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Bulletproof Redesigns Jamaican Beer Red Stripe to be Bold and True to It's Rich Roots

by Jessica Deseo on 05/19/2021 | 3 Minute Read

There’s an old saying in Jamaica that if you ask for a beer, you’ll get a Red Stripe. So, when Bulletproof was approached to redesign the packaging, one word came to mind.

Respect.

 Mark Link, Creative Director at Bulletproof, explains: “Red Stripe’s positioning – ‘Stand Up’ – was born from the very essence of what it means to be Jamaican; defiant, passionate, and damn proud of where we come from. Yet the packaging told a very different story.

“Over time, the brand elements had been tinkered with and no longer worked together, with little unity on a global level. With an influx of beers also entering the world stage, it was time for Red Stripe to stand up and stand out – maintaining the relevance of this famous red stripe in Jamaica, without losing its countercultural associations in Europe.” 

Bulletproof’s challenge was to elevate the brand and improve its relevance without losing its authentic roots. The response was anchored in the insight that Red Stripe wasn’t just a beer from Jamaica, it was the “Jamaican Original”. 

“Our solution to the challenge was to keep Red Stripe unapologetically, defiantly true to its rich roots,” says Link. 

Editorial photograph

The creative process began by digging through the brand archives. Bulletproof discovered one of the first iterations of the founders Desnoes & Geddes’ monogram and resurrected it, reappropriating the icon as a stamp of quality whilst building premium perceptions. This not only breathed new life into a piece of heritage equity, but it also allowed the agency to make bolder choices elsewhere.

The wordmark had been stretched over the years and Bulletproof sought to give some respect back to this iconic mark – modifying the overly sheer angle and kerning to feel more upright and open, giving the wordmark room to breathe, and freshening up an iconic asset. Adding fluidity into the letterforms through handwritten loops and refining the tail-flicks injected a sense of attitude, capturing the brands defiant personality.

Editorial photograph

The eponymous red stripe in its current iteration had started to become more like a ribbon than its namesake. By fixing the angle to a sweet spot of 30º and giving its confidence back, it once again became an iconic symbol of defiance. And with new, clear parameters in place, opportunities to use the stripe opened up beyond packaging whilst maintaining consistency.

Editorial photograph

To elevate “Jamaican Lager Beer” from a reason to believe into a point of pride and credibility, Bulletproof chose a script for “Jamaican” that nodded to the hand-painted signs of Jamaican dancehalls. The slanted layering gave a sense of attitude, as if it was striking a pose and proud of the beer that lies within.

The result is a design that feels real, contemporary, and unmistakable. The Jamaican original befitting its countercultural chops and injecting a bold sense of defiance in the process. 

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