Indonesian artist Diva Adiwijaya never thought she would be a beer can label designer. But when Savannah, Georgia-based craft brewery Service Brewing launched an open call art competition with Artrepreneur for label art, the title of the new brew caught her eye: “Uncontrolled Imagination.”
“I took it as freedom to express my take on the brief and let my imagination take over,” said the 29-year-old illustrator, now based in Tokyo, Japan. “I had so much fun designing the cans.”
Now, Adiwijaya’s effervescent designs are available as colorful cans on the first beer in a series of three DDH Double IPAs. The refreshing, summery “Uncontrolled Imagination” features notes of mango, orange, and peach in every sip, according to the brewery. With the other two slated for release later this year, Diva’s work will soon be a collectible trio of beer cans-turned-canvases.
For the new DDH Double IPA beer series, the veteran-owned Service Brewing requested designs that told the story of Project Horizon, a 1959 plan by the U.S. military for the construction of a space base on the moon. Man had yet to set foot on the moon, but the “uncontrolled imagination” of the times was the motivation behind the space race with the Soviet Union, surveillance of Earth, and scientific exploration into deep space. Although a lunar outpost was the definition of a moon shot, the team behind this project was dedicated to demonstrating scientific leadership and ultimate control of space and planned to make the post fully operational with 12 military personnel by 1966. Alas, Project Horizon was never executed and the plans were eventually declassified and shared with the public.
With the prompt including themes related to planets, astronauts, and space shuttles, Adiwijaya felt her vibrant style and sci-fi subject matter would hit the right note.
“I am interested in science fiction and space so the theme was perfect,” she said. “Also, I love how foreign beer cans have exciting illustrations as design and I thought the open call was a chance for me to maybe finally be able to design one myself.”
She researched Project Horizon for visual inspiration and allowed her signature style to take over. She describes her work as colorful and detailed, and loves when viewers notice the small, blink-and-you’ll-miss-them details she infuses into her works. Influenced by visual artists like Hieronymus Bosch and James Jean as well as graphic designers like Keiichi Tanaami and Tadanori Yokoo, Adiwijaya similarly blends digital technique with hands-on methods — which translates perfectly to a commercial collaboration. Her designs begin with detailed pencil sketches before she turns to Illustrator and Photoshop, and she also experiments with painting and drawing as well.
Service Brewing agreed the collaboration with Artrepreneur was the perfect combination.
“This was the first call for entry contest we have participated in, with over 150 artists submitting portfolios to be juried,” Service Brewing stated in a release. “Our team loved Diva’s flowing creativity, colorful palate, and playful style and are excited to showcase her beautiful work on this new DIPA series.”
Beer can label art is an increasingly popular canvas for artists to widen their audiences and for craft breweries to stand out on the shelf or in the display case. Intricately designed beer label art can be a conversation starter and, with more than 9,000 craft breweries operating in the U.S. alone, they also help local breweries establish their brand identity and gain consumers. And of course, for artists, they’re a great way to gain fans and to create a collectible item that exposes new people to their work.
For Adiwijaya, she couldn’t have asked for a better first collaboration as a budding beer can label designer. Creating designs for school events since middle school, she has been drawing commissioned work and taking illustration and design orders from friends since she was in college. The Service Brewing series was her first professional collaboration on product packaging.
“I think with this collaboration, I can get more people to see and enjoy my works. Even when they don’t recognize me as an artist/illustrator, I would be so happy if they love the designs I made. And I hope I could do much more collaborations in the future.”
Follow Diva Adiwijaya @divaadiwijaya and Service Brewing @servicebrewing.
What’s your favorite beer can label art? What do you think it takes to be a great beer can label designer? Sound off in the comments.
Editorial director and writer Allison Stice covers art, design and culture. Her work has been published in The Bitter Southerner, Garden & Gun, Savannah Magazine and more.