The Quick Fix


In January of 2021, I received an email from Parris Filbert, who had recently started up a craft brewery in Winnipeg called Bookstore Brewery. He had read my “Create a Retro Sci-Fi Paperback Book Cover” post, and asked if I was interested in designing the brand and (at least) the first label.

In his own words …

“For years, when I travel I love to visit local used bookstores. Pulp paperbacks from the 50s have such an entertaining design flair and layout, before photography was beginning, even when most of the stories are terrible. I’ve thought of shoving that art style and craft beer together for about three years.”

The overarching theme for all the brews is that they’re fashioned after vintage paperback novels–hence, “Bookstore” Brewing. Parris left a full-time job to pursue his long-time ambition to get into the craft brewing business.

This was right up my alley–a film noir alley, at that.

This first label introduces our hard-boiled detective, but the approach would be the same for all the labels–the style is expressionist, rather than realistic, and is deliberately not finessed. Angles and shapes are exaggerated, and elements don’t always line up. Registration errors–mostly on the branding–are applied to convey the retro feel. The edges of the artwork have a faux buffing effect, as if the book had seen many decades of use. The title lettering is made as prominent as possible, as it has to compete with other products on the shelf. Action is created more through anticipatory tension, rather than simply acting it out.

The label looks as if you ripped the covers and spine off the paperback, and wrapped them around the can. Even the textblock is there (Google it).



The artwork was done in the Procreate app on my iPad Pro, with finishing touches in Photoshop. These were both placed into Illustrator along with the copy and branding elements.

And just a quick note on the “BB” logo we developed, as Parris wrote to me …“The publisher logos (at the time) were monotone, simple, and look like more of a formality rather than a from me the PUBLISHER!” This is a hard-boiled logo for a hard-boiled label.

So, if you’re ever in Manitoba, check out the craft beer section for the Bookstore Releases.

Bookstore Brewing Website