Jun 14, 2010

Beck Redesign

Pierini Partners designed Beck´s global packaging. 

"After having competed against other European agencies, Adrián Pierini’s design was chosen by Anheuser Busch InBev marketing team from Belgium, to modernize the packaging.

Born in 1873 in Bremen, Germany, Beck’s mixes internationality and tradition, qualities that helped the beer to become the number one selling export beer.

The new layout highlights the visual elements that are a brand emblem, such as the key icon, phrases about its origin, medals, and its characteristic colors, red and black. All these were simplified and applied on a metalized support which adds modernity and freshness.

One of the most emphasizing details in the new packaging is the raise in the logo and icon importance. The icon was placed in the upper part in order to glorify the brand identity, which has been a synonym of quality and beer expertise for over a century.

Agency: Pierini Partners
Country: Argentina

The project lasted more than a year and was tested in several countries, such as German, England, USA, Italy and Romania.

Lucas Herscovici, global brand manager, explains the reasons for the change:

“Beck´s is a beer with more than 135 years of history; it has a distinctive flavor and an outstanding quality. Its millions of consumers, spread in over 100 countries around the world, expect not only a good product but innovation and style as well. The previous label had been the same since 1998, and we felt the packaging was a brand aspect that did not show Beck´s innovating spirit.

Pierini´s design was the chosen one, as this studio interpreted exactly what we were looking for and, besides, our consumers in 5 of the most representative countries have chosen it.”

There are some very important moments in a brand’s history, and one of them is its image renovation.

In this article, Adrián Pierini, a well-known Argentinean designer and the responsible for the new Beck’s global packaging, presents project details which led to the new aesthetic. 
Beck’s has its origin in Germany, in Bremen in 1873. Since then, it has become an icon in global beers. The brand has two distinguished characteristics: its hundred-year-old recipe which has been practically kept unalterable since its origin, and its internationality: Beck’s is the Number One German beer in the world.

“Beck’s has more than 135 years of history, it has a distinctive flavor and an outstanding quality”, said Lucas Herscovici, Global Brand Manager. “The million of Beck’s consumers, who are spread over more than 100 countries in the world, look for more than a good product. Its image shows tendency; innovation and style are always expected from this beer. The previous label had been the same since 1998, and we felt its packaging was an aspect that did not show Beck’s innovating spirit. That was the reason why we decided to start this restyling project. We called several top agencies throughout the world, and Pierini Partners turned out to be the chosen one, as this studio interpreted exactly what we were looking for and, besides, our consumers in 5 of the most representative countries have chosen their designs”.     

Previous instructions:

Anheuser Busch InBev Marketing Team, located in Belgium, called many different global agencies for the tender stage. Pierini Partners was summoned for this pitch, because of its large experience in beer market, and also for having worked with AB InBev Latin America in many of its products.

“This was one of the biggest challenges in this category, not only because it was a global product, but also because we had to surpass other prestigious agencies from England and Belgium in aesthetic and market knowledge as well”, Adrián Pierini said. 

The established expectations for this project were simple but strict. They are sum up in this list:

- To innovate, taking into account the brand spirit.

- To change the packaging, without removing the distinguished elements in it.

- To add modernity, without turning it in something too modern; not to use excessive graphic resources which can affect its values linked to history and origin.

- To generate a sensory experience through the layout. Consumers are supposed to find themselves not only in front of a restyling but to be able to add sensations of freshness and flavor intensity to the existing imaginary as well.

- To adapt the chosen design to the other variants, so as to make a logic and functional system, which fosters the brand image in different exhibition and consumption places.

First projects, different concepts:

Pierini Partners had to considerate these premises seriously and to translate them in several graphic proposals, with different interventional levels. By this way, it could be evaluated how the brand could be innovated without losing its essence.

In one of the images, some preliminary ways can be seen. They show that the idea was not to take a definitive position but to, on the contrary, connect many resources and concepts. Through exchanging opinions with AB InBev Marketing Team, Pierini Partners could understand more clearly how to advance.

“Beck’s has a long history which is well-known over the world” – argued Lucas Herscovici – “It must be understood that consumers belong to different cultures, and each of them had established different bonds with the brand. The packaging recognition is extremely important to continue to consolidate this multicultural relationship. That is why, from the several ways, we chose the ones who transmit better the brand values and icons, but with a more modern style”.

Throughout the project, which last one year, 40 layouts had been seen and evaluated. The selective and polished process to the best way was complex and exhaustive, but it worth it. 

An experience compatible with European necessities

Adrián Pierini designs many of the most important beer packagings in the market; Quilmes, Brahma, Liberty, Paceña, Pilsen Andes, Iguana, Taquiña, etc. Some of these brands share some characteristics with Beck’s that had to be considered in the work process, which really made it simpler.

The Argentinean professional states: “InBev beers here in this region are conceived under international and high level criteria. Even though they differ in price and quality, there is a very clear global intention of adding value in a constant way and of being faithful to the positive values consumers notice in their brands.”

A precise combination of coolness, freshness and tradition

To work for regional brands is without question a great commitment, but Beck’s goes beyond the consume barrier and transforms itself in an authentic cultural icon in the world, which implies a huge responsibility.

From the initial brainstorming, and with the close supervision of AB Inbev people from Belgium, the final solution was reached. The chosen layout was subjected to opinion tests with consumers in German, England, USA, Italy, and Romania. In those inquiries, excellent results were obtained, and the brand started a new visual stage.

The final result did not consist in a complete alteration; the simplification was important but not radical. Faithful to its history, the new label reinforce the icon presence (the key), as it has been one of the main visual referents from the brand throughout the years. Unnecessary lines were eliminated in order to create a more direct and modern image, complemented with basic typographies with a pure structure. The support was changed from the traditional paper into a metalized lamination, to help to increase the enhancement and the freshness sensation.

Simple shapes lead to a simple system

The elimination of unnecessary decorative resources made easier to get to simple shapes which contribute to generate a basic and efficient codification system. The chromatic palette was maintained, but thick lines were added in the perimeter as a way of distinguish the different variants. For this reason, the colour of these lines were changed into blue, orange, yellow, etc, as a way of giving unity to the brand and an instant recognition in the gondola.  

Conclusion: The new language of beers

Adrián Pierini talk about the restyling tendencies in beers: “Many think that a good design is that who adjust itself to the tendencies, without caring about its history. It is not neither about destroying the past, nor about changing just because the market forces us to do so. Beck’s is an excellent example of “rational innovation”; of generating new ideas with a logic strategy based in the credibility given by a solid history of quality.”

Radical changes seemed to be caused by ignorance, contempt to the past, and the desire of being different because any bond with the past could be damaging.

None of that occurs to Beck’s. The brand is proud of its trajectory, and that is why there are many of its “historic medals” in the new design.

Tradition and modernity are mixed, as a tribute to every one who, though the centuries, had helped the brand to become the most important beer in the market. 


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