Design agency Design Bridge has worked with designer and illustrator Gerry Barney, letterpress studio New North Press and harp makers Niebisch & Tree to redraw Guinness’s famous harp icon.
The redesign sees the brand move from a flat symbol to a handcrafted one with depth and shading. The phrase Estd. 1759 now appears on the harp’s sound board (its straight edge), in type inspired by metal-stamped lettering imprinted on ironwork at the Guinness Storehouse. First brewed in 1759 Dublin, Ireland Guinness is one of the most well known beers in the world, its iconic look with white frothy foam that sits on a dark, rich stout goes hand in hand with the heritage of the harp logo.
Design Bridge decided to work with specialist harp makers Niebisch & tree to create a new design from scratch instead of looking at previous harps.
Tim Vary, creative director at Design Bridge, says the aim was to create an icon with a sense of depth and form while reflecting the brand’s history and the craft that goes into making its famous stout.
After initial sketches Design Bridge had 3D models made of the harp to gauge where light and shadow would fall on the instrument. Barney then hand drew the logo and word mark based sketches from Design Brideg and the agency worked with letterpress studio New North Press to create a physical impression of it. The physical impression was created by splitting the design into layers and overlaying different colours, textures and printing techniques, from metallic inks to debossing and foil blocking.
By working with Niebisch & Tree, Vary says Design Bridge was able to create an accurate drawing of a harp which would sound in tune if made into a working instrument. This dictated features such as the thickness of the harp’s soundboard and the shape of the harmonic curve at the top of the instrument.
Diageo meanwhile, says the mark is designed to appeal to a new generation of drinkers and convey the history that sets Guinness apart from younger brands. Vary says it represents the brand’s ‘Made of More’ positioning.
Redesigning such a world famous as i can imagine would be no easy task, especially with Guinness’ rich heritage, the process wasn’t simply a designer behind a computer simplifying it, Design Bridge collaborated with two other companies to really get into the roots of the icon and create not inly a logo with historical clues but real depth. It’s important to really understand a brand and sink your teeth into its history when undergoing a redesign, design Bridge have demonstrated this perfectly.
The execution of this logo is utterly elegant the letterpress element by New North Press takes the craft aspect to the nth degree.
Guinness has a rich history since 1759, it’s a heritage brand, the redesign brings its historical background to the new generation. With the lettering on the harp inspired by a metal-stamped type on the ironwork in the Guinness storehouse and the waves on the harp representing the River Liffey not only give the mark character but successfully integrate its history.