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Beer Identity: Ballast Point Big Eye

Beer Identity is a series where I share my opinions on the overall graphic design of a beer’s packaging and branding. I discuss the overall brand of the brewery, the design of the packaging, the label design, and what led me to pick this particular beer off the shelf in the first place. All of the photos in this post were taken by me, with the beer I grabbed off the shelf. I welcome any comments, agreement, and criticism on twitter at @AirshipDesignCo. Cheers!

The Brand

Ballast Point is a San Diego based brewery that pride themselves on their home brewing roots and their desire to experiment with new styles of beer to try new things. The founder’s love of fishing can also be seen in the names of their beers with most of their offerings named after fish or fishing terms.

The entire brand got a substantial overhaul in 2013 with a new logo and brand new packaging by San Diego agency MiresBall. The history of the Ballast Point logo can be found on their website, and this new design wonderfully captures what this brewery is all about.

ballast-point-logo1The new logo is, well, just plain fun to look at. There is an excellent balance between the type, icon, and detail elements so nothing gets overshadowed by one another. The words “Ballast Point” jump out in strong, red type and the overall logo is capable of being used in a variety of sizes and options. The sextant icon works wonderfully with the brand’s message of moving forward and exploring new possibilities, while also just looking pretty darn cool as well.

My only issue with this logo is the use of a single typeface for all three typographic elements. The same typeface (Brothers) is used on the packaging as well, and while it creates a nice level of brand consistency, it means that there are a lot of bold words jumping out at you which creates a bit of competition for your attention.

Choosing the beer

Having a big, bright illustration of a bigeye tuna doesn’t hurt when you’re trying to grab someone’s attention. The artwork is very detailed and not what you normally see on beer packaging. I’d be lying if I said the big picture of a fish was what got me to pick this beer out, but it did grab my attention. The 6-pack of cans in a box is still a pretty uncommon style of packaging, making it stand out even more from the crowd.

The main reason I grabbed this and not something else was because I’ve had Ballast Point’s beer before and it was *really* good. Really, really good. A quality product builds trust, and I trusted Ballast Point wouldn’t let me down. (Spoiler: they didn’t.)



The Can

The can design is simple and beautiful. The cream color really makes the brightly colored type jump out. Not a lot of fuss here, just the logo and the beer’s name with a description and legal text on the back. Like pretty much every part of the packaging, it’s just plain nice to look at.

The design is really focused on brand appeal over the individual style of the beer. Not using the painting of the bigeye tuna on the box on the cans as well seems like a missed opportunity to continue using the most unique element of this design. Opting to focus 75% of the front of the can to the logo creates a nice consistency between their different varieties of beers, but it makes them a bit sterile and lacking in the personality that the box had.

(EDIT: There are a lot of pros and cons for deciding to focus on either the brand or the beer itself when designing beer packaging. I wrote about it in the post, Designing Focused Beer Labels That Sell.)



Ballast Point gets major points in the consistency category. There brand is tightly focused, and they never deviate from it. The typography is solid, the colors are bright and beautiful, and the imagery they use is fun and unique. An all around good looking brand and design.

On top of all that, this beer was really good. It lived up to the high standards I’ve come to expect from Ballast Point and anyone who grabs a 6-pack of Big Eye off the shelf will not be disappointed. [untappd]

« How to Avoid the Obvious in Logo Design | Designing Focused Beer Labels That Sell »

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