Graphic Design

Tap Lines: The Portland graphic designer who puts the art in craft beer

The mural on the wall of Batson River’s Portland location. Images courtesy of Hugh McCormick Design Co.

“Marketing’s job is to get people to do something,” says Portland-based graphic designer Hugh McCormick. “Branding’s job is to get people to feel something.”

In a crowded marketplace packed with great beer, an affective attachment to a brewery can be the difference between what comes home and what stays on the shelf.

Hugh McCormick Design Co. (HMDC, for short) has designed logos and branding for Maine breweries Austin Street Brewery, Bissell Brothers Three Rivers, Batson River Brewing & Distilling, and Kit Brewing – winning 21 national design awards in the process. Those awards have included “crushies” from the Craft Beer Marketing Awards competition, including a recent award for work done for Battery Steele Brewing, as well as Austin Street Brewery’s rebranding and the mural of Batson River Brewing & Distilling in Bayside in 2021. HDMC also won a number of awards from Graphic Design USA in 2021 and 2022 for specific beers like Kit Brewing’s On Your Mark and a number from Austin Street, including Anton Vienna Lager, Austin Street Lager, the Narrative Pilot Series, Marquee Moon Pale Ale, Bombtrack IPA and Bennu Black IPA.

According to McCormick, a beer label should not only draw attention to itself, but also “tell the story of the beer.” This isn’t about being loud, but being “present,” McCormick says. “You want to create something interesting that grabs people’s attention, but can also look handsome in a fridge, instill confidence while in someone’s hand, and answer the question, ‘Why did the brewery make this beer?’”

To be too literal is to “take an easy way out,” he explained. “For example, let’s imagine a brewery creates a Blood Orange IPA. Now, if the label is covered in oranges… and that’s the label, it would be like painting music notes on a guitar. The story ends fairly abruptly and that’s pretty disappointing.”

Rather, he said, the design should emerge not from what’s specifically in the can, but why the brewery chose to make that beer at that time. Were they inspired by an experience? Are they trying to reinvent a mundane style? Answers to such questions should fuel the label’s visual representation of the beer.

These considerations apply to the brewery as a whole as well. From beer to logo to tasting room to merchandise, a coherent branding strategy should evoke the brewery’s culture. If it doesn’t, “then it is time for a rebrand,” said McCormick. And as a brewery matures, it might want to reassess the association between culture and visual presentation. In McCormick’s mind, a brand is “a living, breathing organism that can always be refined.”

Austin Street Brewery’s original logo on the left and rebranded look on the right.

HMDC’s work with Austin Street illustrates this point. McCormick adapted the brewery’s old and familiar mash paddle logo so that it worked more as a “symbol than an image.” From there, he developed a typography system and

Read More Read More

From burgers to gadgets, stressed consumers buy cheap

NEW YORK/LONDON, July 26 (Reuters) – Some global consumers are showing signs of cracking, as shoppers stressed by record inflation stick to buying basics like food, bleach and cheap burgers, while those with bigger bank accounts are snapping up $3,000 Louis Vuitton handbags.

Investors are closely watching second quarter corporate results for signs economies are headed toward a recession. But so far consumers are sending mixed signals. There is weakness seen in those that have been hit hardest by record fuel and food prices. Meanwhile, credit card and other data shows some are still spending on travel and other high-end pursuits. read more

Walmart (WMT.N) sounded a warning shot on Monday, issuing a rare profit warning. Its US customers, who tend to come from lower-income households, are buying food and other essentials while skipping aisles filled with clothes and sporting goods. read more

Register now for FREE unlimited access to


“The results overnight indicate that the US consumer is now much more focused on the staples element of shopping where we’ve got double-digit food inflation coming through in some of these retailers,” said Nicola Morgan-Brownsell, fund manager at Legal & General Investment Management.

US consumer confidence fell for a third straight month in July amid persistent worries about higher inflation and rising interest rates. read more

Sales at luxury group LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE (LVMH.PA) climbed 19% in the second quarter, slightly lower than earlier this year. Handbag and high-end liquor sales in Europe and the United States helped offset slowdowns stemming from COVID-19 lockdowns in China. read more

And payment processor Visa (VN) said cross-border volume jumped 40% reflecting a summer travel boom and some consumer resilience. read more

But softer consumer demand hits video gaming revenue at Xbox maker Microsoft (MSFT.O), which posted a 7% drop in Xbox-related revenue and expects a further contraction this quarter. Microchip maker Texas Instruments (TXN.O) saw weaker demand from consumers for personal electronics.


Consumer giants Coca Cola Co (KO.N), McDonald’s Corp (MCD.N) and Unilever Plc (ULVR.L) all said on Tuesday that their products are still selling, even at higher prices.

Unilever, which has 400 brands including Hellmann’s mayonnaise, Knorr stock cubes and Domestos bleach, raised its full-year sales guidance after beating first-half underlying sales forecasts as it hiked prices. read more

So far consumers are buying, but there is a question around how long that can last.

“We see price increases when we go out to do a weekly shop. The question is: how much more accepting can the consumer be on those price increases?” said Ashish Sinha, portfolio manager at Unilever and Reckitt (RKT.L) shareholder Gabelli.

