Yarza Twins crafts Celtic-inspired branding for Hijos de Rivera

Beer brand Estrella Galicia’s holding company “wanted to run away from an empty corporate identity”, opting for an identity inspired by local prehistoric rock carvings.

Design agency Yarza Twins has built an identity system referencing Galicia’s Celtic heritage for Hijos de Rivera, the holding company best known for beer brand Estrella Galicia.

“The client wanted to run away from an empty corporate identity. They wanted something unique to them that was able to reflect who they are and where they are going”, says Yarza Twins creative director Eva Yarza.

Hijos de Rivera had previously worked with larger agencies that had not been able to translate and integrate its Galician history into a tangible identity, according to Eva Yarza. Born in Galicia, North-western Spain, themselves, the twins say they were familiar with Hijos de Rivera’s “surprising Celtic roots”. The agency drew on the nature-inspired Celtic petroglyphs (stone carvings) found across Galicia to design “a secret symbol language” for the brand.

Despite a 116-year- history, Hijos de Rivera did not have a logo before working with Yarza Twins, so a lot of attention was paid to the logotype. It is also one of the only brand elements that consumers will come into contact with, as the nature of the company means that the identity is largely business-facing.

The lack of a separate identity for the holding company meant that Hijos de Rivera had previously used its most popular brand Estrella Galicia’s star logo. In its new logo, it specifically wanted to avoid using a star to separate itself from the alcohol brand, to enable “more sponsorships and collaborations”, according to Eva Yarza.

She says that Hijos de Rivera was keen to present itself as “a big family corporation”. Taking that into account, the studio based its logo on an element of a 60-year-old ceramic mural by Ángel Atienza that decorates the boiling room in the company’s museum, which is housed in Hijos de Rivera’s original beer factory.

When Yarza Twins was invited to visit the space, they noticed within the mural what Eva Yarza describes as “a hidden R”, with negative space in the shape of a seed. She adds that they immediately thought that this could be used to represent the word “Rivera”.

The company’s name translates to “Sons of Rivera”, referencing the fact that it is still run by descendants of the original founder, JM Rivera. To create the H of Hijos, Yarza Twins “expanded the letter to protect this seed that had been planted by JM Rivera”, Eva Yarza explains.

When animated, Eva Yarza says the movement of the logomark mimics “the growth of plants”, seeking to demonstrate how Hijos de Rivera grew “from a local beer company to an international corporation in five generations”. She adds that the logo acts as “a stamp of quality” on the packaging, designed to be recognisable and trustworthy for existing and future brands.

While the logo acts as one connection point between the holding company and its brands, Yarza Twins needed to consider how Hijos de Rivera’s wider system could cohesively interact with the brands. Creative director Marta Yarza says they opted for a black and white colour palette “that wouldn’t clash with any current or future brand” in the corporation.

Marta Yarza describes the brand’s new icons – also inspired by the mural – as “a playful touch”, designed to reference “the Celtic roots of Galicia”.

The studio utilises these symbols “as a secret internal language” to differentiate the company’s departments, says Marta Yarza. The icons are also used across Hijos de Rivera’s presentations, signage, merchandise and photography.

The identity extends across Hijos de Rivera’s website, also designed by Yarza Twins. According to the agency, the new branding has encouraged Hijos de Rivera to become more visible with added consumer-facing elements, such as merchandise that it intends to sell in the Hijos de Rivera museum.

Since launching the new identity, Hijos de Rivera has risen ten positions in the MERCO Companies Ranking – which ranks recognition of companies in Spanish-speaking countries, according to Marta Yarza.

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