Meet The Man Behind Our Magnificent Cans (And More!): Graphic Designer Tom Ness
If you are a true Voodoo Brewing Co. lover, you must be familiar with our iconic beer cans. It’s a no-brainer that several people were first attracted to our brand by how amazing these cans looked.
Humans are generally visual beings, and perceive how much we’ll like something based on whether we like the look of it. When you see something bright, funny, or interesting, you’re likely to pick it up and see what it is. If it intrigues you, you’ll probably take it home with you. At Voodoo Brewing Co., we use this concept to enhance our beer’s vibe and give our clients the best beer experience.
Not once have we met beer lovers and Franchise Owners asking if our can designs are AI-generated. And our response is always the same—no, they are not. An actual human being creates that unique can art and beautiful designs that give you that distinct Voodoo vibe. His name is Tom Ness, and we’re damn lucky to have his amazing brain in our tribe!
Who Is Tom Ness and How Did He Venture into Can Art Graphic Design?
Tom Ness is Voodoo Brewing Co.’s head of Graphic Design. He’s in charge of creating our iconic beer cans and assisting Franchise Owners in designing their beer pubs to match our brand and attract customers.
Tom has been working at Voodoo for over five years. When he joined us, he worked for free, washing kegs in the back, helping with bottling, occasionally bartending, and doing an assortment of tasks.
Thanks to his artistic background, a BA in Fine Arts from the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, and history with us for several years, it wasn’t challenging for him to please our CEO, Matteo Rachoki, and secure a temporary graphic design gig. He did his first label, and we loved it, then a second one, third, and soon he was our full-time employee. Currently, in addition to the amazing can designs he keeps cranking out, Tom also handles the design of our highly sought-after merch, not to mention design consultation for our attention-grabbing local wall murals and the brewpub locations themselves.
Tom started out as a Graphic Design major at the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. In his junior year, the campus introduced a new major called Illustration- a perfect gel of traditional art which he loved doing, and graphic illustration, which he was passionate about. Tom didn’t think twice about changing his major, and it turned out to be a great decision. Tom became the first to graduate from Edinboro with an Illustration degree but didn’t immediately secure a job related to his art education after college. And that’s how he landed at Voodoo Brewing Co. and caught our CEO’s attention. Looking at his work today, you cannot imagine that we were his first formal graphics design employer. His designs are great, and our clients are totally in love with them.
How Does Tom Go About His Designing Process?
Graphic design is a detailed process. Designers have to ensure that they reflect the brand or product they’re working for and capture the audience’s attention.
Some graphic designers prefer understanding what they’re working on—in this case, the name of the brew—first before beginning their craft. Others go directly to storyboarding, spitballing, or idea generation and later fit the product into their existing ideas.
So, how does Tom Ness handle the collaboration and design process?
He prefers being part of the entire process and engaging other stakeholders. Let’s say, for instance, that we are coming up with a new IPA. We will create a list of a few potential names and forward them to Tom. He’ll then tell us what he thinks about them from an artistic perspective. Using this information, we’ll work with him to shortlist the best suits. Next, Tom will create preliminary can designs for the shortlisted names and select the final can art.
We can arguably say that his consultative approach is one of the biggest reasons behind his success. With everyone’s input taken into consideration, the final design becomes not only a Tom Ness idea but a masterpiece that’s a true reflection of our brand.
Does Tom Sample New Beers as An Inspiration for His Designs?
Yes, sometimes he does. Doing so ensures that he designs a personalized can art that truly captures the feel and “spirit” of the beer. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes, we explain how the beer looks or tastes and let him work out his magic.
Does He Work with Franchise Owners?
Yes, he does.
Voodoo is no longer a small brand with one brick-and-mortar store. The brand has grown exponentially over the years, and new affiliate pubs pop up daily across the U.S.
Throughout this journey, we’ve learned several valuable lessons. And we’re always more than glad to share this experience with our affiliates.
Tom has been an essential part of our growth. When he joined, we had only a couple of pubs. Thanks to his fantastic designs, fans have increasingly resonated with our brand to the extent that we’re now doing overseas distributions. He knows what our customers love and what may not go well with them. Since we’d love franchise owners and pubs working with us also to prosper, he will work closely with you to help you closely to come up with the best designs. If you have another graphic designer, Tom is always available for professional consultation.
What’s Tom’s Favorite Can Design So Far?
The truth is that he doesn’t have a specific favorite. It’s like asking a parent who their favorite child is. They’ll most probably tell you that they love them all equally, and that’s how Tom often describes his designs.
He fashions every can design in the best way possible. So, if you have a favorite, that’s also his favorite.
Does Tom Consult or Collaborate with Muralists?
Yes, he does.
As we said, Tom appreciates the value of collaboration. Therefore, he widely consults and collaborates with local muralists who have been commissioned for local Voodoo pub design projects. Typically, he’ll give them an idea, listen to their views, and let them incorporate their styles.
There you have it—all you need to know about Tom Ness, our head of Graphic Design. Please visit our franchise website for more information on our craft brewing franchise.