into creating what is hopefully an enticing visual pitch to customers.

The importance of a beer’s label is at the heart of a recent exhibit at the Hickory, North Carolina’s Hickory Museum of Art. For his project “Beer Type Logos,” local graphic artist Matt Everley decided to get inside the mind of a brewer, creating his own fake beer names and the logos that would go along with them. “I’ve always thought the Holy Grail for designers is beer labels and album covers,” Everley told the Hickory Record.

Courtesy of Matt Everley / m.e.designlab

Courtesy of Matt Everley / m.e.designlab

Everley already has some experience in the world of beer label art. He’s worked with nearby breweries like Granite Falls Brewing Company and Blowing Rock Brewing on their packaging. But his recent exhibit allowed an additional level of creativity, not just dealing with the artwork, but deciding on the beer names and getting to think through the entire brewing process. “I think what’s cool is the story behind anything. You always wonder what (brewers) were thinking at the time they name a beer,” Everley said. “I’m wondering when the brewer used this kind of hop, what was he thinking and how much do I play that into some kind of visual element.”

Beer Type Logos features 52 different original brewery/beer combinations, all using different typefaces, developed over the course of a year. Everley said the designs are based on an imagined beer he thinks he would enjoy or are inspired by existing beers.

Courtesy of Matt Everley / m.e.designlab

Courtesy of Matt Everley / m.e.designlab

Though the idea of designing fake logos for fake beers might sound like pointless work, Everley explained why he enjoys the concept. “I like pairing visuals with a beer, with the thought behind that beer and making it original. I think another challenge is everybody on the whole beer shelf wants to be standing off the shelf,” he said. “I think the brewers and the owners are trying to bring individuality or bring that sense of personality to each beer, and it’s a fine line or combination of trying to be original and stand out, be understandable, be straight forward.”

Maybe at some point, a brewer will even be inspired by one of Everley’s original labels and use it to create a beer inspired by the logo. That would certainly be a novel approach.

Beer Type Logos is on display at the Hickory Museum of Art through September 17th.