Admittedly, I knew very little about Lervig other than Lucky Jack - their American style pale ale that I could pick up in the local Marks and Spencer for £2.50 a can. It was a fantastic brew, old school bitterness coupled with lots of citrus and pine. The familiar image the fisherman on the front donned all of the different versions: grapefruit, black edition and extra hard (with some small changes - I very much enjoyed the grapefruit fisherman with his sunglasses on)
Recently however, the can designs seem to have changed. Much cooler more artistic cans adorning the Lervig logo appeared, taller and more unique. Most recently "Socks and Sandals", a collaboration with Warpigs Brewery in Copenhagen. It felt like something had changed and as it turns out, it had. I got in touch with the immensely talented designer Nanna Guldbæk to ask her about how she's changing the face of one of Norway's best breweries having only started in January of this year - one painted toenail at a time.
Who are you and what is your occupation?
I am Nanna Guldbæk - the (relatively) new designer at the craft beer brewery Lervig.
When did your interest in graphic design/art begin?
It’s always been there. I've always used my pencil to deal with emotions, capture experiences or tell stories. I read a lot of books and comics as a kid, and always used drawing and sketching to understand new stuff in school. I still have a book cover from a danish grammar book from 4th grade, which I kept because I thought the artwork on it was cool.
I studied at a technical high school where we often combined technology with design, and I think it was here I really got interested in working interdisciplinary. My interests lie especially in the crossroad between design, art and science - the synergy that occur.
Did you study an artistic qualification?
Well, I am currently finishing last year of my BA in Industrial Design at Design School Kolding, where I use sketching and drawing daily. Often to explain an idea or a concept. In hand or digital. As an industrial designer, a lot of my work goes on digital, so the hand drawn sketch or watercolour painting can really add something different to the project.
Is there any piece you’re particularly proud of?
It's early days. But I think the redesign of Perler For Svin is really cool. The illustration works with different medias, some elements are hand drawn others are computer generated. I’ve been working together with our manufacturers to create cut-outs, making the aluminium can visible and more integrated in the illustration - and at the same time making it work in production (canning line). And lastly there's the tactile experience of the label, that you feel the different materials when you hold the beer in your hand. It's not just a label on a can, but the illustration relates directly to the can, the material, the beer inside and the user that holds it. It's a great example of what I wish to do more of in the future with Lervig.
What is your approach to a new project when designing a new Lervig label?
So far, it’s been redesign of old labels and a few new beers, and the process always begin with sketching. Sometimes it can take 50 sheets of paper other times just one. I try to get as many ideas down and then I organise them, work on different ones – maybe sketch further on them digitally, print them and put them on the can/bottle – then back to sketching. I do a lot of mock-ups, going back and forth between working by hand and on the computer. That’s important for my process.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in graphic design or as a professional artist?
One of the best advice I’ve had has been - go see exhibitions, visit galleries, use libraries, work in public spaces, use your surroundings, be open minded - and have fun.
I've just returned to Denmark after 6 months studying at Kingston school of Arts in UK and the last couple of months I've been working from different places in Denmark and directly from Lervig in Norway - not having a permanent home. This means many hours in libraries, trains, public cafes, beer bars and friends' apartments (... basically wherever you can find wifi ... note: thanks to everyone hosting me ...). It's been pretty hectic but on the same time I've gained so many experiences.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
In general, I love when I talk to people about my artwork and they come up with names for my characters. They say like “… oh, I really like when your “yeast men” do …”, “… I think the “hop shark” looks …” or “ … so the “mountains” go …”. Caus’ then I see how people kind of create and build their own stories around my characters.
How do you feel Art and Beer are interconnected?
The art can really grasp the complexity of drinking a beer, the feelings or thoughts revolving it. But also, it seems like the process have some similarities. Sitting across Murphy during my time in Norway you could constantly see him coming up with small ideas and thoughts on beer in-between other work. Constantly working on the next brew. That reminded me of my own process working with art.
What is your favorite beer?
Like everyone else it’s hard to pinpoint one .... right now, one of my all-time faves are Sippin’ into Darkness. That one I’m craving all the time. All day. Everyday. So smooth.
Another huge thank you to the insanely talented Nanna for answering our questions and providing some more of her labels. Check our even more of her designs below!
Want to see more in future? Follow her instagram here: