Here at Black Hops the design process is something that we love! So we thought we’d run with a series of posts that shines the spotlight on some of the designers we collaborate with for our beer can designs.
Time to meet our first designer in this series.
Troy Cochrane: Troy Designs
Troy has been working with us since he randomly sent us a very cool Send It drawing, which we liked so much that we used it for our Send It t shirt design!
Getting To Know Troy
How did you get into the design game?
I had completed Art & Digital Photography (when digital cameras started being a thing hahaha) for the HSC subjects. So this early love for art and photography drew me towards doing art/graphic design for a living. From there, I had work experience at a couple of different places and taught myself all the essential Adobe programs. The first big break that made my career take off was getting the role of Designer at 102.9 Hot Tomato radio station on the Gold Coast.
From a design perspective, who are a few of your greatest role models/inspirations?
Three of the main designers for inspiration/motivation would have to be the team at Lincoln Design Co., these guys do some epic illustrations and logos for big companies. Aaron Draplin, I love his old school bold logos. Then there is Kentaro Yoshida, his Japanese influence on his illustrations is second to none.
How did you end up designing beer cans for Black Hops?
I loved the Send It Session beer, and while drinking it one day I got the inspiration to design a Send It can dude skate-boarding with a Gold Coast backdrop. Dan and the team loved it and asked if I would be interested in designing some beer labels. You can see the original “Send It Man” illustration at the Black Hops II taproom at Biggera Waters.
Can you outline the process of how you come up with the Black Hops can designs?
It all starts with the beer name and ingredients. You have to express on the label what is happening inside the can. If it’s tropical/fun flavours, you would sway towards having nice lush bright colours and vice versa for Stouts, which are darker beers. A lot of the limited release beers have fun names, so you can really play off those and create fun things. I always try and create a mood board, this usually features colours, font, image inspiration etc to help shape the direction.
Do you have a personal favourite Black Hops can design that you came up with?
The Hop Man Moon Dancer would be one, as it got in the GABS top 10 beer can design for 2020. Another would be the Rosé Berry, which features hand drawn ingredients all over the label and a nice colour palette.
Who are a few of your other clients?
70% of my work is for Aussie Craft Breweries (Black Hops, Sanctus, Crescent Head Brewing, Wobbly Chook to name a few). The other 30% is random work for professional athletes such as Corey Creed (X Games Gold Medallist) and Nic Rapa (Wakeboarding World Champ), along with logos, websites and general graphic design work for a range of small businesses.
Key Can Focus: Moondancer Hazy IPA
This year the GABS Can Design Awards, held in recognition of the fine art of designing a killer craft beer can, will be entering their third year.
At the 2020 inaugural event we were stoked to make the list of finalists with our limited release Moondancer Hazy IPA, with Troy creating a new character, affectionately dubbed ‘Hop Man’, dancing around a campfire under a full moon. The design was so popular it inspired more than a few Hop Man tattoos and fireside beers! Moondancer ended up coming in 7th.
How did the Hopman character become reality?
Dan sent through a brief with the beer name “Moon Dancer” and said to have some fun with this one. Going back to the process discussed earlier, the name Moon Dancer instantly got me feeling like having beers around a campfire with mates. I didn’t want to just do a human character, as it could have been a bit boring to look at, so I went to ingredients and Hops is a massive part of beer. So I turned a hop into a fun loving little guy that everyone fell in love with.
Here’s a few of the comments that came our way from the judging panel:
“I would put this can on my mantelpiece after I’d emptied it. It celebrates how it’s meant to be enjoyed and puts you in this little creepy cute dramatic world. Love the Hop Man by the fire, it’s a really strong brand character.”
“This design really connects the story of the beer with the experience of enjoying the liquid inside the can. Great character design that any beer lover will relate to. An overall clean and sleek look that stands out, great use of a reduced colour palette.”
Related: we recently announced the launch of the Black Hops Beta Team, an exclusive meeting point for like-minded individuals with a passion for beer, cryptocurrency, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and Web3. And as part of this project we’re releasing a range of 1,000 unique Hopman NFT tokens, each a unique take on the Hopman character originally made famous by our limited release Moondancer Hazy IPA. If you want to be part of the Beta Team and join our Discord Server, hit us up here.
Troy’s Black Hops Can Designs
Here’s the list of BH beer cans designed by Troy to date – so far he’s done over 30 for us! Scroll down to see all the rest of Troy’s Black Hop can design artwork to date.
- Tri-State IPA
- Sun Kissed
- Smashed Avo
- Purple Hayes
- North Coast IPA
- South Coast IPA
- Noch Out
- Moon Dancer
- Message in a Bubble
- Mango Milkshake
- Hop Man Returns
- Hop Man Out
- Full Send
- Water Bomb
- Fruits of a Sour Forest
- Cream Cloud
- Bubble Hard
- Brewer’s Handshake
- Amaretto Sour
- Hop in Boots
- Trail Mix Stout
- Hop Swap
- Roseberry #1
- Roseberry #2
- Purple Pills
- Pina Colada
- Brunswick Simple Pleasures
- Birthday Beer – Manilla Vanilla
- Birthday Beer – Why So Sour
- Birthday Beer – Chilla Manilla
- Spiced Berry Bottle