Sometimes it’s not the big brash ideas that position a brand and get it noticed, it’s the smaller nuances, executed to perfection. Much like what Guiness have done by redesigning its harp.

Illustrator Gerry Barney, harp-makers Niebisch & Tree, and letterpress studio New North Press were all engaged to assist in the redesign to “convey the true story of craftsmanship” to distinguish the brand from the new generation of craft beers, while also looking to appeal to Guinness’s “young growing audience”.

It’s a symbol that’s been used continuously for 150 years and originally based on the legendary ‘Brian Boru harp’, a powerful symbol of Ireland’s national identity and heritage.


The new treatment takes into consideration the curve of the harmonic neck and the way shadows are cast on the instrument. Design chief creative officer Graham Shearsby says the final design “is a result of a long and thorough process of getting to know the Guinness brand, and the harp itself, as intimately as possible.”

Working with “fine craftspeople and experts has allowed us to turn everything that we’ve learnt into a new harp icon rich with depth and history that also feels right for a modern, global beer brand,” he adds.

We love this project. It exemplifies the impact of strong design and is a reminder to brand leaders everywhere to never forget the power of detail in the quest for standout, resonance and brand storytelling.


Source: Design Week

Stef Stefaniuk
Design Director, 12 Miles North