Graphic Design students team up with Old Fire Station to design labels for new craft beers

Categories: School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology, University Campus

Salford’s The Old Fire Station has teamed up with students from the BA Graphic Design programme at the University of Salford to launch new custom designed craft beers from the in-house Lark Hill Brewery.

The new beers, titled Northern Crown and Aurora Beerialis had their labels designed by third-year student Annabelle Wrigley, who won a competition amongst 66 BA Graphic Design students to pull together 12 beer labels in six weeks to help market the new additions crafted by its in-house Lark Hill Brewery.

The brewery, based in Albion Place on the Peel Park campus, approached the programme to design the labels earlier this year, providing our students with the opportunity to work with a client on a professional brief as part of their studies.

Annabelle’s striking designs were chosen for the labels by Changmin Lee, Lark Hill Brewery’s Head Brewer, who employed her on a short contract to make final amends to the labels before the beers could go on sale.

Annabelle said: “It’s been an absolute dream to work on this project. My dad has always been a big fan of craft beer and would go far and wide to try them, so I grew up knowing about respecting the beer and what makes the labels stand out. So when I got given this project, I felt that it was something that was perfectly suited to me. The timing for a project like this at the start of my last year is perfect!”

Each third-year BA Graphic Design student was given the brief at the start of the trimester in September and had to give a midpoint presentation to get feedback from Changmin before finalising their design in time for an exhibition at the Old Fire Station on Friday 15 December.

Whilst Annabelle’s designs were chosen for the final product, the Station’s café has had walls decorated with a broad range of the designs that came in from the students over the last few months.

Annabelle added: “I was completely gobsmacked that I won. I instantly put my working hat on and have had such a professional relationship with Changmin as we’ve gone back and forth to finalise the labels.

“This project has made me feel confident about my career post-graduation. I hadn’t really decided what I wanted to do before but these last couple of months have told me that I’m ready to head into the industry.”

Alan Oliver, Programme Leader for BA Graphic Design said: “This has been a great project for our students who all embraced it massively and said that they’ve loved the opportunity.

“We’ve had live projects from agencies before but this was a chance to build a professional portfolio for assessment and rise to the challenge of delivering 12 beer labels in six weeks which is a big ask for any designer.”

Mike Brown, Director of Strategic Partnerships at the University of Salford, said: “The Old Fire Station offers the chance to provide access to real world industry for teaching, learning, research and engagement. As we integrate with it, it’s important that we leverage as much as we can from it, whether that’s student employment, projects or internships. It give us a real USP. There’s just not that many universities in the UK with a brewery and even a bakery.

“Every student on that academic programme got to work with our Head Brewer to design real world beer cans. I’m really proud of that fact.

“It took just a matter of weeks for this idea to be up and running and the Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology has shown real leadership in this instance and provided immediate benefits to its students.

“We are continuing to look to expand and engage with academic programme leaders on this site as we should be looking to integrate this into everything we can and improve our student employability skills. The more opportunities we can provide for our students, the better.”

It is hoped that up to six beers will be sold wholesale from the brewery in the new year. Northern Crown is a tropical, hazy IPA whilst Aurora Beerialis is a Honey Kolsch.

Changmin added: “It has been a very successful project that has had a clear goal of working with University students and giving them the opportunity to work with the food and drink industry.

“Beyond the design work, it has also helped teach them an understanding of how food and beer labels work and what you can and can’t put on the label. I’d say that the designs we have now are what you would expect from others within the industry.”

For all press office enquiries please email communications@salford.ac.uk.