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New Hokkaido asked us to create a cross-cultural connection between people and beer.
The challenge was multi-faceted: combine the tradition of brewing in Hokkaido, Japan (home of Sapporo and other famous brands) with craft brews from the Pacific Northwest.
The beer would then eventually be brewed in Hong Kong for distribution in both Asia and the PNW. The main beer ingredient would come from Hokkaido, and we needed to capture the spirit and essence of its pristine beauty.
Our design solution was born from discovery: the family crest on the kimono of our clients’ grandmother, the pristine beauty of Hokkaido–Japan’s northern-most island–and the culture, art and legends of the native Ainu people.
Nimble tree spirits? A phantom with icy breath that freezes victims solid? The elusive mountain echo that takes the form of a monkey-dog?
The legends of Japan are important cultural stories, and inspired us to honor the place and spirit. Each folk tale comes to life with inventive micro-prose that guides each beer varietal.
We worked with an illustration studio in Tokyo whose work is a synthesis of ancient woodblock prints and a bold, modern, Japanese aesthetic.
The typographic design works within “screens” that float above the 360-degree illustration–printed on a metalized polypropylene label stock with ink knockouts to simulate the silver can. By printing on this substrate, we were able to erase the separation between ‘label’ and ‘can’, and bring the icy cold landscapes to life.