I have been a fan of Ron Pattinson ever since I first read Getting Real and started following his advice. Now, after having written a number of articles and books on innovation and creativity, I have a project that I think he will be happy to help me with.
It’s taken me a while to find the right person to collaborate with, but I finally did. I approached Ron about my idea and he, without hesitation, said, “Yes, let’s do it.”
We decided to take on a complete redesign of the traditional beer drinking man image. We wanted to create a modern twist on an old stereotype. The result was a fun project that we are both proud of. So, let’s have a look.
To start with, let’s talk about the typography. The art of the beer drinking man has been around for a very long time and it has always been done in a very traditional manner. For our new design, we wanted to bring back that vintage feel while incorporating a little modernism. We settled on an italicized, serif typeface for the text and a sans-serif typeface for the headings.
Innovative, creative, and unique are three terms commonly used to describe entrepreneurs. These are also the terms used to describe Ron Pattinson. When we think about the traditional beer drinking man, we usually think about a staid, gray figure clad in a plain, dark suit with a dull, yellow tie and a pocket handkerchief. What we actually get when we think of these terms is someone who usually wears a colorful, patterned dress shirt, has a quirky sense of humor, and is often found at the forefront of social change.
We wanted to bring that same sense of humor to our hero. So, we started playing with the idea of using a color scheme in our design that would represent the three terms. As you can probably guess, we settled on an olive green, teal, and yellow color scheme. When we put these three colors together, we were able to create something that is at once familiar and yet modern. I like to think of it as timeless yet trendy.
One of the things I love about Ron’s work is the way he thinks about design. When I first started reading Getting Real, I would always see circles and other organic shapes. It wasn’t until later that I started seeing more rectangles and squares. It turns out that these are the building blocks of design, and not some florist-like arrangement of petals and stems.
The rectangle, for example, is an excellent basis for a design. By using it in a variety of ways, we are able to create something unique and appealing. We decided to use a grayish beige for the base color of our frame and then used various hues of teal, olive green, and yellow for the surround. The result is a soft color clash that nonetheless works together because of its proximity on the color wheel. We wanted to keep things simple yet appealing, so we chose a two-tone color scheme, but you could easily pull off a three-tone scheme if you wanted to go the extra mile.
If you’ve ever met Ron, you know he has a quiet charisma and people always want to listen to what he has to say. It’s not that loud voices or big personalities don’t work, but Ron is a natural leader who can inspire people to action. He is also a brilliant strategist and a creative problem-solver, so it was only natural that he would apply those skills to our project.
The headings in our design were chosen for their uniformity. We wanted to keep things simple, so we chose one typeface for the whole piece. That way we didn’t have to think about matching letters or looking for the closest approximation of a serif or sans-serif typeface. We also chose to do something different with the subheadings by using a brush-like texture to make them pop a bit more against the solid background color.
In keeping with our three-term theme, we wanted to incorporate fashion into our design. One way of doing so is by borrowing fashion-related terms for our own use. If you’ve ever been to a bar or pub in London, you may have noticed patrons wearing bow ties and other types of quirky neckwear. We wanted to bring that style into our design, so we looked up the terms bow tie, flower crown, and pocket handkerchief, which are all associated with vintage fashion and reclaimed 1950s retro styles. We decided to combine those three unique items into one stylish look.
The only thing we needed was someone to model our design for us. So, we turned to the internets and found a vintage tie, a leather vest, and a white shirt in perfect condition. Then, we just had to find a way to make them wear those awesome clothes.
As a society, we have a social problem with alcohol, and it’s one of the biggest problems in the western world. I don’t want to get too political here, but I think it’s safe to say that our society has accepted violence and criminal activity as a result of consuming alcohol. I’m not saying that violence and criminal activity are the only problems that result from excessive alcohol consumption, but those are certainly notable symptoms of a much larger issue.
We wanted to put a stop to that violence and criminality by illustrating how good alcohol can be when used appropriately. When people think about the dangers of alcohol, they usually think about the extreme cases. But, there is a wonderful world of craft beer out there, and we wanted to bring that world to light. So, we decided to pair a delicious, locally brewed beer with our stylish beer drinking man.
Our final design element is something that I’ve always wanted to see in a magazine: a craft beer list. I love craft beer and I think it’s important to support local businesses, especially in an era when so many are struggling. So, we decided to make a list of the breweries that we adore, as well as a few others that we’ve had the pleasure of trying once at a pub or bar. It doesn’t have to be a long list; just the good old classics that any beer lover would want to try.
It would be great if we could get local pubs and bars to hand write the names of their beers on little pieces of paper, which we could then stuff into the top of our flask. Or, perhaps, we’d carry around a little bag of individually wrapped beer bottles.
I hope you enjoyed this overview of our design process. It’s always an interesting process to work through when brainstorming ideas for a new project. And, as you may imagine, this is not the only project I’ve had the pleasure of working on with Ron. You can find him on Twitter @RonPattinson if you want to stay in touch.