The Southern Cross Packaging Awards were held nationally each year for final year design students (I assume they still are). Students have a set number of briefs to choose from, the emphasis being on designing innovative packaging concepts. The year I entered I chose to tackle the beer packaging, a popular choice as you could imagine.
Out of all the projects I worked on that final year, this design shoes my influences at the time more blatantly than anything else. Charles Anderson/Duffy Design retro-pictorial elements? Check! Neville Brody typographic treatment? Check! Cool Simpatico matt black beer bottles? Check! I’m sure if David Carson had reached the heights that he would at that point in time, I would have thrown some of that grunge stuff that the kids loved on there as well.
The actual brief was that the package had to hold three beer bottles. My solution was to ‘clasp’ the bottles by the neck, leaving the labels on the bottle visible and also incorporating a nice wide panel area to maximise graphics. The back of the ‘holder’ had a cut-out hand-hold that you slip your fingers in to carry it. Basically the ‘holder’ starts flat, you punch to tops of the bottle through perforated holes that grasp the neck, fold it over, punch through again to hold the bottle top, then lock in the back. It took a reasonable amount of folding cardboard and broken bottles to get gripping the bottles comfortably.
I still cringe a bit over the graphics. The one comment I remember when presenting the work to a prospective employer was ‘why isn’t the label in blue and white’? (a reference to the Eureka Stockade Southern Cross Flag), well, I don’t really know, I guess that’s why he was sitting on that side of the desk and I was the poor schmuck looking for work.
And no one got the joke of the label. It was called EUREKA BEER, get it? As in ‘You Reek Of Beer!’ What a card I was back in those care-free student days. The design did end up winning a bronze in the awards, lame pun not-withstanding.