• Aside from the logo, the can artwork (by Tyson Sheean) also underwent a subtle update.
    Aside from the logo, the can artwork (by Tyson Sheean) also underwent a subtle update.
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Yarra Valley-born Coldstream Brewery has updated its visual identity to honour what it says is its 'authentic and whole-hearted spirit'. While changing a well-known brand's design may come with the risk of confusing customers, branding agency BrandOpus has risen to the challenge.

BrandOpus, the global branding agency behind the identity redesign, has evolved the strategy and brandmark along with new brand world assets and guidelines.

To stand apart in the rapidly evolving craft beer sector, and the “flood of retailer challenger” brands entering the market, Coldstream Brewery enlisted the help of marketing firm BrandOpus to update its brand design for the first time in 14 years.

The agency’s research highlighted a disconnect between the brand’s black and white “shivering man” visual identity – who appeared vulnerable and cold – and its brand DNA, which was “whole-heartedly authentic and down-to-earth”. The BrandOpus team saw this as an opportunity to drive a more emotive narrative by encapsulating this DNA in the brand’s visual identity.

The new packaging artwork for the can was developed by Tyson Sheean, creative director at Tyson Retail Brand Agency. The new design is described as “echoing the brand’s bold and confident attitude of being ‘All In’ and the re-energised visual identity is better aligned with the brand’s history, in a way that is both ownable and distinctive to Coldstream”.

“Once evoking a sense of trepidation, the identity now embraces life – a true reflection of what Coldstream stands for: authentic, whole-hearted and down-to-earth,” the BrandOpus went on to say.

Coldstream's logo before and after.
Coldstream's logo before and after.

The barley sheaves in the mark are not only a nod to the previous mark but they are also aimed to represent the backbone of the brand, which is described as “the enduring friendship of two mates who’ve had each other’s backs since they were young”.

Brent Vrdoljak, chief marketing officer at Shping and brand design commentator, highlighted the redesign as an example of a brand successfully changing its logo, a move he believes shouldn’t be taken lightly.

“One of the most critical elements in building distinctive brand assets is consistency over time,” he said, citing the fact that most brands have “a very long tail of occasional shoppers” who have weak ties to the brand.

“They might buy the brand and not even remember its name, but recall the colour and shape of its packaging,” he said.

Vrdoljak pointed out three ways in which BrandOpus has navigated this task well:

  • The brand still looks like itself, with core colours and elements of the identity intact.
  • The core asset is actually dialled up, becoming more prominent and noticeable – likely making it easier for shoppers to recognise.
  • The emotion evoked from the icon is much stronger and more positive. It shifts from vulnerability, discomfort and isolation to strength, resilience and freedom.

Nikki Moeschinger, managing director, BrandOpus commented, “To deliver against the brand’s ambitions, we needed to dig deep into the stories at the heart of the brand and reimagine how Coldstream Brewery was showing up in the world. The new identity better encapsulates the passionate and genuine spirit of the brand, and we are excited for it to meaningfully connect with beer and cider lovers.”

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