Dad’s translation: “Basically, “God created hops and malts to brew beer when the monks couldn’t eat anything…”

I have not kept up with my blog like I was supposed to. I have lots of ideas! Really looking forward to an upcoming Christmas post, one about strategy, and one just on brands I love and why I love them. 

I did want to share why I haven’t been keeping up though. See, I’ve wanted Photoshop for awhile now. I’m not great at designing, but there are things that I want to do (see the banner on my blog post here for example). A few weeks ago I downloaded the trial version of Photoshop Elements to see if that would work for me. It can’t do everything, but neither can  I…so it works! The biggest problem is that it doesn’t do CMYK so it isn’t ideal for print, but most of what I do is online so, again, it works.

One project that I have finished was a fun thing for my dad. He brews his own beer at home and is truly a creative at heart I think. So he had this idea to have beer labels, came up with a name, and asked if I could help.

Well, initially I did something truly terrible because I didn’t have Photoshop at the time. We’ll pretend that version doesn’t exist and never mention it again. But the last few weeks I needed something to experiment on, so I tried my hand at it again.

What I’ve learned

One. Research is important and takes time. I don’t know much about beer labels except that they have words and sometimes pictures on them. I don’t even like beer. But here are two of the labels I found in my search that really helped shape my ideas for the final design:


Two. Changes suck. It was my idea to try again…so I found a template which didn’t end up working out, but only after I’d designed something and made changes. (Lydia! Ricky! I get it more than ever now!!)

Three. Sometimes when you least expect it you will have a stroke of genius and the end product is what you go with. My dad wanted a picture on his label, but I could not make it work. I was emailing him to say sorry and that I’m not a great designer and I’m sorry–it just wouldn’t fit. Then I had an idea in the middle of the email and I came away with the end product.

Four. I kind of like designing. Not like, as a designer, but as a marketer and for fun. ‘Content is king’ they say, and we all like pretty pictures because it’s easy content to take in. This skill can only help me and any clients I have.

So, above there’s a preview with a very small piece of the design, but here is the final product. What do you think?

November 12, 2013


Jackie, you are BRILLIANT!

I am Von Stihl, meaning ‘of steel’ in German; a nickname given to me by a nephew because of my ‘six pack’ abs. (yes, that is true; but a story too long to tell right now).

Just so everyone knows, backyard brewing is hard work (even the skinny ones sweat). It is a 3-step process…brewing, fermenting and bottling. It takes months. You must be diligent, patient and should know a smidgeon of chemistry if you are going to brew “for real.”

But the payoff for home crafted brew is the name, because the product is so much better than the swill folks buy at the corner store that the better taste is really an after thought. The name gives you that sense of satisfaction that ‘you built this beer.’ Jackie’s brilliance came from her ability to recognize what the ‘client’ wanted, even though she hates beer. But the client gave her parameters and directions, and Wallah! It is a simple, but a simply perfect result.

The story of the name explains this. It’s also very simple – Von Stihl was bottling the product and thought “Oh NO! I don’t have a name yet!” (Then panic struck). However, the bottling date was November 3, the day of the change of daylight savings time. This dark ale is slightly potent, so Von Stihl just added 2+2: Clock fell back and this beer could make you fall back….duh.

Stick figures will be the ‘trademark’ of VS brewing, despite it not having one photo-shopped label until NOW! Thanks to Jackie Marketing GMBH (I will let u figure that one out).

Consistency is marketing usually equals consistency in product. So relax and have a home brew…and live in harmony.


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