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Coors Banquet


Thanks, yet again, to the dieline for great visuals and editorial about the new Coors Banquet The Legend Since 1873.


Oct 21 2013
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We Blush. A little something from

The Toronto-based designer whose lettering has become as American as apple pie

Maybe you’ve never heard of Ian Brignell, a Toronto-based logotype designer, but chances are you’ve seen his work. In fact, unless you’re hiding in an abandoned missile silo in the remote Siberian tundra (as we are), or in some post-capitalist haven (Toronto), it’s likely that his logotypes have colonized the majority of your day-to-day visual field. Brignell’s incredible talent for distilling the essence of America’s consumer identity has landed him design work with the most ubiquitous, high profile brands—everything from Burger King’s heavyset, corpulent lettering to the elegant scripts and serifed typefaces of top shelf potations like Coors Light and Miller High Life. Brignell’s instantly recognizable logos are the saccarine icing on an incredibly dry cake of globalized mass culture.

Thank you, Overheadcompartment. Check out their blog here.

Apr 02 2013
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Breyers Before and After

When Ian got the job to re-design the Breyers logo, his two sons were thrilled and they told all of their friends. Ice cream. Finally, their dad had schoolyard caché.

This image is courtesy of The Dieline. The old packaging and logo are on the left, the new package, with Ian’s logo, is on the right. You can see other side-by-side examples here.

Do you follow The Dieline? It’s a great site. It’s founder and editor, Andrew Gibb, is all about profiling and discussing excellence in packaging design.

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Aussie Coke Campaign – analysis



I found the Australian Coke campaign fascinating and it was very successful. As you know, Ian created a custom font for Coke which they used to create 150 “name-labels” for a summer-time promotion.

Here is a “post-analysis”, a kind of case study, of the campaign by Marketing Magazine.

Mar 04 2013
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Miller High Life redesign

Beth Blinebury hearts great design. Here’s her post:

A lot of people who know us may be surprised that we would open this little beer design survey with a corporate giant such as Miller (or should I say MillerCoors… Ugh), but people who know me very well (and who may have taken part in all-night Champagne-of-Beers benders) know that I hold a special love in my heart for “The Champagne of Beers.” Beth may not savor the flavor as much as I, but we agree that High Life is a beer that has maintained excellent branding throughout its almost 110 years. And we’re all lucky right now to be in the middle of their Heritage Bottles campaign, highlighting how the branding has changed over the years but not so much so that it ever lost its unique identity or surrendered to the awful fate of “makin’ it FLASHY!”

By far, my favorite overhaul of the image took place in 2010, when Landor, along with illustrator Chris Mitchell and typographer Ian Brignell, brought the “classy” factor up another magnitude. Truly a wondrous can and/or bottle to behold whilst kicking back with a cold one.


Mar 12 2012
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Interview, The Southern Weekly

Ian Brignell’s interview with journalist Lillian Lee from The Southern Weekly, China

Ian Brignell: Type is the foundation of good graphic design. Sensitive choices regarding type styles, weights and sizes can amplify visual message and meaning. Art directors who want to go beyond available type solutions come to me. I am a lettering designer.

Southern Weekly: You designed a lot of brand logos that are very famous in China like Burger King, Estée Lauder, Pantene, Dove, etc. I’m very curious to know: how many logos have you designed?

IB: I have probably designed about 900 logos in my career so far.

SW: Could you give me some examples about how your inspiration came about for some big brands?

IB: My inspiration always comes from the brief. My client tells me the particular qualities of the product or service, how they want a logo to feel and who their customers are.

For example, Pleasures was a new product for Estée Lauder, who normally created products aimed at women in their forties and older. Estée Lauder Pleasures was their first foray into a younger market, by which I mean women aged eighteen to thirty five. They wanted it to have a certain freshness, playfulness and personal appeal while still conveying the quality that Estee Lauder is known for. That’s why I decided on a script that was all lower case and not too perfectly uniform, but still carefully crafted. I guess the angle was right, because for several years after its introduction, Pleasures was the best selling perfume in the world.

SW: Please compare the logos for Pantene and Dove. Both of them belong to commodities, nature also similar, so how do you choose different fonts to reflect two similar products?

IB: The Dove logo was an evolution, which means that it had to be recognizable as Dove, while being more contemporary than the logo it replaced. The idea was to create a cleaner and slightly simpler logo, since Dove was expanding its product line beyond soaps. It was going to produce hair and skin care products, and they felt that a simple, more neutral look would be easier to apply across the product line. This also made sense because many of the products bordered on the health care category.

The Pantene logo was more aspirational, in that the client wanted some drama in the lettering to reflect a positive experience and a positive result. It also had to appear very confident and professional. Pantene spans the continuum between cosmetic and therapeutic products and their motto is “Shine Through”. This motto refers to qualities of hair as well as the personality of the woman using the product

SW: When did you get interested in lettering and logo design? And why?

IB: I love drawing letters. I think it started in grade 4 when I used to copy the 16-point type from my reading books size-as, just for the thrill of it. I don’t know why. As I got older, I found the expressive power within letters to be intoxicating and I wanted to do it. I wanted to interpret letters; their moods, their geometry.

SW: You learned font in the ninth grade, how did you learn? In your country, when did font design become a major at universities? And what did you learn?

IB: I graduated from Sheridan College’s Graphic Design Program in 1982. Lettering was, and remains, a minor part of any graphic design curriculum. During my first year at Sheridan, I was browsing through a design annual and saw for the first time these elaborate scripts – all hand-lettered. I thought they were beautiful. I bought a book by David Gates called Lettering for Reproduction (1969). It gave a short history of lettering but was also a manual about how to do finished lettering. I worked through every page this book. I found books whose references directed me to other books. I was building not just a library, but an education.

Font design, lettering and logo design is not a major course of study in North America. Self-study is the only way to achieve specialization in this field.

I should also mention that I was always interested in drawing, and that drawing is probably the most important skill I have.

SW: In Canada, is font design a popular career? In your past 26 career years, can you recall some historical event when font design became more and more important and popular?

IB: Lettering and logo design is quite popular in Canada, especially since the internet made it easy to view many logos from many sources but it is not a popular career choice.

SW: With regard to your font design in the past 26 years, have you ever met some tort events (any illegal downloads or use your font?) Can you give me some examples? And how did you resolve it?

IB: No.

SW: In Canada, are there any font copyright protection related laws? Could you give me some details of them?

IB: Creator copyright protection is secure in Canada, the United States and many other markets. I would like to point out that, the law aside, I could not have achieved the success I enjoy today without trust in the marketplace. I am lucky to work in and for communities of design that respect Creator rights.

SW: In addition to related laws, does the government or private organizations protect the copyrights of fonts?

IB: Yes.

SW: Is font design a well-paid and highly honored career for you?

IB: My work is well respected and I love what I do. Thank you for asking.

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Tech Vibes on Western rebranding

Western University Rebranding Brings Transition to Light

This rebranding movement has been the source of a lot of controversy amongst alumni and the student population. There’s also been a lot of conversation about the $200,000 that was spent on this initiative, the majority of which went into consulting.

The more tangible results of this project besides the new name consist of a new logo, a richer shade of purple, and a custom font designed by font wiz Ian Brignell.

Western letterhead_teaser

Read the complete article here.