Sunday, March 9, 2014

6 Pack of Questions with Rick Dobbs from Unreal

When you're sitting down and drinking your favorite local brew what are you thinking about?  Who brewed it?  How much hops went in it?  What's the ABV? What attracted you to that beer in the first place?  Was it brand recognition? Style love?  Maybe the design of the logo?

When I first started exploring different beers in the mid 90s the one thing that always caught my attention was the design on the bottle or can.  My first craft beer ever in 96 was a Rogue Dead Guy and it was the skeleton sitting on the barrel that grabbed my attention.  I was new to craft beer. Still didn't understand styles; didn't really know the breweries.

20 years later I'm still drawn in by awesome logo designs.  To me a great beer logo is truly a work of art.  Screw Banksy.  Give me a great beer logo design any day.

Here locally another designer has caught my eye over the last couple years and I wanted to give him some love via the blog.  His name is Rick Dobbs and he runs Unreal which puts out some of the most amazing beer designs I've seen.  He has done work for Tin Roof Brewing and Lazy Magnolia locally.  I sent him a 6 pack of questions.  Enjoy!

1)  How long have you been doing designs?  You go to school for this?

        I've been a designer professionally for almost 13 years.
        Yes – although I've been a creative since birth. I had a full
        ride to fine art school primarily for painting and printmaking.
        After a year doing the fine art thing I stumbled upon commercial
        art and graphic design. Amidst that discovery I changed majors,
        and schools, and pursued a focus in graphic design with painting
        as a secondary.

2)  Who was the first brewery you did a design for?  What was it?

        My first brewery client was Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company
        out of Kiln, MS. I had initially gone after them while working at
        Xdesign in Baton Rouge to bring them into our client roster.
        Thankfully LMBC was not quite ready to dive into creative
        spending that soon after Katrina. Once taking the leap to start
        Unreal and go it alone they reached out, and were ready to
        pull the trigger. I was more than enthusiastic to have them
        on board as one of Unreal's original clients.

        Our first project together was to rebrand and breathe new life
        into the visual identity of the brewery. Together with Lazy Magnolia's
        marketing team – at that time headed up by Matt McKiernan – we built
        a solid graphic umbrella for all of their brands to live under, and take
        creative lead from. Unreal and Lazy Magnolia grew together. Their
        success was also mine.

3)  How many breweries have you done designs for?  Can you list them?

        After 3-4 years with Lazy Magnolia I also began doing work for
        Baton Rouge-based Tin Roof Brewing Company. Tin Roof was
        the first craft brewery in Louisiana to can their brews. I couldn't
        ask for a better group of guys to call clients.

        In mid 2012 I was approached by Aurochs Brewing Company.
        At the time they were a startup out of Pittsburgh that was
        brewing gluten-free beer using medieval recipes that implemented
        sorghum and buckwheat.

        Last year I began doing work for Belgrade, Montana-based
        Dog Tag Brewing. DTB is combat veteran owned. They are
        doing really great things for the families of fallen heroes
        and wounded warriors.

4)  Which design is your favorite design?

        Oh boy don't get me in trouble. As far as packaging goes I'd say
        that Lazy Magnolia's Timber Beast 9.5 ABV Rye IPA bottle, carrier
        and mother carton are up there. However my hands down favorite
        so far has to be Tin Roof's Rougarou 9.7 ABV Imperial Black Ale
        bomber. That glass is just simple, clean and beautiful – ha – to me anyway.

5)  Do you like to drink beer while designing brewery designs?  

         Indeed, sir. My office is always stocked.

6)  When thinking of a design for a brewery what is your inspiration?  Does the brewery tell you want they want or do they give you some freedom?

        Immersion. First and foremost you have to do your homework and research.
        I Immerse myself in the inspiration behind the brewery nomenclature. Why was
        it named Billy Bubba Jim Bob's Brewing Company? Get in their heads. Secondly
        I research the region in which the brewery resides and it's history. 
        And finally, what is the target demographic? Who's eye do they want to catch?

        The above goes for every brew to follow – immersion in the name (sometimes
        I name them as well), style, region and history.

        Certainly. All of my brewery clients have a rough concept in their heads of what
        they're looking for, but usually, and ultimately, they let me do my thing. Afterall
        that's why they sought me out – they brew beer, and I'm a designer.

Thanks to Rick for taking time of his busy schedule to answer these questions!  Make sure to check out his website for more amazing logo designs!  If you're a new business you just found your logo designer!


The Beer Buddha

1 comment:

Nora said...

I sat next to Rick and his wife at a Tin Roof beer dinner at R'evolution and he was super nice and really cool to talk to about beer design stuff. Great idea for a post, Jeremy!