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HISTORICAL EXCURSUS
THE COMPANY’S IMAGE
“Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at”

We love to start our stories quoting whoever with a few words manages to give a strategic message that characterizes a common thought. Thus we thank the copywriter Leo Burnett who is going to open this post with his aphorism we took from the web. This telling traces the main stages of the communicative history of Birra Flea because we want to emphasize one of the topic which  most fascinate (and in many cases put in crisis) an entrepreneur at the beginning of his adventure: the brand identity, or more simply the image, the corporate identity.

To give birth to a logo from scratch is always a difficult task, especially for Matteo and Maria Cristina the founders of Birra Flea and whose professions were something different. Matteo is an entrepreneur of renewable energy, Maria Cristina is a laboratory technician.

Here is another excellence specialized in illustration and graphics: Susanna Biscontini. Susanna is a family’s friend with a career of almost twenty years of experience in the field of advertising graphics. Born in Gualdo Tadino,  she began to work in Rome eighteen years ago, settling down and refining her creative background in important advertising agencies in the capital. Over the time, this wonderful world led her to focus mainly on children’s publishing, making her mind travel towards  fantastic worlds: “<Follow the white rabbit> I said to myself, and like Alice I found Wonderland.” This is the phrase which best represents her!

Going back to our history, the collaboration with Susanna started from  the beginning with enthusiasm and immediate availability. Anyone would have been glad to participate in such an ambitious project, especially because conceived and carried out in the country of origin, Gualdo Tadino. The birth of a productive reality in a city whose roots belong to you, means important opportunities for the territory but also undoubted pride on the part of those who conceive its image and believe in its world expansion. In September 2012 they began their first official correspondence to give a name to the first beers and consolidate the idea of ​​the logo which until then was only a thought enclosed within the walls of the Rocca. Thus  sketches, proposals, iconic images even risky were created. Because it is from a risky proposal that the spark breaks out. A graphic designer knows that you start from a “whole” and then you go on tightening. The skill of a designer is not adding but removing, lightening, synthesizing, making sure that a logo is immediately readable and easy to understand. The Birra Flea’s logo took shape with that particular detail that no one expected: not from the silhouette of the Rocca, not from the classic barley spike that characterizes the majority of the breweries, but from the crown of Emperor Frederick II. That crown which has now become the icon of our brand, recognized all over the world, tattooed on Matteo’s skin. Yes, our image must have a royal aspect, an elegance that distinguishes our methods and our thinking.

 

To have an emperor as a representative of our beer, however, involved the necessity of a visual contour worthy of  his  height hierarchical degree: he needed a medieval court. Among the various names proposed for the identification of the various typologies, it was decided for the most risky but, in a certain sense, the most sensible choice: if Frederick II built the Rocca Flea and lent us his crown for the logo, who better than himself could have represented the first beer produced? Thus  ladies and gentlemen, the Golden Ale was baptized Federico II. From that moment ahead, thanks to the historian prof. Michele Storelli, we began to dissect the ancient history of Gualdo to complete and give a name to the whole court.

 

The first labels proposed by Susanna depicted the classic image of the Rocca Flea placed next to the character of  Federico II. A classic image  which undoubtedly contained the historicity and the traditional aspect of the processes that a craft beer must reveal. Although iconic, it still seemed an image, lacking the universality that Matteo and Maria Cristina would have liked to impress on the minds of the consumers. We were looking for an image suitable for any area and public but which retained that regal elegance linked to the modernity of the current launch period. We finally  inserted the Flea logo inside a circle that, seen from above, let your  imagination fly until you see Flea in a glass of beer contoured with a lot of good foam. That was the right choice; a simple, modern and light but at the same time significant image, perfect for young, old, elegant and casual people. Over time the image was embellished with hot gold printing (because we have always cared of detail). Even the bottle choice was not easy: we needed a container that perfectly suited our  young label. An important bottle which would have confirmed the concept of royalty and elegance. We chose for the bottle we still have today, the one which has made the history of Birra Flea and has seen the growth of our public over the years. Despite the restyling of the label in steps with the times, the bottle has remained the same, a symbol of affection on both our part and our large audience.

