We Needed a Change

We have a new look! 

It's crazy to think how much we've grown and changed over the past few years. 

As we've grown from infancy into our adolescence we've improved on so many levels...from our operations, to our food, and now our communication. Like a young adult, we've started to come into a rhythm to understand who we are, and what we stand for. We've gotten better about being able to describe and explain to people what the Beer Belly experience is all about. Our personality and philosophy has changed over the years, but the way we looked has stayed the same....until today. 

The new look you see before you is the culmination of many late nights, and early mornings. It is the byproduct of passionate people getting excited about the little details that go into identity expression. It may be a silly thing to spend so much time talking about the intangible importance of a logo, or color scheme, but being able to clearly express the Beer Belly vibe in a fun and subtle way is something we take seriously because we want to be able to share it with as many of you as possible.

I wanted to thank the people who worked on this project and let them share with you their perspective and interpretation of our new look.

The new logo and identity was created by our Designer consultant Rodrigo Calderon. And the new website that you're on right now was created by our UX/UI consultant Courtney Kim. Three cheers! 

RODRIGO CALDERON

Portfolio: http://dribbble.com/rodrigothedesigner

Q: What's the story behind the Beer Belly identity? How did you interpret the vibe and personality in a graphical form?

Beer Belly is a unique place with a ton of personality. The restaurant's commitment to the local community as well as the local beer scene is refreshing. With that in mind, I strongly felt that they needed an identity that reflected those qualities. It wasn't until my wife and I visited the restaurant, on a Saturday day trip up from San Diego, that we got to fully experience Beer Belly, and understand how special this place is. 

Truthfully, I had already taken pen to paper prior to that trip, but as soon as I got back home and into the studio, it was like:

"Okay, let's rip up all of these sketches and start again."

What had been developing before then was good, but it fell short of delivering a solid reflection of the Beer Belly experience. 

The vibe I got from Beer Belly is that on the surface they don't take themselves too seriously; they're more casual: less arrogant and pretentious than some craft beer bistros I've encountered. They're unafraid to be funny, use wit, or express their silly-ness. However, underneath that playful surface, they are absolutely serious about being local craft beer advocates, and they have a talented chef and a rad kitchen with great food. 

For starters, I designed a custom display font for Beer Belly that I called "Belly Grotesque". It's based on some hand-drawn samples that I was toying around with during the sketching process for their logo. That hand-drawn look seemed perfect for them, and instead of settling for an existing font, I introduced Beer Belly to Belly Grotesque. But since it isn't all fun and games, I wanted to balance some of the playfulness out with clean body type, and elegant white space whenever possible. 

The colors that the new identity uses are sampled directly from the graffiti art on the walls of Beer Belly. The art on the exterior of the restaurant definitely leaves an impression for anyone who has visited, so it was important to incorporate it as part of the new identity. 

Illustrated icons that mirror the hand-drawn feel of the new logo were also created, with the thought in mind that the icon library would grow or expand. It would be a living icon library that evolves with the community; ducks and hops, and ballcaps with the word BEER on it... it's all fair game. If it's a part of the Beer Belly experience, I want it to be represented as an icon at some point. 

All in all, the identity needed to feel like Beer Belly: unique, playful but serious, and committed to the community. I think we achieved that look, and I'm excited for where Beer Belly is headed from here. 

Q: What's your craft beer story? Any first beers that hooked you? Favorite SD breweries? Styles?

I live in a part of San Diego, on 30th street in the South Park neighborhood, that is packed with craft beer restaurants, breweries, and markets. The saying goes, "You can't throw a rock without hitting either a brew pub or brewery..." and in my neighborhood, that's absolutely true. I'm surrounded by it. I love it. Personally, I enjoy sampling as many new varieties or experimentations as I can, because if a brewer is bold enough to try something different or combine ingredients that you wouldn't expect, I'd like to give them my support by sampling it. Why not, right? Creativity is one of the pillars of craft beer that sets it apart from the mass-produced stuff. 

As far as first beers that hooked me, I remember drinking Stone because I thought their bottles were cool-looking and different. It sounds superficial when I think about it, and it probably was. Cali Belgique was one of the first craft beers that made a lasting impression on me, and is the beer that helped me turn the corner. 

Favorite SD breweries: Mother Earth, Ballast Point, Thorn Street Brewery, Hess, and Alpine to name a few. Styles? The only styles I really shy away from are light lagers and sours, other than that, I'd say my go to is a crisp, hop-balanced, IPA in the 6-7.5% ABV range. Is that too specific? Haha. Cheers!

COURTNEY KIM

Portfolio: http://courtneykimdesign.com
http://dribbble.com/courtneykim

Q: What was the primary design objective for you? Your background is mostly in tech and software...did this play a role in how you wanted the site to look and feel? 

I have two things I’m extremely passionate about: design and food. When you think about it, restaurants and (mobile/web) apps have a lot in common. The successes of both are determined by the overall quality of the experience. For restaurants in particular, it’s not just about the in-dining experience anymore. Diners are savvy and most do their research about what to expect and what to order long before they actually step foot into the restaurant. This means that if you’re not on top of it, you lose out on a huge opportunity to make a lasting, positive first impression on your customer. 

My goal was to translate the Beer Belly identity onto the web and capture the spirit of the restaurant. Beer Belly is unique in that it truly feels like a local hangout spot, even though it’s in the heart of Koreatown. It was important that the new website felt vibrant, off-beat, and highlighted the tight-knit Beer Belly community—all while being flexible and easy to maintain. I was lucky to have the awesome new identity designed by Rodrigo as my foundation, which made my job so much easier and more rewarding.

Q: What’s your craft beer story? Particular first beers that hooked you? Favorite breweries or styles?

To be honest, I only started getting into beer recently. My knowledge of craft beer, a couple of years ago, pretty much ended at Allagash White. While in Chicago last year, I randomly ordered Local Option’s BBA Kentucky Common and loved it. Now, if there’s a sour beer on the menu, I’ll always order it! I can’t get enough. Some of my other favorites are Almanac’s Valley of the Heart’s Delight and Russian River’s Supplication.