Fieldwork Brewing Co.’s Galaxy Sauce Double IPA

Label Approval by | Nov 2017 | Issue #130

For the folks at Fieldwork Brewing Co., it’s all about adventure—from their outdoor lifestyles to bursts of experimental beer releases. And what better way to capture that feeling on Fieldwork’s packaging than through photographs?

“The photography style is meant to resemble ’50s and ’60s photos in National Geographic magazine,” says Ian Gordon, co-founder of Gamut design studio.

While each Fieldwork label features a different image, Gamut creates consistency by spreading the image across the entire design surface (“we wanted the photos to really be the can,” says Gordon) and by running it through a preset that creates an autochrome, vintage look.

“It takes our cans in the opposite direction from the HDR, oversaturated world of imagery we live in today,” says Alex Tweet, head brewer and co-owner of the Berkeley, Calif., brewery. “Sort of how the cracks and pops of vinyl can actually contribute to certain music and create a different feel, the graininess of our images creates [our own] aesthetic.”

For Galaxy Sauce Double IPA, “we took the Galaxy Juice IPA label—a simple image of a campsite under the stars—and imperialized it,” says Tweet.

The result is an image that captures an “illuminated expedition tent in Swedish Lapland under the northern lights, with visual details of cartography overlaid on the image,” says Tweet.

Finding an image to match a beer’s name can range from straightforward, like Daypack Pale Ale, to very tricky, like Tiger Uppercut, which references a move from the video game Street Fighter II. (They ended up using an image from a scene in the game, Gordon notes.)

Another advantage of using photographs on their cans: turnaround. “The challenge with Fieldwork was that their beer releases happen in bunches, and very quickly,” explains Gordon. “Doing something that would require unique illustrations or custom art on a can-by-can basis would be pretty much impossible.”

“At the end of the day our aesthetic needed to match our taste,” says Tweet. “It’s always obvious when a brand is built for the beer and not the humans.”