McDonald’s which operates nearly 40,000 restaurants, said its global same-store sales jumped almost 10%, much better than the expectation for an increase of 6.5%. read more

Even so, the Chicago-based company said it is considering whether to add more discounted menu options because soaring inflation, particularly in Europe, is leading some lower-income consumers to “trade-down” to

Read More Read More

WJZR’s Jazz Programming Comes To An End

North Coast Radio 105.9 WJZR Rochester

Lee Rust’s North Coast Radio Inc. signed off Jazz “North Coast 105.9” WJZR Rochester NY on Sunday evening.

As first reported by Northeast Radio Watch, the station’s sign-off comes as Rust has decided to retire. WJZR has featured similar programming since the Rust signed-on the station in 1993. A second-generation broadcaster whose father owned 1180 WHAM and 98.9 WHFM in the market, Rust was also responsible for launching the Jazz format on 90.1 WGMC as General Manager in the mid 1980s.

NERW states that the sign-off came just after 10:30pm on Sunday with Rust playing Miles Davis’ “In a Silent Way” followed by a brief farewell statement.

Plans for the station’s license going forward have not been announced.

Read More Read More

I’ve spent years testing kids gadgets, and these are the best on Prime Day

With my two young boys, I am never without something to do. But, of course, they seem to find plenty of moments to say they are bored — even with the 5 acres of country property to explore. I am constantly looking for ways to keep them learning, having fun, and safe with the devices I test. So, to help parents in a similar situation, I have found some of the best Prime Day deals on kid’s tech that you can still take advantage of.

While there are a lot of great smartphones for kids, with some of the best being from smaller brands you haven’t heard of, not all kids are ready for a phone. That’s where a smartwatch designed specifically for kids comes in — and Amazon has some good deals on mine and my kids’ favorites.

TickTalk 4

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

The TickTalk 4 sits atop our list of best smartwatches for kids for various reasons. Even after the review, my oldest son has continued to go back to it. The dual-camera setup makes it easy to use the video calling feature and to take pictures of his adventures. He also loves the free iHeart Radio Family streaming. But I like the companion app’s parental controls, safety features, and options for messaging and voice calls.

Spacetalk Adventurer kids smartwatch

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

If your child isn’t ready for a smartwatch with as many features, check out the Spacetalk Adventurer for an option with a more mature look but not quite as many features. Don’t get me wrong, during the review with my younger son — we found a lot of things to like about this watch. It has amazing build quality, a great-looking display, and a great companion app tying it all together.

Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Pro, HD 8 Kids & 7 Kids

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

Of course, it’s hard to go wrong with any of the excellent Amazon kids devices. Almost all of these devices are on sale right now, with $80 off the super capable Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Pro and the Fire 7 Kids Pro all the way down to $50! Don’t forget the fun and cute Amazon Echo Dot Kids for only $25 or the Echo Show 5 Kids for $40 (opens in new tab).

All of these products take advantage of the fantastic Amazon Kids+ software to ensure your child is accessing age-appropriate content, and you get a full suite of parental controls.

BuddyPhones kids Headphones

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

Does your kid already have a tablet, phone, or smartwatch, and you want to get some kind of accessory to go with them? I suggest taking a look at some of the best kids headphones. Aside from having fun colors and patterns and offering a size designed for smaller heads, they also have volume-limiting technology to keep little ears safe.

My kids love the ONANOFF Buddyphones, and Amazon has the latest versions on sale. When my kids and I reviewed these headphones, we were surprised not only by the features each option

Read More Read More

The Pros and Cons of Synching Your Devices

Over the past decade as people have become increasing dependent on multiple devices that require a constant connection to the internet, which has made syncing devices more common. Whether it’s your smartphone or your console, using multiple devices with the same user settings makes juggling between devices easier.

However, syncing your devices has pros and cons, just like everything else. If you aren’t aware of how synching affects you and your devices, here’re the most common pros and cons you need to be aware of.

Pros of Synchronizing Devices

Easy Access

The biggest advantage synching devices give you is easy access to your files across multiple platforms. For example, by syncing your smartphone and desktop, you can access files on your PC through your smartphone. This ease of access means you longer have to worry about saving or transferring files and folders across multiple devices for accessibility.


A big advantage of synching devices in a work or study space is that it allows multiple people to collaborate on the same project. For example, a writer and an editor can collaborate on the same document, even if they aren’t on the same device. This alone has revolutionized many industries and workspaces as tasks no longer have to be queued one after another.

Over the last two years, many workers have benefitted from successfully collaborating from home, which in no small way can be attributed to device syncing.


Synching your devices also allows you to create backups of your files and folders across multiple devices without having to transfer them manually. This easily allows you to recover lost data from other devices if your currently used device is damaged or lost.

In case you lose data because your device isn’t synced to a network and had a hard drive failure, it’s still possible to recover the lost data. But you will need dependable computer repair services to do so as advanced data recovery procedures will have to be performed on the faulty hard drive.

Easy Setup

Most modern devices will ask for your permission to sync with other devices when setting it up, provided the device has sync options. New devices can simply be synched to your pre-established settings for your other devices, helping you avoid long and tedious set-up times. This is especially useful in an office with multiple machines.

The benefit of having an easy set up for synching devices has allowed educational institutions and industries worldwide to function properly over the last two years of the pandemic. In particular, the software and SAAS industry has significantly benefited from this technological functionality.

Cons of Synchronizing Devices

Data Privacy

The first con of synching devices is that it makes all the devices in the network it belongs to highly vulnerable. Any devices synced to a network can come under cyberattack or malware infection at any given moment. If that happens, then the hacker can also gain access to other devices in the network. In case of malware infections, other

Read More Read More