You wait ages for a book and then two come along at once. Here’s a new project I’m delighted to be working on with CAMRA Books: “The Art of Beer”.
In a perfect world, as a full-time writer of books you should be promoting the book that just came out, finishing off the next one, and planning the one after that, all at the same time. Lead-times are long in publishing, and a years gap between finishing one project and starting the next can easily turn into a three-year gap between the publication of one book and the next.
It never works out like that in reality. Timelines get stretched in some places and compressed in others. Coronavirus has really exacerbated this.
So: the paperback of my last book, Pie Fidelity, was published on 23rd April but thanks to warehousing and distribution issues related to lockdown it is only available this week. I’ll come back to that later in the week.
My self-published book, Craft: An Argument, is almost finished and will be published on 25th June.
And now I’m starting work on my next one. The Art of Beer will be a lavishly illustrated book about beer design and packaging, published by CAMRA Books in October 2020.
I came into beer from marketing and still occasionally get involved in consultancy on packaging design. As Chair of the Beer and Cider Marketing Awards, I’ve had the job of overseeing the judging of best beer packaging design sat a time when designers have thrown the rulebook out of the window. Now I get to celebrate all of this in book form.
It would be very, very easy to gather together images of the coolest craft beer labels and cans around at the moment, and fill a book with wonderful designs like these:
And we will certainly be doing a lot of that. This is book to be gazed at with longing.
But I wouldn’t be able to think of myself a a writer if that was all it did.
So while the book will major on beautify craft beer designs, it will also tell the story of beer design, labelling and packaging from when it really took off as a discipline in the late nineteenth century until the present day.
We’ll start with why brands became so important, looking in particular at why the UK’s first ever registered trade mark was for Bass Pale Ale:
We’ll look at the theory of how branding is supposed to work, and the tricks designers use to make a product stand out from the competition, and make you desire it.
We’ll explore the how and why of beer logos:
We’ll talk about why some brewers prefer typographical designs, and how that works:
And we’ll look at why certain picture-led routes are enduringly popular:
We’ll also be looking at the history of bottles and cans, the clever use of different bottle shapes, crown cap designs, and secondary packaging such as gift boxes, six-pack holders and so on.
If you are a brewer or design agency that is really proud of your design work, and you’d like it to feature in the book, please drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org. We have only two rules:
- 1. While we’re not limiting this to British beers only, any beer featured must be readily available on sale in the UK.
2. Whole there’s a lot to be written about poor or questionable design, this book will only feature designs that the team think are beautiful or are otherwise important in the history and evolution of beer design.
So please – sen us your beers! And if you’re a beer fan rather than a brewer and you think there’s a beer we should definitely feature, let me know. (And thanks to everyone who did so when I asked this question on Twitter and Facebook last week.)