Big Bad John Package Design

2020 - Student Work

BIG BAD JOHN is the first beer of my hypothetical future brewery, tentatively known as "Easy Rider Brewing Company." The initial look I had envisioned was to be my take on the trend of old Western inspired design growing in popularity in cities such as Austin Texas, (unofficially titled the, "Austin Design Wave," by Indiana-based agency, CODO Design.) At the same time, I wanted to use this opportunity to create something that is distinctly my own by trying to explore and define what my personal style looks and feels like. When designing the label, I began by trying to mimic the "Austin Design" style, but my personal style quickly took over. The final product's illustration and use of shape and color feel authentic to myself, while the typography reflects my Austin design inspiration.

Label Shape

I used this opportunity to rethink what aluminum can artwork could look like by challenging myself to stay away from the typical rectangle label shape. I landed on a two-piece, semi overlapping design, with special consideration to unique shape and negative space. With this approach, the labels themselves serve as the artwork, allowing the interior space focused on clean typography with minimal supplemental design elements. The final result is a product which would stand out on a shelf, without compromising on legibility or presentation of information.

The form of the labels were inspired by desert landscapes, then simplified and built with geometric shapes. Big Bad John, the focal and central form of the label, is a hand drawn interpretation of Western music legend, Marty Robbin's iconic pose on his album, "Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs."


Because the form of the label is relatively simple, I saw opportunity in leaning more on the type for expression. For the primary marks and headings, I made use of two hand drawn typefaces created by designers who are inspired by the same type of desert environment which inspired Big Bad John. The smaller body text needed to be more legible so I used the tried and true Courier New whose thin stroke and slab serifs provided the perfect compliment to the display type in both anatomy and style.


A strong color palette was imperative to the success of the design; the solid fills of the labels provide the contrast between each other as well as the aluminum can they are set upon. The colors I landed on are an exaggerated take on the natural earth tones present in the desert; I chose these louder colors to remain consistent with the overall playful take upon Western motifs present in my other elements.