Portland Brewing had a lousy 1995 – largely due to a hypersaturated craft beer market – but management felt that they had made good decisions and were well-positioned for growth. We talked them out of soft-pedaling their soft results in an opaque 10-k, instead delivering an oversized, straight-talking book that cut their production budget by more than half and garnered management a standing ovation at the annual meeting.
The book is a full-sized tabloid, printed in black and red on newsprint, in the same plant wherein we printed our college newspaper years ago. There is no small print, and no fancy business. Whatever visual interest it holds is purely a function of its message, crafted by veteran copywriter Timothy Leigh. We asked Mr. Leigh, an accomplished orator, to record himself reading his copy aloud; we used the resulting performance to shape the book’s typographical voice.
For those of you who follow that sort of thing, this book was included in the 1997 Mead Annual Report Show; it was executed when McIsaac was a partner at The Felt Hat.
If you're feeling the resonance of die neue typographie here, it's not your imagination. Black and red are the colors of the German craft tradition in typography; the client was a German-style craft brewery. The relationship seemed appropriate, and also appropriate to cold-web printing, where color registration is often a matter of prayer rather than praxis.
99 bottles of beer on the wall: a cheap illustration of the crowded market for craft brewers in the mid-nineties. Mr. Leigh broke the year's sorrows and joys down into roughly ten sections, each of which was given a large-scale treatment like this.
Jonathan Hoefler's Champion Gothic had just been released to the public, and we used the hell out of it.
As lively as the narrative section of this book was, the financials are especially satisfying: the large scale of the page allowed us plenty of room to work with the kind of content that doesn't benefit from closer quarters.