Same, Same, But Different: Bringing Unified Uniqueness to the Funky Buddha Line of Beers and Hard Seltzers
by Theresa Christine Johnson on 04/13/2021 | 4 Minute Read
Funky Buddha Brewery had a big problem. People loved their beer.
OK, so that doesn’t sound like much of a problem; we get that. Folks enjoyed cracking open a can of their Floridian hefeweizen after a long workday or sitting on a patio and drinking their Hop Gun IPA. The issue, however, was no one was aware those were brewed by Funky Buddha—all anyone knew was they liked the beer.
“From a shelf perspective, the billboarding on both the cans and the six-packs contributed to the busyness of the space,” said Derek Springston. Derek is the chief creative officer and partner at Moxie Sozo, the agency which led the redesign while collaborating with Funky Buddha’s internal team. “Our objective was to create a system that didn’t lose the brand’s personality but was much more effective in communicating that brand recognition.”
“We wanted to retain that unique personality per beer, which every beer brand wants to do,” added Charles Bloom, creative director and partner at Moxie Sozo. “We wanted to find ways to bring in that consistency without being too homogenous, boring, or formulaic.”
Funky Buddha has multiple series, including their core line, limited releases, and a hard seltzer. But what makes them so different from each other is what unifies them. With this in mind, Moxie Sozo evolved the existing logo mark. Doing that helped radiate the beer’s personality on the can—as if everything were flowing from or into the brand itself.
They used a mandala to express this free-flowing exchange of energy. Mandalas—which come from the Sanskrit word for “circle”—are thought to have originated in the 4th century A.D. from Buddhist monks. A visual representation of the universe, these intricate circular patterns seemingly have no beginning or end. Moxie Sozo used this repeating illustration to incorporate the unique elements of each beer while also reflecting how everything comes back to the Funky Buddha brand.
“It’s this multi-directional thing,” Charles explained. “Funky Buddha contains these vibes, and by drinking this beer, it’s like you’re capturing some of that essence, too.”
Although Funky Buddha prides itself on its Floridian roots, the team didn’t want to rely on stereotypes about the state. They did take a good look at the brand’s old packaging to figure out what elements they could pull and highlight in a new, fresh way that would better embrace each brew’s distinct personality. The Floridian hefeweizen, for instance, featured a relaxing hammock and soothing sunset backdrop. Moxie Sozo captured that warm, sun-drenched feeling with golds and oranges, but then they added in elements like a skateboarding sun flashing a peace sign.
Regardless of the series, the packaging comes together with a casual and laid-back typeface and a vibrant color palette. Plus, the illustration style leaves plenty of opportunities for the brand to dip into animation for commercials or social media.
"Moxie Sozo helped us seize the opportunity to evolve Funky Buddha into a master brand by crafting a story around the mark,” said John Linn, Marketing Director, Funky Buddha & Constellation Brands. “They realized it through a tight visual system that still provided the room for our personality to shine through."
When Funky Buddha’s owners, Constellation Brands, saw the proposed designs, they knew it was no longer a concept—it was a reality. “Once they saw the redesign, the internal momentum from the larger team turned into excitement, and they wanted us to do more and more,” said Mike Bowman, senior account director at Moxie Sozo. From there, it became about executing the vision.
Moxie Sozo had to find that balance between something totally one-of-a-kind and also something that could get used for every can—“unified uniqueness,” Charles said. “Whenever something had to be consistent, we wanted to make sure those consistencies had their own personality, including the type choices, which have a brush lettering, poster-y feel to them, a kind of swish to the characters.”
Moxie Sozo couldn’t have had a better project to work on in the summer of 2020 amidst a global pandemic, and the studio relished the chance to create something full of joy. It’s not merely an escape but a way to inject good vibes into your life. You really can’t help but feel the positivity emanating from a can of Funky Buddha—and that’s what the brand is all about.