NEWTON — The relationship between Catawba Valley Community College and Catawba Farms continued to brew with the announcement of five beer labels and a brand logo created specifically by CVCC’s Advertising & Graphic Design students.
A trio of Red Hawk students — Maggie Shugart, Chloe Wickham and Savannah Blackburn — completed the project as part of a two-semester in-class competition that culminated in the unveiling of five new beer can labels and a new brand identity for Catawba Farms.
“It is such an amazing opportunity to see a project like this all the way to its fruition,” said Jennifer Cobb, director of Advertising & Graphic Design at CVCC. “Our students are used to completing projects and turning them in when they are due for a grade, but to see this project all the way from concept to prototyping to interacting with a client and carry it all the way from start to finish is a unique learning experience for us. It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to partner with Catawba Farms and for our students to live out that real-life experience.”
After receiving input from Catawba Farms owners Michael Waltuch and Twyla Deese and brewmeister Frank Reinhardt, four CVCC student teams presented beer label concepts in the fall as part of a graphic design class instructed by Cobb. The public was invited to select their favorite label designs and, from this, the most popular label was selected.
The winning team of Shugart, Wickham and Blackburn — who formed a group they called Sage Creative — continued the project into the spring through their Advanced Design Practice course.
Wickham, the art director for the project, came up with the concept for the beer labels after a class visit to Catawba Farms in the fall.
“Savannah noticed that they have the barn quilts set up all over, and it relates so well to them,” said Whickham, a Newton native. “She thought it would be a great idea to implement that into the designs. We chose certain icons such as the sunflower sculpture on the property. Those were different items that we had seen on our tour.”
This creative process not only led to label designs for five categories of beer — Turnabout Stout, Roll in the Hay IPA, Farmhouse Ale, Harvest Ale and Big Edd’s Revenge — but also to the creation of a new logo that captures the multiple dimensions of Catawba Farms, such as the winery, brewery, skating rink and Bed & Breakfast.
“Being able to see your brand at an actual business is amazing,” said Blackburn, a Maiden native who served as production director for Sage Creative. “It makes you want to keep pushing forward as a graphic designer and better yourself.”
A Newton native, Shugart is proud of all of the accomplishments that her team was able to achieve during this two-semester project.
“We continued to work well together and really brought this to life,” Shugart said. “Being able to create the brand was an added bonus. We get to be a part of Catawba Farms’ legacy for years to come because of this experience. It’s very exciting to actually get to produce something that is going to be used. They are going to produce these cans, and people are going to drink this beer in this space at Catawba Farms, which we helped do the branding for. It’s very rewarding.”
Catawba Farms is a longtime CVCC partner and supporter. The two entities began collaborating on a unique way to celebrate the area’s entrepreneurial spirit and vast accomplishments of the college’s many graduates and partners.
The project to create brands for Catawba Farms began with the creation of the Red Hawk Red Blend wine in 2019, which also was a student label design contest. The wine project sparked the recent unveiling to create brands for Catawba Farms and its craft beer brewing operation that opened in February 2020.
“We’re very humbled with the gift of working with Catawba Valley Community College. It’s such a treasure,” said Deese, co-owner of Catawba Farms. “We are thrilled about an event like this where we are celebrating an accomplishment of the students. This is the creation of a brand that will live on forever. It’s very exciting, but when we get people together like this, including Dr. Hinshaw and the college’s deans and instructors — it’s like creating a third note in music. New ideas start forming. We’ve talked about what’s next. I think it’ll be monumental for both the college and for Catawba Farms.”
“Catawba Farms is the perfect partner for our college and School of Workforce Development and the Arts,” said Gary Muller, dean, School of Workforce Development and the Arts. “Our students can help a business partner grow to the future. They are serving as a living lab for 12 academic programs at our college.”
The partnership between CVCC and Catawba Farms continues to mutually celebrate the region’s growing hospitality, entertainment and beverage production industries.
CVCC President Garrett Hinshaw said the latest event is another in a chain of celebrations of the amazing work done by the college’s students and showcased through Catawba Farms.
“This was a first step that has led to a deep partnership with helping this community and helping our students to make the connection between education and business,” Hinshaw said.