Wee Mac Scottish-Style Ale by Sun King Brewery

Label Approval by | Nov 2016 | Issue #118

For a brewery whose marketing director started out washing kegs, Sun King’s redesign isn’t surprising. Even the Indiana brewery’s milestones are couched in a beta mindset.

“I remember when we had our first cans printed at Ball, and I was standing there with the Sunlight and Wee Mac cans thinking they were the coolest, best-looking cans I’d ever seen,” says co-founder Clay Robinson. “But almost immediately after going through the process and learning more about how cans are made and printed, I realized that there was so much room for improvement.”

When they started distributing to sports venues and grocery stores, “we found that our more elaborate old logo was difficult to pick out from a distance,” says marketing director Mike Atwood.

Atwood, a former IT guy, had no formal art training. “My Photoshop and Illustrator skills are self-taught out of Teach Yourself in 36 Hours books and online tutorials,” he says.

Working with former Sun King artist Shane Brown, Atwood streamlined the fonts and simplified the descriptions and logos. “The challenge is making sure you don’t go too far afield from where you started,” says Atwood.

That meant the Wee Mac Scottish-Style Ale packaging couldn’t change too dramatically. One of Sun King’s flagships, the can “is a nod to a Scottish coat of arms, with a phoenix, a shield, and the sort of tapestry you might find in a Scottish castle,” says Atwood.

The “earthy on black” colors pop against the aluminum, says Robinson, calling up the rich malts of the dark, Scottish-style ale.

Like Atwood, Robinson and co-founder Dave Colt are also self-taught. Part of the learning process is continual improvement, Robinson says. “It’s important to refresh the designs regularly to keep them relevant and make sure they continue to stand out.”

Even after recent upgrades that tripled its canning speed and nearly doubled its capacity, Sun King is thinking ahead. “There are still, and will probably always be, things that come up and changes that we want to make,” says Robinson.