Print Edition: July 4, 2014
Ever wondered how to make your resumé float to the top of the pile? Recent UFV graduate Brennan Gleason found the recipe with his Résum-ale — a full resumé and portfolio wrapped around four of his own signature beers. And the internet loved it.
You went viral, how’d that happen?
I had originally put my resumé on the internet on a site called Dribble, which is just for designers to post work-in-progress. I put it on there back in February or March and from there it just sat for a long time … Then at the beginning of last week I started getting mentions on Twitter and a few design blogs had picked it up; they were saying awesome things about it. That, for me, was just enough to be like “this is awesome, I’m glad it’s finally getting some recognition.” I never really expected it to turn into what it did. I woke up on Wednesday morning and there was an email from an editor at Yahoo and they wanted to write a piece on it. And then from there it was just Huffington Post and ABC News and then I had an on-air interview with Fox News’ national morning show and it just kind of spiralled from there.
How does that feel?
It’s kind of overwhelming. I’m still trying to take it all in, but it’s just been awesome. I was on CBC News and I was on the CKNW morning talk show and I think next week I’m going into the studio with 99.3, their morning show. It’s crazy.
You put it on there in February or March and what came of it? Techtone?
I had been contracting for Techtone for a little while, just doing work here and there while I was in school … then they started to take off. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be there but it was still a place I really liked. I put a few resumés out — I handed them to four places that I knew I’d love to get a job at, but I ultimately ended up deciding to work full time with [Techtone].
I got an interview offer from Google. They unfortunately are in California and I didn’t want to move there.
Gleason graduated from UFV’s graphic and digital design program (GDD), taking home the Governor General’s bronze medal — an accomplishment he credits largely to his final self-directed project: a design for his personal home-brew, High Seas Brewing. Gleason’s portfolio highlights the breadth of skills gained both through years of experience and the UFV GDD program. He elaborated on the balance between work, school and developing a personal style.
How was working and going to school?
I’d go to school, and then I’d come home and work for six or seven hours, and then do homework after that. It was just insanely long days. It got overwhelming at the end, but I pulled through.
You say you have over six years of experience. How did the diploma change your skill set?
I started working right after high school for a software company in Langley and I went into Kwantlen for some business classes because I couldn’t find a design program that really took my interest. Then I heard that UFV was finally starting their design program. I wasn’t expecting a whole lot just because I thought I had all the skills I needed just from my previous work experience, but I was super wrong and it definitely helped my skill set quite a bit.
How did you pitch a beer marketing design to your prof?
It wasn’t a hard sell by any means to say I want to do an identity for a beer. That’s becoming such a huge thing nowadays, especially with all the craft brewers. I just put it on paper, said this is what I’m going to do, this is what I’m going to deliver, and ended up doing that.
You describe yourself as “creative, energetic designer with a goal to create meaningful, simplistic design.” Tell me more about your style and your personal brand.
I have the mentality that if it doesn’t serve a purpose then it shouldn’t be there. Just because I come from a web-and-user experience design background, I look at things a little more for the end-user rather than the overall design. I really believe that a strong user experience can benefit more than an amazing design.
I see a lot of designers who spend a lot of time creating these amazing — almost art — pieces. But there’s no functionality to it. It doesn’t do what it’s supposed to, especially in web design. I’m not saying it can’t work for building an identity or brand or something, because that’s a whole different story, but [that mentality] kind of just carries over into my overall design.
As for his High Seas Brewing, Gleason explained it is still in a very young stage, not that he doesn’t want to see it become more. Focusing on a balance between bitterness and citrus to appeal to more people, Gleason has the same mentality toward brewing as he does toward his design style.
When did you first start brewing?
I started brewing in January or February. So right around the time I started coming up with the idea for the resumé. It was just one of those nights, I was sitting with my roommate and we were just like “How hard could it be to brew beer?” So we went on Amazon and bought all the equipment.
Where did the nautical theme come from?
That came from my roommate. He did a lot of sailing, he loves the ocean. I had a few different ideas for names for the brand, but ultimately we settled on that. Mostly because we kept coming up with awesome nautical beer puns that ended up on the bottles.
Which breweries inspire your design, and which inspire your brew?
When it comes to beer taste and quality for inspiration, I would say Phillips Brewing Company. They have some awesome, really random beers. I definitely have been inspired by a lot of their beer … Mission Springs Brewing, the design on their bottles I love. There was an agency in Vancouver that handled all of their designs. Those are probably the two biggest ones.
How would you describe High Seas? What are some of the notes in your beer?
Definitely more fruity. The first one that we did was an IPA, and it had a citrusy tone to it, but that came from the sailors back in the day getting scurvy so we kind of played off that. I like my beer to have a good balance between bitterness and fruitier flavours. I find it appeals to a lot more people. I have yet to do a dark beer. I just did a double-IPA and that’s about as close as I’ve gotten to anything super high in alcohol and dark in colour.
Do you want to make the beer happen, open the brewery, the whole thing?
I would love to. My problem is I just can’t find the time to do it. I’ve been talking to one of my friends, who’s got a huge interest in opening a brewery. We’re in the process of figuring that out, what it would cost to get a brewery started. That’s something I would just like to own and handle all the design for.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.