Colorado brews up tradition and technology

In the past, beer didn’t travel far. In fact, up until the middle of the 20th century, it’s likely that the beer you drank was brewed within a few hours drive of your home or pub.

Coors is bringing back that tradition with Colorado Native Lager. A new beer, sold initially only in Colorado, that is brewed with 99.9% Colorado-grown ingredients, bottled in Colorado glass, and with some interesting Colorado social networking technology printed on the package.

The package, designed by the Colorado firm The Tenfold Collective, is also a bit of a throwback to a simpler era. It shows clear influences of design work created by artists in the WPA Federal Artists Project of the 1930s, as discussed in an earlier post. The design is successfully reminiscent of a time when the heritage of people and products was much more traditionally rooted in a very specific time or place.

While the graphics may speak to an earlier time, the package incorporates technology, from the Colorado company SpyderLynk, that is absolutely current. Used for the first time on a package, it introduces almost instant communication with drinkers through their smartphones. And provides a link to all of the social networking opportunities that this connection allows.

Unlike traditional 3D barcodes (if technology that is barely a couple years old can be called traditional), these new SnapTags are an interesting leap in barcode technology, because a marketer can use their own logo as the code instead of an ugly blotch of black ink.

This technology has two big advantages. First, marketers would prefer it because it allows them “to make their brand logo a portal to mobile interactivity from any placement on any marketing material”. And second, designers would strongly prefer this because the code can become an integral part of the design.


About Richard Shear

designer, husband, teacher, blogger, father, athlete, author, historian Richard has over 25 years of brand identity and package design experience, with a wide range of clients such as Ahold, Coca-Cola, Hasbro, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Pernod Ricard and Procter & Gamble. He began his career working with the legendary advertising art director, and AIGA Medalist, George Lois and the British design manager Clive Chajet. In his next design management position at Lippincott & Margulies, he worked with Walter Margulies learning the complex skills of global corporate identity. He then became Creative Director and Partner at Peterson & Blyth, one of the premier brand identity and package design firms of the time. He is a founding faculty member of the Masters in Branding Program at New York’s School of Visual Arts. He publishes the blog The Package Unseen, and has been a guest lecturer at colleges including FIT, Trinity College and Tyler School of Art. He is a graduate of the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. Richard is a Board member of the AIGA MetroNorth Chapter, past President of AIGA‘s Brand Design Association, President of the Package Design Council and a member of its Board of Directors. He is a member of USA Cycling and US Rowing, a nationally ranked masters bicycle racer, and a member of The Saugatuck Rowing Club, the 2010 Masters Club National Champion.
This entry was posted in Beverages, Design Criticism, Packaging Technology, Retail Technology, Wine, Beer, & Spirits and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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