Founded in 1822 by Joshua Tetley, Tetley’s Brewery in Leeds in West Yorkshire, England is one of the better known beer brands in the UK. Perhaps not always for the right reasons. Although it enjoyed quite a bit of success before the 2000s, Tetley’s beer has bounced around owners — now owned by Carlsberg — and closed its legendary plant in Leeds. Tetley’s is heavily involved in the sponsorship of Rugby teams and its most recent logo and packaging focused a little too heavily on that. Tetley’s recently reintroduced its iconic huntsman logo and new packaging, designed by Leeds-based WPA Pinfold.
The Tetley’s huntsman had been previously dropped from the brand and replaced with a rugby ball icon. We felt it was important to bring the huntsman back as he had equity and there was still a lot of affection for him, however the brand had to be forward looking (not nostalgic of twee).
The answer was to contemporise the huntsman image and make him a brand icon — this was achieved by retaining the form and colour cues of the original version.
The result, a return to Tetley’s unique iconic status with a brand that presses all the right emotional buttons and yet is also modern and forward looking. Stand out is significantly improved and the personality has been restored to the brand.
— WPA Pinfold project page
The previous logo was pretty bad but I’ll admit that I’m turned off by typography in the shape of rugby balls altogether so maybe I’m just jaded. It’s also a little odd to base the brand of a beer on the sport it sponsors, but I can see how that would sell more beer to the right crowd. The new logo makes more sense, although not sure if it will sell more beer, marking a return to Tetley’s origins. First in the reintroduction of the huntsman icon, originally depicted realistically as a photograph or drawing but now abstracted with a Johnny Walker-esque swagger. Although from afar it looks sort of interesting, up close the icon is a little messy and unfinished with too many different kinds of thick and thin lines and ghostly spaces where there is nothing. Second, the heavy serif typography and specific arrangement has also been previously used by Tetley’s and now has been brought back with presumably more finesse but the details also serve against it, specifically the highlights in the lettering which are far from convincing. The logo could have probably been highlighted with interesting packaging, but both the cans and the pack are fairly unimaginative and the supporting typography on both the Smooth Flow — look, it’s flowing! — and Original Bitter has no relation whatsoever to the logo. Adding the signature at the bottom adds one final clash in the whole package. Overall, Tetley’s got caught between old and new, never committing to one spectrum.