Denizens Brewing Co. Rebrand

A comprehensive rebrand of Silver Spring Maryland’s premier brewery.

Design is about instinct.

How it looks, what it speaks, what it stands for. But a brand is the personality of the company and the emotions they want you to feel. Branding goes deeper than an identity system. A good brand has power. It transcends your product. It symbolizes something greater. Makes us part of your tribe. Your story. But what happens if your brand isn’t representing your story? Rebranding is about more than just slapping up a new logo and calling it a day. It goes deeper, challenges you to think, and forces the consumer to select. Is this brand for me or not?

A menu chalk board.
2 beer coasters with the new logo.
Sticker with the new logo.
Two crew memebers from Denizene looking.
Two growlers with the new logos.
Beer coming from a tap into a cup with the new logo.

The Challenge

What is a denizen?

Denizens came to us with a bit of an identity crisis. Their challenges included an existing logo that wasn't resonating or representative and confusion over their name. They wanted to stand out at festivals, evolve their logo and tagline, convey their independent spirit and craft a story to explain ... WHAT IS A DENIZEN?

Hopeful Outcome

A new logo, brand story, color palette, tag line, can designs, branded merchandise and templates for additional themed merchandise, website design and marketing / event materials to position Denizens as a passionate and active player in a very competitive yet tight knit craft brewing scene.

Scope of Project

STRATEGY
MESSAGING
BRANDING AND IDENTITY DESIGN
BRAND STORY
CAN DESIGN
MERCHANDISE DESIGN
TEMPLATES FOR FUTURE MERCHANDISE

*Website design was NOT included

The war room where many of the ideas were born.

THE BEGINNING

IFDC likes beer

And we were ecstatic when we learned a brewing company had moved in next door to our shop. We were honored when founders and co-owners, Julie Verratti, Emily Bruno, and Jeff Ramirez came to us seeking help with rebranding their almost 3-year old business which included their brewery, taproom and beer distribution. IFDC spent many days sitting with the team to truly understand their challenges and future plans. Luckily, there was awesome beer flowing so it made for a pretty smooth research phase.

BRAND DEFINITION

Defining the brand creates a roadmap and a filter for which the company can check all communication and decisions against. And knowing that one of the main pain points was brand confusion, we made this priority #1. What is a Denizen? And how can the brewery's unique conception story be easily and consistently told? So we got to work. We studied and talked and tacked up every beer (and non beer) logo and can design under the sun. We researched and listened ... and listened some more. We gathered online reviews and compared notes and came up with our key ingredients. And after all was said and done ... these 5 words rose to the top:

WELCOMING
COMMUNITY
INDEPENDENT
INNOVATIVE
DELICIOUS

VISUAL CREATIVE TONE

Distinctive. Edge.

Distinctive shows you're different, individual, independent and well defined... but edge gives you some room to play.

TAG LINE

Unified by Beer

Roots. They ground us, keep us connected, are our foundation. The root of the word denizen literally means, “from within.” And that is where this all started for us. From within.

We are driven. From the beginning we tapped into our community and created a place independent from judgement, welcoming all. Serving those who desire consistency over efficiency and flavor over convenience. We value independence because it gives us the opportunity to experiment, play and create.

We want to be here because this is the place we call home. And we want you to feel at home here too - no matter your race, gender or hairstyle. Where all can come on the regular and toast to anything. Because we realize no matter the day or the situation, a delicious beer is guaranteed to make it better.

We work hard. And when prohibition-era barriers prevented us from serving beer made in our own brewery, we didn't pack up and leave. We stayed. We fought. We pioneered self distribution. But most importantly we drove change, from within.

We are who we are. Whether sipping our traditional beers at home or enjoying one of our flagships in the beer garden this is a place that brings people together; you, your friends, and your soon-to-be-new friends. We're all united from within. Because that is what it means to be a denizen. It's a regular, a local. And not just from within the four walls of our tap room, but from deep within our roots. Because at Denizens Brewing Co. we're all Unified by Beer.

Wall of post-it notes to reflect brain storming session.
Can mock ups.
Old Bohemian image.
Collage of logo concepts.

Design Process

Ratios, maths, and a war room

We started our logo design exploration with various beer-related shapes and “DBC” lettering, utilizing the golden ratio and Fibonacci Numbers. One of the designs utilized liquid swishes to form the letters “d” and “b” for Denizens Brewing. We also played around with a hand-drawn snifter glass for a more refined craft feel, combining it with a clean, friendlier typeface. An alternate and more masculine iteration saw a can tab as the main icon. We even tried our hand with a custom typeface to give that vintage feel and honored their heritage by featuring stripes from their existing brand.

Displays the new Denizens Brewing Co. Logo with different gridlines to signify and image editor.

At last ... a logo is born

What we eventually landed on was the logo they needed most, a logo with attitude. Standing proud with a simple stylized standalone star which gives a nod to their past logo (and their DC roots) but did not appear conservative or too traditionally “Americana” but rather bold and stately. Oh, and if you look closely, you can see that there is a “d” and “b” embedded into the star ;) We finished the design with a clean typeface. The bold, condensed font freshens, modernizes and gives the appearance of a more sophomore and professional brand than the original mark.

Progression of logo shows differnt ideas for how to form the star used in the Denizens logo.

2 of the new beer cans.

We absolutely CAN design

For the six beers Denizens distributes in can form, we took their existing icon based character design and evolved it into a more sophisticated and conceptual idea. What if each one of these “characters” were an animal? As the most dog friendly places in town, it just felt right. over the course of the rebrand and closely collaborating with our client and the feedback they were receiving from staff and close clients, we settled on four animals and two non-animal icons but the consistent style allows them to all still feel like one big happy family. Each icon was carefully researched and planned based off the clever name of the beer and its individual story. Here are examples of how we developed each icon into a relevant and compelling way to connect the consumer to the WHAT IS A DENIZEN? story and new all inclusive brand.

Image of all the new denizen beer cans.
Handing drawing sunglasses on monitor. An image of how a art is created starting with an aluminum can layer, a white layer with a cutout of the art work, and then an art layer with gray.
A drawing of a goat with a sideways look and a sneer. A drawing of a bohemian woman with a headband and flower in her long wavey hair.
A drawing of a bird with a monical and a top hat. Handing drawing sunglasses on monitor.
A drawing of a railroad crossing sign.
A drawing of a train moving towards the viewer from the left.
CLIENTDenizens Brewing Co.
CREATIVE DIRECTORHeather Roymans
CREATIVE DIRECTORJustin Kanner
ASSOCIATE CREATIVE DIRECTORErica Kern
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERMonesha Lever
WRITER PRODUCERKristen Edgell
DESIGNERAndrew Caughy
SR. DESIGNERJason Leta
DESIGN INTERNJustyna Kurbiel