Beer Can / HAPI DAZE

A market & a new substrate called for a whole new design for this hopy, crisp craft beer from Wellington's Garage Project brewery.

BRIEF // Garage Project’s Hāpi Daze ale was heading to new places in new cans, so a redesign was called for. It needed to be reconceptualised as a distinctly New Zealand beer (reflecting its key ingredient of Kiwi hops, or ‘hāpi’ in Māori) for European consumers without putting New Zealanders off with heavy handed Kiwiana design. The design also needed to reflect the secondary word play in the name and give a feeling of cool sunsets ideally matched to drinking this fruity and crisp pale ale.
 
Garage Project also wanted to push the artwork to fit the medium, in this case aluminium cans. Most of their canned beers have shrink-wrapped digital prints, allowing limitless colours but having some considerable drawbacks. Hāpi Daze would be one of the first beers utilising the factory’s direct-to-can printing capabilities, a strange cross between limited plate printing and screen printing.
 
Through consultation, we decided the best approach was to celebrate the material of the can and produce a limited colour, exposed can with a matte finish.
Product shot, produced by Andrew Martis.
The design wraps around the can, leaving a large high contrast area on the back for graphics and labels. Graphics (not shown) produced by Luke Fan.
The design has many hidden kiwi critters in the foliage. Here you can see the New Zealand Rock Wren (pīwauwau) and our infamous Weta, a large insect that lives in the dense bush.
Parts of the lake and the Fantail (pīwakawaka) shown here use the exposed can, not just as a colour, but to add an enticing shimmer to the design.
The can printing process was a delicate and tricky beast, so I flew up to the factory with one of the Garage Project founders to shepherd the cans through. An odd cross between limited plate printing and screen printing it took 4 test runs (using approx. 200 cans per run) to get the balance of colour and ink just right. Photos by Jos Ruffell.
The fresh naked cans on their way to the printer.
This messey beast produces some beautiful work - a lot of it very hands on.
Printed cans moving to Quality Assurance.
Multiple colour options were presented to the Garage Project founders.
A Hāpi Daze tap badge. Three varieties of these are produced for bars, websites and Garage Projects in-house beer take-away, The Cellar Door.
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