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How to solve an awkward silence

Beer label designs
Beer label designs
CSM x Hammerton Beer
Written by
Teleri Lloyd-Jones
Published date
17 April 2019

In 2018, Central Saint Martins commissioned its own beer from Hammerton Brewery. Each year students from the Graphic Communication Design programme redesign its packaging. We catch up with 2019’s graphic designer duo.

Yukako Sunaba and Joe Fraquelli, Foundation alumni and current BA Graphic Communication Design students, approached the brief as an interactive design problem that needs solving.

“We were working on the computer and working on our own stuff and Yuki said ‘wouldn’t it be great if it was a conversation starter’. We always had a joke between us that whenever there’s an industry event I’ll go and try and get an email address. She always makes fun of it. But what if we could do that on the design?” Joe Fraquelli

Could the packaging of the beer alleviate the horrors of an awkward silence? Taking the drink as a prop for the professional performances of a private view or a degree show, the designers wanted to offer a small intervention for anyone struggling for conversation.


The first year of the collaboration, the design was black and white so for 2019 the brewery were looking for colour. Beyond that, the designers had free rein. Alighting on a Post-it note as a symbol of a reminder, a note to self, something to grab your attention, they created a skin that, from a distance, looked like the can was plastered with Post-its. Each Post-it has a prompt and space to write a phone numbers, an email address or a doodle. The prompts are kept purposefully vague: “They can be used for networking, socialising or even flirting,’ says Sunaba.

When they’d found their design, it was all about the details: defining the hand writing, perfecting the seam of the wraparound. The packaging even includes the mark celebrating 2019 as the 30th anniversary of the merger between the Central School and St Martin’s.

This is the first product that the two have helped bring into the real world, a big incentive for the design competition that runs alongside their core curriculum work. “It was refreshing. So many of our briefs are open-ended and you can do whatever you want. It was nice to be told to design a beer can label that would go into production,” says Sunaba.

Does the experience impact their other work? “Well, it doesn’t push us into making beer can designs for the rest of our lives, but it’s all about implementing a strong idea, pushing what it can be,“ says Fraquelli. “Yes and it’s good experience,” continues Sunaba, “Now we know what it takes to get something into production.”

Matthew Batt, of Majestic, who sat on the selection panel for the project was impressed by all the students’ ideas and attention to detail:

“The incredible range of options and professionalism and quality of the work that all the students submitted was very inspiring and I enjoyed the opportunity to engage with them on their ideas and vision. I thought last year’s winning design was amazing but a whole new set of students interpreted the brief in another completely different way this year. Who knows what 2020 will bring!”

The 2019 CSM x Hammerton Brewery beer launches this year at the Foundation Private View and will be available in the Platform Bar.

More information:

Cans of beer
CSM x Hammerton Beer (photo: Christiane Brittain)