Responses by Meg Beckum, executive creative director, Elmwood
Background: Tecate’s ambition was to rejuvenate the brand to feel more relevant and progressive, attracting a millennial and Gen Z audience without alienating its existing consumer base—and ultimately making Tecate the most desirable beer in Mexico.
Reasoning: We knew Tecate’s iconic eagle and wordmark, the brand’s most distinctive assets, would be the heart of the visual identity. We wanted to modernize both elements, but we treaded lightly to preserve the heritage and authentic character of the brand. We crafted them with honesty and simplicity in mind, stripping back superfluous details and breaking free from their rigid lockup. This enabled us to achieve scale and impact across all touchpoints from packaging to social media to out-of-home. The icons anchored the system as we moved into more experimental, expressive and interactive experiences.
Challenges: From the start of the project, we acknowledged that a deep understanding of Mexican beer culture and drinking behavior was critical to designing a meaningful and authentic identity. Our first step was joining our friends at Heineken Mexico for an immersive tour of different regions of the country. Through this process, we learned how differently the beer is sold, displayed and consumed across Mexico. For instance, we visited tiny bodegas in Mexico City, where we learned that single cans fight for shelf space, in comparison to the cities in the north, Tecate’s stronghold, which were literally painted in Tecate brand colors and symbols. We had to design a system that could flex for a multitude of different environments and occasions.
Favorite details: Our biggest success was moving the brand beyond product—from a beloved beer to an iconic and authentic lifestyle brand. We did that by illustrating Tecate’s deep connection to Mexican popular culture—to sports, music and entertainment. Our goal was to build an identity that kept pace with a continuously evolving national identity.
Specific demands: Positioning Tecate to be the most desirable brand in Mexico required us to face into several creative tensions. Our design solution was a constant balancing act—it needed to be iconic and refined, courageous and considered, inventive and simple, masculine, yet modern, and attractive to both young and old drinkers.
Visual influences: Our design solution was largely influenced by the rich history of this Mexican brand, including the iconic black eagle and the bold, angular Tecate wordmark. We also retained colors long associated with the brand, such as silver, red and blue. In addition to the storied Mexican brand, we were inspired by the visual languages of soccer, boxing and music, and leading athletic brands like Nike and Adidas.