So, yeah, it’s been a while.
This go round I’m trying something new...by posting something old. I’m calling it ‘Trek Tuesdays’ and I feel that’s pretty self-explanatory. Every Tuesday I post something Star Trek related. A drawing, a review, some drivel about my favorite version of the Enterprise (psst: it’s the Constitution Refit). You know, something Trekkish. It’s a feature I’m hoping to keep up with in the spirit of Throwback Thursdays.
We’ll see how I do.
This week’s post is a little something I threw together for a t-shirt contest. The theme was Trek, the grand prize was a lot of money, and since I didn’t do anything clever like ‘Don’t phase me, bro!’ I lost. I’ve always been a big fan of micro-brew labels. Great names, cool graphics. I wanted to try something in that vein.
Before getting started, I did a quick check of the internet to see what others had done with ‘Romulan Ale’. What I found is that by and large, Trek fans don’t take a lot of chances. Out of all the images I browsed through, only two (2) deviated from an established recipe:
One part TNG Romulan Graphics
One part Trek Movie fonts
Mix liberally with the color blue
Serve in the 80’s.
I’m sure it looked cool at some point.
Naturally, I tried to stay as far away from that as possible while still keeping it kind of Trek. For me, that meant vintage. I researched vintage beer logos to try and find the look that I wanted. Something like an old Schlitz or Falstaff, with a shield or a crest and a really cool script font. I found a couple pieces that I liked, but could never get it right. I quickly realized that by living in the now, and not, say, 50 years ago, that I don’t have a real good feel for that ‘old-timey’ vernacular and design.
Nicely put, my first couple of attempts were so bad they didn’t just suck eggs. They sucked chickens.
New approach. Find inspiration somewhere else.
Like way down at the bottom of my Google image search for ‘Vintage Beer Ads’.
There. Blatz. Drink Blatz Beer. Solid block of color. Solid font. Simple design.
Boom! Chaka-laka! Boom!
Blatz inspired the ‘Romulan’ header and that part of the design came together pretty easily. I liked it so much, I even made it blue. Dropping a shield behind it was always part of the original design, so that was pretty easy. Most of the shields in old logos are split into two, so I cut mine in two as well then tried to match the color fields to a Romulan costume from TOS. I got lucky. It worked.
Ale was kind of a bitch. I needed a font that filled the space, balanced the ‘a’ and the ‘e’ and felt kinda retro. Script fonts looked out of place with the rather blunt ‘Romulan’ so I plugged along until I found the one I used. Still not sure I got it right, but I was under a deadline. I think it would look better if I were to distress it somewhat. I still might when I’m desperate for another Trek Tuesday post.
The other details I added, like the ‘Star Empire Brewing Co.’ and the little stylized hops at the top are fairly modern looking additions. I should go back and tweak them but I won’t. I like them too much.
And then there was the wings. I debated adding them for the longest time. I mean, like, forever. Friends who watched me work on this were tired of it and demanded I make a decision. In the end it came down to three things. They had a TOS feel. They balanced the design. I was out of time, screw it. No wings.
A lot of design decisions are made like that.
So, there you have it. The little logo that lost (it happens a lot, I’ve come to expect it) and the process behind it. It’s not at retro as I wanted, but chances are I’ll tweak this again in the coming months and we’ll do this all over again.
Hail the Empire!
Because I am the way I am, I went ahead and tweaked this little guy almost immediately after posting. Since I was unhappy with the 'ale'...I changed it. I didn't like the shield....I changed it. Tweak. Tweak. Tweak. That's what I do. There's a joke at the office that any ad I design needs to be run quickly. If it stays on the desk too long I change it.
I'd like to say that's not true, but in the last week I got a design for a 'race' truck got approved, then overhauled it twice. It's getting wrapped today so I can't change anything else. Don't need to. I'm finally happy with it. 6th time's a charm.
BTW, this is the 7th iteration of Romulan Ale. Pretty sure I'm done now even though I might Red Bull it up and add wings.
Hail the Empire (again)!