Case Study – Gibbons Après Lager Brand Creation Story
FreeBird Agency brands Whistler’s best selling lager
The idea behind Gibbons Après Lager is to bottle up everything that makes Whister awesome into a refreshingly international beer brand. Gibbons Après Lager is about the good times and unforgettable moments that happen when people share the common bond of having an awesome time in Whistler.
Joey Gibbons and his team came to FreeBird Agency to create a brand that would epitomize the local Whistler experience, but in time grow to be one of the largest beer brands in the world.
Let’s Get Rad
To get the perfect mix of easy drinking refreshment balanced with just enough craft flavour Freebird Agency worked with Joey Gibbons and his team at Deep Cove Brewing. After several test batch tweaks, reviews and realtime bar tests the perfect recipe was born. Call up the Mckenzie brothers, we’re ready to go.
FreeBird Agency starts the branding process with a powerful exploration exercise that sets the foundation for building the brand. With the brand strategy exercise we were able to pinpoint what Joey and his key stake holders vision for the brand was. This is a vital step in translating a client’s vision into the fundamental tools that FreeBird Agency uses to create a brand. From this exercise we learn what the fledgling brand feels like, it’s personality and where it is going.
The next step in the FreeBird Agency branding process is to create a mood board. The mood board is an important part of the FreeBird Agency creative process. Its purpose is to show the client the visual mood and overall feeling of the brand. The board is an internal piece that’s created using both found and designed images. The board features design style(s), photography styles, and the general visual tone of voice of the brand to come. Once all of the key stake holders are on board with each and every image in the mood board, we then start on the actual design and creation of the new brand. Using our time tested process for developing powerful brands enabled us to focus on creative solutions that we knew were on brand and sure to meet the client’s short and long term goals.
After the moodboard is finished FreeBird Agency has a clear idea of the client’s taste and vision. This information is mixed with our teams understanding of the marketplace and design to begin the logo design process. When targeting a trend setting local audience with intentions of creating international mass appeal we had to establish a few crucial principles that needed to be present in the design: cool factor, adaptability, legibility, inclusivity, visual “pop” and an emotional engagement. With this in mind we took out the trusty pencils and started sketching up our rough ideas.
Lots of great visual identities were developed along the way, but the logo that met all the criteria and really stood out when placed with other international brands was selected. It was a hit with everyone and in short order the concept was approved to move forward to the next stages of creative planning for the brand.
The logo itself uses high-contrast, structured typography juxtaposed with a flowing script and a Canadian inspired red to create a modern, yet timeless feel. The subtle maple leaf was used to establish an identity of authenticity that the brand really delivers on.
Coupling a logo design with a packaging that truly stands out to the target group in a crowded market is not an easy task, it can be time consuming and complicated. But hey, stick around and find out how we did it. Did we mention we brought beer?!
The Gibbons Après Lager can combines things that represent the feeling of Whistler; the epic view of Black Tusk mountain on the horizon, the bold and fun design aesthetic perfectly balanced with that notable Canadian vibe. It gives the viewer that critical sense of place that emotionally links them to the brand.
FreeBird Agency has a long history of outdoor adventure, snowboarding, beer and a love of all things Après so this project was a good fit for our copywriting team. While setting the high-level copy tone, we always focus on headlines that really resonate with the target audience. As our early brand exploration exercises revealed, this tone was passionate, confident, positive, clear and humble. “Always Good Times” was born.
With a well planned and designed brand identity like this in place the rest of the brand’s marketing materials become easy and focused. The moodboard developed earlier illustrates photographic style, the strategy document explains the brand’s personality and tone of voice for copywriting, and the brand and/or logo guide make graphic design fruitful and the outcome reliably on-brand.
The website for is fully loaded with integrated and constantly developing features. The site is built with merchandise e-commerce, social media, team rider blogs and a Google Map integrated product finder. It’s fully responsive so you can view it perfectly at on any device at home, the coffeeshop or on the mountain.
The Brand Guide
Once FreeBird Agency has the brand established to a level of excellence that is really working we create the brand guide. The brand guide is an all encompassing marketing bible for the brand. The internal graphics team at Gibbons use this to create stress-free, consistent, on-brand marketing materials every time. Consistency is the key to creating and maintaining a powerful brand with mass appeal.
FreeBird Agency designed some initial merchandise for the brand launch and continues to work with Gibbons growing Après Lager softgoods line as they build their e-commerce and physical store locations.