Brand guardians: Long-term design partnership and staged evolution of the Gweilo brand. Established in 2015 in Hong Kong, Gweilo quite literally started as a dream. From day one, their mission was to create quality, easy-drinking and widely available brews. And their vision has always been to redefine the Asian craft beer scene.
Collective-Objective has been a collaborative partner from pretty much the beginning. Working alongside Ian & Joseph, the founders, to develop and evolve the brand as the business has grown and rather quickly matured.
The founding team at Gweilo came to us with a rather neat little idea of taking and owning the term ‘Gweilo’. Once a Cantonese derogatory term for Westerners or white men, until more recently taking a more neutral connotation. Or dare say a term of endearment. It was a prime opportunity to take ownership of the word and quite literally redefine its meaning.
From day one, the Dictionary definition of Gweilo became a renowned brand touch-point that has since amassed a somewhat cult following - and is still a crucial part of the brand messaging.
Very quickly, ‘Redefining’ was established as the core brand idea. It was a flexible tool that suited the different business facets whilst each time reaffirming their vision.
For their permanent HK Range of beers - Simply Redefining became its mantra. Collaboratively Redefining for their partnerships with other well-known craft breweries. And for their regular release of Limited Batch brews, a wildly free and fairly exhaustive approach was embraced. Fearlessly, Bravely, Audaciously, Vibrantly, Excitingly… Redefining.
The brand’s latest evolution has been with Gweilo’s HK Range - the easily accessible, everyday drinking beers. The product has become a well-known and established brand name in Hong Kong and quickly picked up pace in Vietnam, the UK, and Australia. Originally the brand was minimal clean, black and white. However, collectively we felt that the product and brand could work harder to tell the Gweilo story and evoke our Asian heritage.
Building upon an earlier canvas framework idea for the Limited Range and working with Szabotage - a graffiti artist based in HK. A bespoke three-piece canvas artwork was created using Szabotage’s signature stencil style that visually depicted the Gweilo story. With each stencil full of hidden meaning and miniatures stories of importance. From key brewing ingredients to memorable events and key partnerships through to distinctly Hong Kong icons.
Bespoke stencils were created, hand-cut and sprayed onto a 4m wide three-piece canvas. Taking the idea one step further, we strategically placed relevant ingredients and icons in a particular order so that the canvas would literally become the front of the HK Range cans. Effectively making a bespoke artwork on the shelf.
Limited Edition batch beers are regular and adventurous brews that are forever evolving. Being brewed and released as quickly as the bold ideas could be thought of, a level of control was needed for speed efficiencies and brand consistency.
We quickly created a flexible but controlled canvas framework that allowed anyone to produce creative ideas for the limited label’s releases. This created product consistency that built upon and reinforced overall brand equity.
Also, making them mini-artworks in the process.
We’re currently in the process of rolling out the latest brand evolution across various touch-points. To assist the Gweilo team with marketing across the ever-expanding countries, a brand book and guidelines have been created to aid brand consistency. Making sure the Gweilo experience is the same no matter where in the world you taste a delicious Gweilo brew.
Our partnership is an ongoing, ever-evolving and reasonably organic process. Regarding the design process and brand building, it’s a pretty unique and refreshing way to work. And one that we’ve very much enjoyed to date. Cheers.