Erik S Leib Design
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Hoppin Frog

 
 

Refreshing the Hoppin Frog Brewery brand identity was about telling the story of world class beer brewed in a blue collar town.

 
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Hoppin’ Frog Brewery is a small craft brewery located in Akron, Ohio that’s known in the area for the quality product they produce. As Hoppin’ Frog grows and expands their distribution across state lines, it’s important that the brand identity and messaging tell the story of a family run business that produces a great beer for people who like great beer. Hoppin Frog has earned over 22 awards from national and international beer competitions because of their commitment to quality and hard work, and it’s ok for them to let people know that they’re good at what they do.

My role was to examine the strengths and weaknesses of the current Hoppin Frog branding, and provide creative direction for a design system refresh that could scale across multiple mediums.

 

Key Learnings

  1. Hoppin Frog makes great quality products, but the current branding doesn’t tell their story of quality products made from quality ingredients.

  2. Branding and packaging play a large role in what beers consumers select from a crowded beer isle at the grocery store. Hoppin Frog’s packaging was not helping them stand out from the crowd of craft breweries in a positive way for people who were unfamiliar with their product.

  3. Hoppin Frog uses their current frog logo on the packaging, and alters the logo frog for many of their different beer flavors.This inconsistency in the branding can be very confusing for new users of their products.

Goals

  1. Develop a new identity that better speaks to Hoppin Frog’s award winning brewing tradition.

  2. Create a new packaging system that allows Hoppin Frog beers to stand out from other craft beers on the shelves of the local supermarket.

  3. Build a comprehensive branding system that allows Hoppin Frog to showcase their hard working and fun loving personalities, while focusing on the highest quality craft beers. This system must be able to scale across all media, including print ads, website, email, merchandise, etc.

 
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The existing Hoppin Frog mark was very busy, and was not able to be used on both dark and light backgrounds. While it spoke to brewing beer, the existing logo didn’t speak to the quality product in each bottle when sitting on a grocery store shelf next to other craft beer brands.

The new brand mark is a modular system that combines three(3) main parts in order to create a single distinguished mark.

  1. The custom Hoppin Frog Brewery logo type

  2. Lilly pad monogram

  3. Hop and leaves illustration

This modular system allows for the components of the logo to be carried throughout a wide range of applications to create consistency in the branding.

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In order to create the right packaging for Hoppin Frog, it was important to understand that the beer is their most prized possession.

This means that the packaging should be representative of the amount of time and hard work that go into creating each beer. Each craft beer brewed by Hoppin Frog has a uniquely decorative and illustrative label that represents the story behind the name, and shows the consumer that this is a brand that puts just as much time and effort into the outside of the product as what’s within. The labels are accompanied by a sticker with the primary logo on each bottle’s neck, as well as the lilly pad icon on the top of each bottle’s cap, in order to create consistency in packaging design for each beer style. It’s also much easier to spot a Hoppin Frog beer that’s outfitted with this packing, as it’s clear that decorative illustrative elements, colors, and logo elements have been repeated from the primary brand mark.

 
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Crafting a Message

Hoppin Frog beer is crafted by people who love good beer. It’s this love for beer that keeps the brewers up at night experimenting with new flavor combinations, and is the reason why Hoppin Frog has won so many national and international awards. This is also the reason why the people at Hoppin Frog love what they do, and want to share the fun they have doing it with beer lovers across America.

When telling the story of Hoppin Frog to consumers, it was important that we let the beer do the talking. After all, sharing good beer with good people is what it’s all about.

A wide range of print and digital marketing materials were designed to showcase the flexibility of the overall branding system. Large type and bold messaging, speaking clearly and directly to people who like drinking good beer, pair with beautiful images of the product to highlight it’s quality. Primary brand colors repeat throughout all materials, visually connecting the brand to the consumer at a glance. Custom illustrations, highlighting Hoppin Frog’s attention to detail, breathe life into unexpected places across all mediums. And all of this showcases a consistent brand message of bringing people together through quality beer made from quality ingredients.

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Conclusion

This project won a Gold ADDY award for the city of Akron and a Silver ADDY award in the AAF 5th District in the category of Student — Integrated Brand Identity Campaign.

Hoppin’ Frog was approached with this work, but declined the proposed brand refresh because of implementation and budgetary concerns at the time.