Guest Post: Metalman, the design of their brand

The third in this series comes from David Manser of who is responsible for the design of the brand, packaging and other elements of the Metalman Brewing who started up in Waterford, Ireland in 2011.

This is what David had to share about the process:

The Story of the MetalMan Brewing Branding

I first heard from the infectiously enthusiastic Gráinne and Tim back in August 2010 (has it really been a year??!!). I immediately decided that I wanted this gig, so I set about putting together a proposal that was the very best I could make it. Thankfully, Gráinne and Tim liked what they saw, so in what was to become quite a regular occurrence, we celebrated our new association over a pint in Geoff’s, Waterford.


The first step was to get together a mood board for the three of us to go through and get a feel for likes and dislikes and maybe start to feel out a direction for the branding. It really didn’t take long, we all clicked pretty much straight away. Gráinne and Tim had pretty early on decided that they wanted an art-deco inspired theme from the branding.

Most of my research went off to the dark and dingy corners of the Art Deco movement, far removed from the rather beautiful Cassandre travel posters that immediately spring to mind when mentioning Art Deco! I loved the idea of giving the brand an aged, antique feel but applying modern computer techniques to its production.

Initial Concepts

The next step was to begin sketching and refining the scattergun of ideas down to three cohesive directions. The name Metalman inspired some fairly far out (and sometimes plain scary!) directions ala Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. We felt that idea was just too obvious and probably intimidating!

We also hit an issue in that a Tramore family have actually trademarked the MetalMan. I was secretly quite glad, as the Metalman strikes quite a camp pose! We decided that a figurative logo was probably not going to work so moved away from that into a good, strong typographic logo with embellishment to give the right look and feel.

Colour Scheme

The next step was to get the colour schemes agreed. I have a very simple approach to colour. It’s such a subjective thing that I tend to take a back seat and simply advise and suggest. There are of course some colour schemes that I would definitely advise for and against, but when it comes down to it, if the client is committed to a scheme that isn’t inappropriate for the application then I’m always happy to go with it.

As is proper, the artwork evolved from pencil sketches through to Adobe Illustrator vector work and finally into Photoshop where the fun stuff happens! To finalise the project, we presented Gráinne and Tim with a full suite of logo artwork to suit all applications from print to embroidery to signage to web and beyond.

We added an element of flexibility into the design by producing versions that would work in restrictive spaces. When it comes to logo artwork, I always figure that it’s best to try and anticipate problems and provide solutions rather than leave it up to individual end-users to try and fix it their way. That’s how inconsistency creeps in!

From Logo to Collateral

Once the logo was finished we moved on to font heads, beermats, posters, flyers etc. Having gone through the logo development, we all had a very good feel for the brand and to date, the work has rolled out at a rate of knots. Kinda appropriate being that next seasonal brew we were tasked with branding was Windjammer, a rather delicious pale amber beer released for the Tall Ships festival in Waterford.

It’s been a genuine pleasure to get to know and work with Gráinne and Tim. I genuinely enjoy working on their stuff and I look forward to many more brainstorming/new brew tasting sessions in their company!

Dave Manser

Thanks to Dave for that and need to line up another guest post now – if you know of a designer who wants to share their work on an Irish artisan brand design let me know 🙂