Want to share the story behind your custom cap or label? Email me.


Design Lesson #4: Curved Text

Everyone loves curved text on bottle cap designs, and it's one of my favorite tricks for getting both important content and a fun design into a small space. Curving your text gives a label to your beer without overlapping or upstaging a large center graphic. Here's how to do curved text in Inkscape. This is the most complex step yet, but once you've watched the video, you'll be able to do it right every time! Warning: contains a couple of cat puns.


Review from Bull City Homebrew Shop

Over the last year, BottleMark has been causing a bit of an online stir among homebrewers. I've seen a lot of reviews on blogs and forums--and then there are those 438 five stars of feedback from our customers (enough to make even George S. Patton blush)--but I can't help but shout out a special thanks for the recent BottleMark review on the Bull City Homebrew Blog.

Located in Durham, North Carolina, this homebrew store ordered some logo caps to sell as promotional magnets. And I think they liked them!

Magnety goodness.
We've also got an in-store coupon available for patrons of Bull City Homebrew, so if you're near Durham, go get thee some yeast, hops, barley, and a special custom cap offer.

What with passionate homebrew shops and custom caps for homebrewers, revolution is indeed brewing.


The Brons Standard

With his first foray into craft beer, Justin Brons felt the divine touch of Saint Gambrinus. He started keeping a notebook, a written record of playful flavor combinations he'd want to try in a beer. Inspiration soon led to perspiration. Craft breweries are certainly pushing the envelope, but they have yet to brew a Boysenberry Pale Ale. Well, Justin Brons has.

The Brons Standard certainly sets a high standard for flavor fusions. Justin and his fiance started with an Espresso Oatmeal Stout, and soon followed up with such unique beers as Blood Orange-Honey Maibock, Bourbon-Vanilla Porter, Toasted Pecan Oktoberfest, Honey-Lemon Hefeweisen, and a Pumpkin-Pumpkin Pie Porter. Yes.

Such innovation deserves branding. Branding like this:
I love the color scheme, the contrast, the two possible tops to the design. It's rich without being busy. So what's the Brons Standard for bottle cap design? Keep it simple. "If you look at professional craft brew caps, the caps are very simple.  You need to get across the attitude and image of your brewery, and you don't need a whole lot on there to do that.  For mine, I was just trying to keep it fun and organic." Amen, brother. You can really tell that your cap is successful when it looks good from far away.
A pro-class line-up.
Labels present a different design playground. The labels Justin likes to design have more color and detail than the caps, but the aesthetic principle remains the same: simplicity can speak volumes.

Let's admit it. A beer called Godzilla Dopplebock really does deserve the full cap-n-label treatment.
Ready to stomp Tokyo in style
Thanks for sharing your inspiration, Justin! We look forward with great anticipation to a Bacon and Fruity Pebbles Pale Ale. No, wait, nevermind. That sounds terrible.


Matt Johnston's Stream-lined Style

Like many a tale of romance, it all began with a Midwest Supply Groupon. Boy meets carboy, boy woos carboy, boy gets carboy, and seven batches later, Matt Johnston has, needless to say, fallen in love with homebrewing. What better way to seal the deal than with some custom caps?

Surprised to learn that Matt's been a graphic designer for over ten years? You shouldn't be. As the man himself puts it, "You'd think I would create something insanely colorful or off the wall but instead I created a two-line title with a solid block of color... But I like simple. I like good use of fonts and typography (leading, kerning, and tracking should all be taken into consideration and adjusted when using fonts). My thought process has always been 'less is more.'" Matt even has a reputation for refusing to buy certain beers if they're branded with terrible fonts or other graphic design sins. Some things just can't be forgiven.

Less is indeed more here with Matt's caps. It's bottle ID à la Aston Martin. It's fast and frill-less and arrives on your table with a sleekness worthy of a tuxedoed Bond. The simplicity also gives Matt the freedom to vary it or elaborate it without ever losing the original concept. Perhaps some day soon, he will even give his love a name.

Brew on, Matt, because You Only Live Twice.


Design Lesson #3: Cropping

Learn how to crop your photo into a circle, square, hexagon, star, or squirrel shape within the Inkscape program. This is a great technique for getting the most out of your photo on a bottle cap: cropping allows you to include only the details you want. Like that cutesy-wootsy, crazy bifurcated face.