While the historian provided us inputs and reconstructions of the Frederick II’s court, we thought about the colors to differentiate the various references. That is a fundamental part of marketing to get emotional feedback from customers, as well as for the personal aesthetic satisfaction of the two ‘parents’ of the project. Here is the story came out: Frederick II was more than a brave leader, he was also a man of a thousand sentimental lives using a modern stereotype we can define him as a true ‘Latin lover’. Being so, why not to give life to his many wives, lovers and daughters ?! Thus, from the first months of 2013, our new four beers ready to be bottled had theirs names and images: a classic blonde in the guise of Costanza d’Altavilla, mother of the emperor; a red double malt the Bastola, the one who was accused of witchcraft and, it is said, set fire to the ancient Gualdo, a strong character for a tenacious beer; a clear IPA-like Golden Ale in the name of  Frederick II, and a Belgian-style white beer named Bianca Lancia, the one who stole the emperor’s heart. Thanks to the work done by the historian from Gualdo, each beer had a character and a story that you can read by browsing the pages of our beers on our web-site.

We still needed a touch of color to make the whole fluid and attractive; we know how much the visual impact on the market matters, especially when you are competing with many other already established and valid factories. Even at this time, the tradition came to our aid or more precisely the folklore of our land came out. Many of those who follow us from outside perhaps do not know that Gualdo Tadino has been celebrating its Patron San Michele Arcangelo for over forty years during a three-day festival. Here below, we report some lines taken from the book “The Palio of San Michele Arcangelo, images and history of the Giochi De Le Porte of Gualdo Tadino” which perfectly describe the scenario:

“The last weekend of September, to honor the Patron San Michele Arcangelo, I Giochi de le Porte  are held, they are the most important, participated and lived celebration of the city of Gualdo.  The area of Gualdo was divided into four districts everyone denominated “Porta”  and more precisely called  Porta San Facondino, Porta San Donato, Porta San Martino and Porta San Benedetto. The name “Porta” makes reference to the large entrance which entered the walls built by Frederick II and leaded to those ancient churches erected in the immediate vicinity of the medieval city center. “

It is a really heart-felt competition concerning historical re-enactments, medieval games and races with donkeys. Yes, donkeys are the ‘workhorse’ (sorry for the oxymoron) of the party. On the last weekend of September Gualdo stops, dresses up ancient clothes, throbs with the sound of drums and celebrates the winner of the Palio di San Michele Arcangelo by burning the puppet of the witch  Bastola. Each of the four Porte owns two colors in its tower: yellow-blue, yellow-red, yellow-white and yellow-green. It was not difficult to understand the importance of colors on  our tradition: the colors of the pulsating heart of Gualdo. If you want to know more about “I Giochi De Le Porte” click here: https://www.giochideleporte.it/

Our four beers had thus their chromatic imprint, directly taken from the tradition and our roots: Costanza  with yellow-white tones, Federico II with yellow-green tones, Bastola with yellow-red tones and Bianca with its blue tones.

That was not the end because even if the technical part of the label was structured we had to attack the market from an emotional point of view, Matteo and Maria Cristina decided to give their beers a physical and concrete face. They started a collaboration lasting over the years with the graphic-advertising agency Marimo of Rome. The aim was to create an ad-hoc and ‘legendary’ photographic project; thanks to four models chosen on the basis of the physical, historical and semantic characteristics of the respective beers, the first four bottles had finally a face, that is what we now respectfully call the ‘hero’; the models were dressed in medieval Gualdo craft made clothes used for the procession of the “I Giochi” and made with meticulous detail respecting the historical period and sewed by the well-known tailor Daniele Gelsi, another excellence of our Gualdo. The four faces accompany Birra Flea during fairs, events and advertising materials. Over the time and with the expansion of the beer range, we have continued to give a face and a story to each of  our beers, this time helped by the beauties of our territory … and we will continue in this way. We will tell you more about the history of the Ladies and the other interpreters in another article!

 

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