Reconstructing the Pyramid(s)

April 20th, 2009
Posted by Evan Rowe in Branding


By now you may or may not have heard/seen the news that Pyramid Ales has updated its logo and branding. I had reason to believe this was coming for some time now, though I was surprised to see that this is the result. The previous mark had some real charm to it that actually rang true with its namesake in terms of appearance, while the new one feels too much like a contemporary sports team logo for my taste. It’s not awful by any means, and in some ways it works, but it’s definitely a departure from the previous aesthetic, and not necessarily for the better. Ultimately, it would be the packaging that would decide whether this was successful or not; judge for yourself after the jump.

Exhibit A


Behold, a bottle of Pyramid Ales’ Hefeweizen. This is the packaging you will likely be familiar with up until now. Charming, with a hint of Egyptian mystique. I’d say it gives me a similar impression to that of, oh, let’s say adventure movies depicting 1920s archaeology expeditions; whirling dervishes, sneaky villains sporting fezzes, sunglasses and pinstripe suits; exotic open roof courtyards inside of elegant hotels in the heart of Cairo; and of course, camel races across the desert to the grand finale. That is what I get out of this packaging. Which means it’s doing it’s damned job.

Exhibit B


And then we come to the new stuff. This is the packaging you will start seeing on shelves any time now, if you haven’t already. And what does it look like? Everything frigging else on the shelves. What bothers me about these isn’t the quality of the design; strictly speaking, it’s well executed and it looks good. It’s the fact that this looks like so many other beers out there (especially some others from the Northwest), and what’s worse, they’ve tried to turn it into something a bit more ‘Xtreme’ for the kids to enjoy. Perhaps they figured this would make them more marketable to the college kids and the mid-late twentysomethings who spend their weekends wind surfing in the Gorge or white water rafting on the Deschuttes or mountain biking in the high desert in Bend.

Regardless, it’s lost the spirit of the original and therefore its charm. Like I said, it’s not poorly designed, it just hasn’t been done the right way. And hey, maybe this is exactly what they were intending to do. But for people like me who enjoy a good Pyramid Apricot Ale or Hefeweizen every so often, I may be more likely to turn to another brewery in the future to satisfy that craving instead of picking up a six pack of Audacious or Haywire. Just typing those names out made me want to go stick my head in a bucket of ice in hopes doing so might numb the memory away.

At any rate, this is the reason a lot of rebrands fail; they update things visually but there is a massive disconnect in the brand spirit and message between the new and old. In some cases that’s necessary and intended, but in most it’s a grave mistake, and it’s something that design teams (and marketing teams) should perform their due diligence to stay aware of.

Discovered via Brand New.

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    2 Responses to
    “Reconstructing the Pyramid(s)”

  1. .josiah
    April 20th, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    Although I like the old mark, I actually kind of enjoy the new mark as well. However, that new packaging outcome is atrocious. It looks like murals that would have been commissioned for the Olympics during the 1980s, and are now left to merely sit under an overpass somewhere.

  2. Schroeder
    April 20th, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    agree with josiah…i love the new mark (give me vector or give me death!! haha) but yeahhh, new packaging is bland, i think the colors work ok at, say, poster size, but not on the bottles…in the end i’m still not a common purchaser of their product so i dont really care all that much

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