• Brewsky: branding, design, character creation, story and illustration

    My friend +Rolf told me sometime early last year about this new brewpub that he was putting a little money into, and how he's looking for someone to paint some murals for them. One thing led to another and I found myself doing all their branding and design work: from their logo (below) to mascots to graphics for their interiors, menu designs, the works. I'd been working on books and magazines for a really long time until then, and Brewsky really gave me a chance to flex my creative muscles and get back to working on spaces and branding and other collateral after ages.

    This post showcases some of that work, including all ideation, copywriting, design and illustration.

    The Brewsky logo: each letter contains hand-drawn symbols that add up to a big idea: you're welcome to try and decode it!

    A note on the genesis of the Brewskasura concept: I had just quit ACK Media to strike it out on my own when the Brewsky project came up, and my head was full of Indian mythology, and this mytho-hangover melded with my love for the underdog to make me wonder why nobody was putting images of asuras in public places (aside from the ubiquitous drishti head outside buildings, that is). Asuras, if you haven't heard of them already, are creatures that have lately come to represent the evil and demonic side to Hindu mythology. The average Hindu sees them as the lowlife, underworld-dwelling counterparts to the divine cloud-riding devas, and modern Abrahamic notions of good and bad have pretty deeply coloured our view of these two mythical races. Things weren't always so black and white in the old stories, though. Those were about the inherently flawed human race being toyed with by a cosmos that followed a its own mysterious order, and the who of it didn't matter so much as the why and the how. The asuras and devas, in this equation, represented the underlying chaos of our lives -- the choices and events that we don't seem to have much control over. There were no good or bad people and creatures in these stories, just those who have made good or bad choices that often come back to bite them in the butt. Of course, there's also a lot of caste-related subtext that apparently frames the deva-asura dynamic, but we won't get into that because I don't pretend to fully understand the academic subtleties of this stuff. I'm all about the visuals in any case. Suffice it to say that asuras are somewhat under-represented in Indian popular culture, and I wanted to get them out there and in your face.

    So I drew up a set of asura mascots for the brand. They began as visual representations of the seven deadly sins (as per an early idea that the clients were fiddling with), but the asuras soon grew out of that somewhat uncomfortable box and became a lot more.

    Initial character designs for the asuras:

    Early designs for the asuras

    The idea was to get these characters to work at multiple levels: to associate them with beers and beer-making processes and the brewpub space, at one level, but also to build a mythology around the pub that hooks you in and brings you back.

    A good story goes a long way, it can go beyond mere commercial motives and appeal to an older, deeper, more human part of you. It's the kind of connection that businesses don't easily make with their customers, and I wanted to push people into looking at Brewsky as something more than a business.

    So the characters needed to look friendly, funny and arouse the curiosity. They also needed to seem familiar, while retaining their strangeness. The stakeholders at the pub seemed to like the idea, and we just built it up from there.

    Below is a sampling of the work that I did for Brewsky. Included is a series of images that tell the Brewskasura creation myth. This is the first exercise in my branding process: basic world-building. Having set the framework, all that remains is to keep adding layers to the story, bring in more characters and situations and make it grow.

    Tell me what you think of this project in the comments field below!

    Final Brewskasura character designs (simplified for ease of repetition and general friendliness):

    The Brewsky logo + the Brewskasuras: click on the image to view them in full size

    The Brewskasura story, as seen running along the bottom of the Brewsky menu:

    General posters + craft beer advertisements (these also attempt to extend the Brewskasura story told above):

    Riffing on the famous Commie revolution fist
    This whole poster is a pun on early Communist posters from Soviet Russia. 'Wort', by the way, is the hot malty slush that beer eventually emerges from once it's all hopped up and fermented.
    My beery, asuric take on Shepard Fairey's famous 'Hope' campaign poster for Obama
    'Chaand' is Hindi for 'moon', if you didn't already know.
    The golden ale is all about the bling. Also, Brewsky is in South Bangalore. So.
    I've always wanted to make a poster using the old horror/zombie movie trope of the fist clawing out from under soil. This one contains the added story of the Brewskasuras digging their way into freedom.
    Sweet, simple and self-explanatory :)
    There are no dumb blondes in this brewpub
    This is the anti-Fair&Lovely ad: in Brewsky, darker is better!
    Brunch poster
    Brewsky poster used for a corporate promotion
    Flyer advertising Brewsky
    Valentine's day promo

    New Year's party poster: largely type-driven
    Teaser poster, pre-launch

    Posters for the live performance space at Brewsky (caricatures of famous performers + quotes):


    Brewery graphics (printed and pasted onto fermenters):

    Artwork for toilets:

    Website graphics:

    Social media content:

    Pardon the patois!


    Graphics for aprons:

    The chaps behind the bar. They don't seem too thrilled at the pointy nips.

    Staff badges:


    Special Christmas menu

    Menu cover

    Menu inside-front-cover and first page
    Sample spread from Brewsky menu
    Sample spread from Brewsky menu

    Early sample coaster designs (since changed):

    1 comments → Brewsky: branding, design, character creation, story and illustration

    1. Anonymous said... 7 March 2015 at 09:09

      i am a clean bowledasura!

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