NUA students design beer brand identity

Students at Norwich University of the Arts have designed an identity for local beer brand Redwell.

Students at Norwich University of the Arts have designed an identity for local beer brand Redwell.

Tim A’Court, Jason Drake and Sam Povey were commissioned by the Craft Brewing Company to design an identity in preparation for Redwell’s national launch through the university’s commercial design service ideasfactory@NUA.

As Redwell beers are hand crafted and brewed in small batches, the design concept is based on the idea of waiting and the notion that some things are worth waiting for: the logo features an hourglass with the outline of a bottle inside, while  the labels are designed in the shape of a deli ticket.

“We were given a brief to produce a packaging system for a new brewery that makes lager without any additives and that wanted to compete with bigger beer brands such as Carling and Foster’s. Their USP is that their beer is more natural and takes more time and care to brew, which is where the waiting concept came from,” explains Povey.

“We also wanted to create a bold but simple design that would reflect the homemade nature of the beer, so we used minimal type, no more than three colours on each label and bold shades of red, yellow, blue and green instead of more complex colours,” he adds.

It’s a strong design and one that should stand out against other more well-known brands’. While other groups of students pitched to Craft, Povey, A’Court and Drake’s idea was selected because the team had thought beyond purely creating packaging, instead devising a whole identity system. As a result, they’ve also been offered further opportunities to work with the brand. “It’s been great for us as we’ve been able to push the brief and design other items such as beer mats,” says Povey.

NUA’s ideas factory has also provided design, branding, media and art solutions for companies including youth market research group ChildWise, publishing company Archant and the Norwich arm of charity Age UK.

The benefits to students can be considerable. By working on live briefs, they gain valuable experience of working with ‘real’, external clients and get a great addition to their portfolio. But such initiatives (which are becoming increasingly common within universities) do raise interesting questions. Project fees – which vary – are paid to the university. The students involved, in this case, were given “a financial prize” but NUA would not disclose how much this was.

The way in which such ‘enterprise’ units work within universities and their relationship to students is a subject we will be reporting on further in the future.

Redwell is available at selected pubs nationwide, including London’s Euston Tap. To find out more about the ideasfactory, visit

Pink Floyd fans may recognise the cover of our June issue. It’s the original marked-up artwork for Dark Side of the Moon: one of a number of treasures from the archive of design studio Hipgnosis featured in the issue, along with an interview with Aubrey Powell, co-founder of Hipgnosis with the late, great Storm Thorgerson. Elsewhere in the issue we take a first look at The Purple Book: Symbolism and Sensuality in Contemporary Illustration, hear from the curators of a fascinating new V&A show conceived as a ‘walk-in book’ plus we have all the regular debate and analysis on the world of visual communications.

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