Opening in early 2015, Voyageur Brewing Company in Grand Marais, MN will be offering finely crafted brews to all locals and travelers passing through the land of 10,000 beers. Working with Marketing That Matters, I was hired to develop the brand identity including logos, brand guide, packaging and collateral. What follows below is a look at the process.

After finally landing on a name, which was entirely different project, the first step was to get alignment on style and personality. We presented two directions, one a traditional take on the “Up North” experience” and the other what we called, “North Woods Modern.”  The mood board below exhibits this personality by showing materials used in unexpected ways, clean lines and natural elements all familiar to the location.


Once the style was agreed upon, I began looking at what fonts would support this direction in the logo and branded elements.


From there I started to explore various logos. Some with a graphic image and some typography alone.


Once we dialed in our choices internally, we presented to the client. I wanted to present a range from sleek and modern to more traditional knowing there was some love still there. Showing both the logo and basic bottle application helped give context.


I also included variations of some logos showing how applications can differ, offering an opportunity for a unique identity.

VBC_alts VBC_alts2

In the end, it came down to the more sleek, modern logo which started in a more traditional fashion as a nod to the water filled landscape of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and Lake Superior as well as the great northern woods of Minnesota.


As I began to push this concept into a more modern aesthetic, it soon exhibited traits of other elements associated with the back woods, becoming both a canoe and compass needle. The version on the left is the original but I needed to adjust the proportions in order for it to have prominence and legibility upon application, so I shortened the “needle” points. The final logo (right) fits into the North Woods Modern style. It is intended to convey both the tall pines and deep glacial lakes of the area. It also represents a canoe and compass needle, and has been said to be reminiscent of a campfire reflecting off a lake.


As packaging is a major element to the brand and business model, I began to explore how the logo would present itself on the bottle and shelf. These are all very preliminary designs as a final has not been chosen but they give a sense to the directions we are exploring.


The concept below has been flagged as a preliminary favorite.



In addition to the common elements associated with brand development, other smaller pieces of collateral are also important including coasters…


… tap handles … (Look for the cairn!)


keg collars…


and growlers.



Developing creative for multiple opinions and visions can be challenging and not every branding project turns out the way you might have imagined… but at the end of the day my job is to offer advice and guide the client as best I can to ensure they have an identity that meets or exceeds their expectations. In this case, I believe we are on the right track.

Keep a lookout as the new year unfolds and make sure you stop in the brewery for a fresh pour! Cheers.