Monday, March 2, 2015

Rich Kelly Dogfish Head Brewery Aprihop Poster Release

At Dogfish Head Brewery, they see the beer they brew as a form of art, and they love to pair it with original work from artists who share their off-centered outlook. This year, they're working with Rich Kelly, an illustrator from Pittsburgh, on the seasonal labels.

To come up with the art for their four seasonals – Aprihop, Festina Peche, Punkin Ale and Piercing Pils – Rich studied the brewing process, the ingredients of each beer and the culture of Dogfish.

Let's hear from Rich how he approached the project and arrived at the final version of the new Aprihop label and poster:

When I started out, I recorded all of the information I could regarding the different ingredients, the geography of their origins and the process of brewing. Then it was a matter of creating visuals to accompany that information and then combining those visuals into one cohesive image.

With a lot of my work the characters are almost engaging with the viewer, making eye contact or performing an action for an audience. It seems as if these are almost snapshots of specific events

There needs to be an elemental connection between all of the images. After the first round of sketches, we steered the direction of the series toward a spectacular bazaar kind of theme. All of these characters could be a part of a traveling Dogfish Head circus, each with an off-centered characteristic or talent.

While the art was rendered to fit 12" x 18" posters, I also had to consider how this information would read on the side of a beer bottle. Therefore I decided to go with a fairly straightforward sans serif-looking font. The lines that strike through each letter at the X-height are a nod to that lined paper we used to write on in grade school to practice our letters, as a way to link these contemporary figures with the imagination of our childhood.

With these pieces, I really wanted the characteristics of each season to inform my color choices. Over the past couple of months I have been making a more conscious effort to make insightful choices when it comes to the palettes in my work. My natural inclination is to mute everything, and while that might be appropriate for some jobs, I feel that a lot of the images could be enhanced with a more vivid color scheme. It's really about exploring more possibilities and challenging myself so that the work can evolve and grow.
 The Aprihop Posters will be on sale Monday at NOON EST at

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