Rising Tide Brewing Company is a family-owned craft brewery located in Portland, Maine. Since opening their doors in 2010, founders Nathan and Heather Sanborn have made Rising Tide one of the region's most successful second-wave craft producers. Located in Portland's East Bayside neighborhood, their brewery is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike. In order to keep up with their rapid growth over the past few years, Nathan and Heather decided to begin packaging their core beers in 12 oz bottles for the first time. The smaller bottles replaced the brewery's 22 oz. bottles for its year round offerings.
We met with Nathan and Heather around the first of the year to discuss their plans for the 12 oz. bottles. At this point, Nathan had been in charge of all branding and design for the brewery, a task that was taking him away from his demanding brewing responsibilities. His designs laid the groundwork for Rising Tide's clean and modern look— using bold graphics and consistent color to create a coherent family of beers. His nautical inspired logo is a nod to authenticity and handcraftedness—everything that Rising Tide is. In short, the entire Rising Tide brand was in Nathan's head and he asked us to catalog his rich set of visuals through a brand audit. We would also be designing the new 12 oz labels and 4-pack carriers as well as a new website. We were excited to help take the Rising Tide brand to the next level of brand consistency and cohesion.
Our process started by gathering all the telltale elements of the Rising Tide brand as it existed, and started making sense of it all as a system—pulling out rules from that system to guide us as we began thinking about 12 oz bottle labels and 4-pack carrier designs.
Early on we also turned our focus to the logo. While preserving its original character and form, we worked with Greyletter to increase readability and typographic integrity. His adjustments are subtle but they result in a more even look across the letters.
We experimented with some new lockups to work on a wide variety of packaging and created a compass icon that can be used alone or with the secondary tagline, beer first.
Each Rising Tide beer is color-coded and plays a major role in it's identity. The palette is inspired by sea, sky and land, all with a natural but fresh, bright tone. We worked with Nathan and Heather to standardize these colors by choosing PMS color swatches for each beer to ensure brand consistency.
Along with color, each beer is accompanied by a simple graphic that illustrates its seafaring theme name. The illustration is front and center on beer labels and packaging, creating a very graphic color field and making each beer easily recognizable. Arielle worked on a custom whale illustration for Ishmael (my favorite RT beer!)
Along the way we cut and trimmed lots of 4-pack carrier and label mockups. Sean gladly volunteered to visit the brewery to photograph (and obviously sample) beers for the new website. And as our in-house press expert, he also took the reigns on pre-press. We went through a few rounds of press checks with our vendors to ensure colors were as accurate as possible.
Rising Tide's website continues the visual themes present in the printed materials.
Lastly, we handed off a detailed brand guide that defines the systems we created for the logo and collateral.
We look forward to implementing more brand-consistent design for Rising Tide in the future and hope to see you down at the brewery this summer!