Chad Michael: Building a narrative through Branding

Leading up to our LogoLounge Book 10 Call for Entries deadline February 28, we will be spotlighting members of the most eminent panel of jurors that we’ve ever had!

It can be tricky designing an identity for a new company, while alluding to a history that just isn’t there. Because of his distinct style that has a kind of old-world aesthetic, Chad Michael is often called for these types of jobs for spirits and distilleries. His logo designs employ elaborate, ornate details providing the illusion of a rich back story for his clients, even if they are a start-up.

One such case, is his recent branding for whiskey distillery Hopes & Dreams, who’s hopes and dreams, literally went up in smoke. “This is a company built on trial and failure. The founders initially built their own distillery, but due to lack of experience and sheer fate, they ended up accidentally burning it down, ” Michael says. But that didn’t deter them, and it was this experience that the designer capitalized on in the label design, which features a burning building.

Hopes & Dreams

He was given complete freedom when it came to the package design. “The overall label takes cues from traditional whiskey packaging in order to make it seem like a legitimate, run-of-the-mill whiskey, but the non-traditional logotype treatment is one of the aspects that gives consumers a second thought,” Michael explains. “‘Old Enough’ was a tagline I had always wanted to use on a spirit but it never seemed appropriate until H&D came along.”


St. Laurent

Muckley Eye

As with most of his projects, the lettering is a priority for the brand look and feel, and Michael has a distinct style that’s in demand, though he’s careful to never repeat himself. “I am giving each client something that is uniquely theirs. There is always a different story to tell visually and conceptually.”

He also goes to great lengths to make sure every detail will turn out on press, often specifying specialty print processes for labels. “Every job has been designed with printing techniques in mind,” he notes. “Proper printing can take a design to a whole new level. With that said, the printing techniques must make sense with the overall look—I’ve never tossed in foils or varnishes simply to have them.”

Makers Seal


These details can be felt and seen, which is why Michael stresses the importance of good photography. He works with a local photographer to ensure his designs are properly showcased. “A good photographer uses proper lighting and captures the subject at angles that feature the time and detail that was poured into the piece. Photography is the last necessary stage in creating a successful project,” he says. “If it is done poorly then the entire project could result in failure. ”


To see more of Chad Michael’s work, visit his LogoLounge profile here. Want to be a part of the most respected logo design competitions around the globe? Submit your work today! Your membership with gives you unlimited uploads, which means you have unlimited chances to be published.

Like what you see? You, too, can join our tribe of quality designers and marketers who continue to make their mark by utilizing the invaluable resource that is
Click to get more information and join the LogoLounge Community!

What do you think?