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Beverage Branding That’s Dotted in Pastels

This month's happy hour takes a softer approach to color

Ah, the end of summer, but the beginning of so many other things! (Corduroy, spontaneous baking, early bedtimes.) Before we roll around in freshly-raked leaves and autumnal tones for the next few months, we’re highlighting a few all-season brands that use playful color year round.  

Jarrett Blackmon: Corner Store Cocktails

The team behind the Kalamazoo, Mich., brand Corner Store Cocktails looked to the branding of other vices — namely vintage cigarette and alcohol ads — when designing the packaging for its line of canned beverages, which launched this past month. Despite the name, Corner Store Cocktails includes mocktails in its offerings: “The Shirley” (in a baby pink can accented with red) and a “Nojito” (in a teal with bubblegum lettering). Founder Jarrett Blackmon says the 1970s-inspired design was done in-house, and that ethos extends to the identity of the entire brand, whose merch includes a ringer tee and a trucker hat. 

Studio MPLS: River St. Joe

An hour west of Kalamazoo is River St. Joe, a Michigan farmstead brewery that launched last summer. The growlers, designed by Studio MPLS, are just one part of the brand identity the Minneapolis-based design studio created for the brewery, which also serves food. The design of the stickers (whose messages include “Grain to Glass,” “Midwest is Best,” and “Your New Favorite”) were inspired by classic family farm signage, says Studio MPLS, “especially those rooted in the Upper Midwest.” Growlers date to the 19th century, but the practice of personalizing one’s beverage receptacle with stickers is an invention of the later 20th century, if not the early 21st. In this sense, this design truly embodies the best of old and new. The muted-but-warm color palette, which complements the amber glass bottles, would be equally at home in an issue of Martha Stewart Living

Felicity Jones: Touchy Coffee

When Felicity Jones designed the packaging for Touchy Coffee’s first canned product, a Brazil Marcelo Assis iced coffee, she let her senses lead the way. “I feel like if I can give these coffees visual personalities that really represent their taste and flavor profile, the right people will be attracted to them,” she says. Jones wanted the design to “feel organic and earthy but also fun – I love using unexpected color pairings as a way to strike that balance.” The creamy white, purple-spotted can, which features text in Beale (“a retro display font from Hoodzpah that feels tropical and a bit silly / loose / easy, like summertime should feel”), fits into the playful but sophisticated ethos of the larger Touchy Coffee brand, a sister company of the Troy, New York cafe and shop Superior Merchandise.

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Happy Hour