Let’s take a journey into a mad scientist’s lab. What’s he building in there? Listen to the sounds of tools on metal as he tinkers away on…something.
Turns out that something is World Peace Death Ray, an audacious new beer lineup from Bristol Brewing Company. Impossibly Awesome Design Co. had the opportunity to create this new mad world and help launch these beers into action.
But it didn’t stop at beer cans. We designed everything from the cans to the packaging to the tap handles, tin tackers, and billboards; from the store displays and shelf talkers to the distributer sell sheets. This was an all hands on deck design adventure that was a thrill to be a part of.
When Amanda Bristol approached me to bring her crazy vision to life, she was looking for a local designer that could go in a completely different direction than anything Bristol Brewing has done before. Bristol, a staple brewery in Colorado Springs since 1994, has had a fun, illustrative style to their beer labels and cans. Even World Peace Death Ray, a current imperial IPA that has been around for a few years, features a not so intimidating peace dove front and center on its label.
Amanda wanted to turn World Peace Death Ray into its own line of beers - one very different from the current flagship line Bristol serves everyday. Amanda wanted this line to be stark and minimalistic, powerful and edgy, and need not even put “Bristol Brewing” front and center - World Peace Death Ray is really the brand, and Bristol Brewing is just along for the ride. The current World Peace Death Ray Imperial IPA would be the first beer in this new line, and would be joined by a new Hazy IPA at launch, with hopes to expand the line to include other hop-forward beers down the road.
Before starting the design process I needed to understand where that crazy name came from in the first place. As legend has it, everyone’s favorite Serbian inventor - and one-time Colorado Springs resident, Nikola Tesla, had the intriguing idea that if every country had a death ray, that would ultimately foster world peace (as no country would dare upset their neighbor). That juxtaposition was intriguing to the Bristols, and it felt destined to be either a beer name or a band name.
We decided we wanted a mostly black can design with pops of color, and that each beer in the line would be designated with its own distinct color.
With an initial direction set, I got to work in the lab.
I initially worked on the can design. In designing the titular death ray, I hit upon a few key elements that work together; a peace sign in the death ray tower’s structural beams, a radio wave pattern emanating from the top of the tower, a firing beam that creates a jagged border, and a strong teal color that sits well on the black can. All of these elements came together to provide a distinct brand that has a lot of assets that can be used across deliverables. I added in a death dove and a hop machine, came up with the “powered by hops” tagline, and we were cooking!
Moving from the can design to the packaging design allowed me a lot more real estate to play with, and I was able to craft some eye-catching visuals to drive eyeballs. Using the radio wave pattern as a main focal point on the packaging definitely stands out on a shelf which was an important goal to hit.
Because I think in branding, I wanted to create a badge logo that could be used to identify the entire beer line. I came up with a new way to showcase the peace sign formed out of the death ray and its firing beam. I paired it with a thick industrial sans serif and we were firing on all cylinders!
From there, I developed a lab-full of collateral; tap handles, billboards, wall posters and signs, tent backdrops, case stackers at liquor stores, kick-off party invitations, etc. All of these designs live in the same world; the brand consistency between them all is intentionally strong.
And thus, the World Peace Death Ray takeover begins. Keep an eye out for the billboards as you drive around Colorado Springs. If you thought billboards were just mundane advertising, think again. These towering behemoths demand your attention and leave an indelible mark on your psyche.
As cans, packages, and kegs make their way across Colorado, I hope everyone who comes across World Peace Death Ray not only enjoys the fine-tuned liquid awesome in a glass, but also reflects on the idea of everyone just getting along, and the crazy ways we can maybe get there.
At Impossibly Awesome Design Co., we don't just create designs; we craft experiences. The World Peace Death Ray branding is a testament to our unwavering commitment to pushing boundaries and making waves in the design world. I’m honored to have been part of Bristol Brewing Company's journey as they unleash this electrifying line of beers onto the world.