Design Bridge London has shared details of its work rebranding Carlsberg’s iconic Hamburg beer brand Holsten.
The transformation draws on Carlsberg Germany’s home city to reconnect Holsten with its honest, hardworking roots. Injecting a new sense of craft into the visual identity, Design Bridge has sought to balance heritage with modernity to herald a new era for a much-loved local brand.
Mike Stride, creative director at Design Bridge London, commented: “Holsten is one of Carlsberg’s most consumed beers in Germany and it’s Hamburg’s most iconic, synonymous with the everyday beer drinker. As craft beer has grown in popularity, Holsten’s local reputation had declined.
“Despite its quality taste credentials achieved by generations of skilled, passionate brewers, Holsten’s perception had shifted to a more industrial, mass-produced beer. Our challenge was to refresh the brand for the contemporary market without alienating the brand’s existing loyal consumer base.”
Design Bridge traveled to Germany to explore Hamburg’s rich history and the Holsten brewery archives. Arguing that the impact of the knight had been lost across the brand through an over-polished, mass-produced design approach, Design Bridge aimed to re-imagine this key brand asset.
Taking inspiration from the brand’s connection to local culture, Design Bridge has recrafted the knight, putting authentic historical details back into a recognisable icon.
The company has also introduced a light teal into the colour palette - a reference to the oxidised copper of the knight statue that sits on top of Holsten’s historic brewery tower.
Drawing on typography and labels found in the Holsten archives, Design Bridge created a new bespoke wordmark influenced by Hamburg’s rich architecture. To evoke the merchant work ethic that built the port city, much of the new visual identity has been crafted by hand, in an attempt to create a functional and proud brand that appeals to its loyal consumer base and everyday beer drinkers, as well as opening the brand up for new consumers to enjoy.
Svenja Wohlers, senior brand manager at Holsten, said: “Over the years Holsten has proven its strong and enduring presence in the Hamburg beer market, as well outside of the city borders. By collaborating with Design Bridge, we have succeeded in creating a refreshed visual identity that brings a sense of pride back into our brand. Balancing a new level of the craft and detail that is connected to our heritage, the brand world also feels bold, keeping Holsten relevant in the ever-changing beer sector.”