Matt Smith of Brave Brewing Co. was once an audio engineer and Phantom Billsticker with a home brew hobby and no commercial experience. Matt now runs his own award winning brewery with his lovely wife and business partner Gemma. Here Matt talks about the story behind the Brave branding – from the name to the typography to the bugle (that’s right, it’s not just a trumpet!).
How many other contenders were there for names before Brave? We had absolutely no marketing or business background so didn’t have a clue what we were doing. We just knew we wanted something that was short, sharp, memorable and would be easy to translate to logos and signage. Also something that didn’t have references to animals or a hop pun in the name like so many breweries. Although, I have since made three beers with animal references in the name. Must be some kind of brewers curse. We had a big list that was narrowed down to two or three.
What made you decide on Brave in the end?
One thing for sure is that I’m a very timid person in many ways, so I liked the PMA (positive mental attitude) aspect. It’s something to refocus on when I get scared.
Someone told me that the “trumpet” in your logo is not actually a trumpet, can you elaborate on this? That’s interesting, it is actually a trumpet, or at least a type of trumpet. It’s a military bugle. We wanted a design feature in our logo that was synonymous with bravery. There were a few options but we decided on the trumpet idea and thought it would be fun to incorporate it somehow in an ambiguous way. When I was young I played the trumpet for the Hastings Citizens Brass Band, so that’s another fun connection.
How do you feel about the possible missed connection regarding the bugle/trumpet? I like that it confuses people.
What do you think of when you hear the word Brave and what do you hope your clientele/customers think? I like to think that it speaks to our journey and encourages people to take risks and follow their passions. That it’s possible to bow out of traditional career paths and chase things that are more interesting to you instead. I’m equally happy if people just see it as a catchy name without too much afterthought.
How did you come to choose the font and colours for your logo and branding? How do you feel these details represent your brand? In all honesty, that level of thought didn’t come into it. In fact, the colours are actually quite different to what we intended as we didn’t have the budget to do proper Pantone swatch colour matching when we did our first label run. We were lucky to have a friend with a graphic design background help us out with the branding. We liked vintage style typography and simple, bold design, so he was able to take that and come up with a few options for us.
How important are fonts to you? I’m no expert, but I do know when I look at a product that I’m put off if the font or design is bad, so I’d say very important.
And finally, how do you feel about comic sans? Funny you should ask about comic sans. One of my favourite breweries, Russian River in the U.S. uses comic sans on all of their labels (and not in an ironic way). They have a Double IPA called Pliny The Elder which has a huge cult following around the world. So comic sans isn’t so bad that it can ruin a good beer, but still pretty bad.