City Desk

How to Make a Newspaper Cover Out of Hops and Malt

This week's print Washington City Paper is all about beer. And if the text of the cover headline—"The Beer Issue"—didn't make that clear enough, the stuff it's made out of probably did. Art Director Carey Jordan created the issue's logo, cover, and an inside spread out of beer ingredients supplied by 3 Stars Brewing Company (which City Paper contributor Aaron Morrissey had picked as the city's best brewery for this year's Best of D.C. issue).

It wasn't the first time Jordan had physically constructed typography for us; she made a headline for a feature on the bear subculture of gay D.C. out of hair, and designed a logo for our 2013 Pride Week issue out of glitter. "I have a natural inclination to want to build things—I kinda think it's in my blood," Jordan says. "Before coming here to City Paper that was my background of experimental typography, building type out of roller skates, rice, and so on. I like the idea of craftsmanship."

To make the beer headline, Jordan contacted 3 Stars co-founder Dave Coleman and explained the concept. Coleman invited her up to the brewery's Takoma headquarters, where staffers showed her around and let her check out different ingredients in various textures and colors. "I walked away with a backpack full of stuff!" Jordan says. "At the time, I really didn't have a sense of how I was going to use it. It was kind of overwhelming, but once I started playing with it, it came together, like, 'Oh, this black malt will pair well with this Belgian malt.'"

carey_beer-2Jordan found a digital font she liked the general look of, then altered it on her computer before sketching it in pencil on posters to lay the brewing ingredients onto so photographer Darrow Montgomery could shoot them. On the front cover, the letters were made from Special B Belgian malt, with a shadow made of black malt, and a hoppy background that left a lingering odor in the office of publisher Amy Austin, who's on vacation this week and whose desk we commandeered for the design work. The inside letters are made of pale ale malt, with some bottle-cap accents.

"I had to finesse a lot of it on the fly, so the type is loosely based on what I did on the computer," Jordan says. "Especially the hops! They were kind of hard to get in between the letters, but you don't think about spacing when you're coming up with the design. You just hope everything works out for the best."


She didn't glue anything to the boards, and by the time you read this, the whole setup will have been tossed out unceremoniously. "It's a mess to work with. I mean hot glue?! With the strings flying everywhere, nope!" Jordan says. "Also, I like that it's short-lived. I'm not very sentimental on keeping my work; also, I don't want to linger on what I could've done better or differently. It's done, and I move on to working on the next issue."

Photos by Darrow Montgomery

The final product:

Beer Issue front cover
Beer Inside

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