Smart Kiwi beer, smart Kiwi design: Studio Alexander picks up international award for WilliamsWarn brand work

Gone are the days when homebrew was a byword for, as your dad might say, bloody undrinkable horse piss. Craft beer is one the major growth areas of the booze market and there are now plenty of interesting brews being concocted in garages, laundries, hot water cupboards, man caves and, of course, breweries all around the country. To tap into the growing number of refined palates, Ian Williams and Anders Warn spent five years developing the world’s first personal brewery, WilliamsWarn, and the design and brand work by Studio Alexander has matched the quality of the product by taking gold in the international Graphis 100 Best in Design awards

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The WilliamsWarn is aimed squarely at what the founders call the ‘beer thinker’ market and it produces commercial quality beer that’s chilled and flows from the tap in just seven days. The company received over 200 offers of distribution from over 50 countries in the first five months and while it was available only in New Zealand initially, the breweries are now being distributed internationally.

“We’re delighted to have been selected by Graphis from the many thousands of entries submitted by agencies internationally,” Studio Alexander managing director Kate Alexander says. “It’s also great that it’s a brand for a truly innovative product, developed by New Zealanders in New Zealand.”

Alexander, who took over as MD from her father in March last year, says it was clear they would be taking an outstanding product to export markets so they wanted a quality of branding and design that would stand up around the world. And, between 2009 and its launch in 2011, Studio Alexander developed naming, positioning, marketing strategy, identity design and graphic system.

The use of the makers’ signatures across collateral shows the personal involvement of the directors/inventors and the WilliamsWarn brand reflects the hand-built, premium feel of the machine with its numbered makers’ plate and stainless steel finish. The ‘W’ shows the coming together of two beer glasses in that ‘cheers’ moment and the circular housing device references beer mats.

A simple and classic colour palette of black and silver references the materials used on the product alongside typography utilising Trade Gothic and applied across stationery, packaging, collateral, website, video and product graphics.

“I was expecting bright colours and a complicated design,” WilliamsWarn director Ian Williams says. “But when I saw the brand work Studio Alexander came up with, I knew immediately it was perfect. It was one of those moments when you know something is right. There was nothing to change and we’ve had a huge amount of very positive feedback.”

Studio Alexander’s WilliamsWarn brand work will feature in Graphis’s 2012 edition of the International Journal of Visual Communication.


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