December 2018

The Wonderful World of Craft Beer Label Design and Can Design

Despite the cooler temperatures, some of us are still venturing into the chilled supermarket aisles or off licenses, in search of a good craft beer. And with a constant influx of new brands and new trends, how do we choose? There are 75 microbreweries estimated to currently be operating in ROI (and a further 50 brand owners that outsource their production to independently owned microbreweries), which is a 500% growth from 2012.

There are ever-changing impacts on sales and the craft beer industry, which mean that it’s becoming harder for brands to stand out on the shelf. We’ve identified some of the craft beer label design trends that have caught our eye.

 

Maximalist – bursting with color, illustration and attitude, these beer label designs are sure to catch your attention.

Marmota Brewery, their LegalLager beer can design portrays a vibrant block-party with illustrated characters and fluro colours.

Legalager beer packaging, not designed by AKGraphics

 

Browar Minister, the beer label design includes characters and brightly coloured illustrations.

Browar Minister beer packaging, not designed by AKGraphics

Browar Minister beer packaging, not designed by AKGraphics

Browar Minister beer packaging, not designed by AKGraphics

 

Mikkeller brewery, the master of maximalist eclecticism. Their beer label designs range from image appropriation to graphic illustrations, usually in an expressive style and in vivid fluro colors.

Mikkeller beer packaging, not designed by AKGraphics

 

Reflect recipes – some companies are opting to commission artwork for their beer label designs that reflect the breweries, brewers and beers more. They allude to the recipe or certain ingredients used to make the beer through illustration or text.

OostEke Brewery, this beer label is centered around a floral design which depicts how flower extract is used in the brewing process.

OostEke Brewery label, not designed by AKGraphics

 

Hop Heart, a heart shaped hop icon to show that this beer is made from the finest ingredients and is actually good for you and your heart – an idea inspired by the high levels of vitamin B6 found in beer which reduces the risk of heart disease.

Hop Heart packaging, not designed by AKGraphics

 

Minimalist – supremely elegant and simplistic beer label designs to intrigue.

VICE Old Blue Last Beer, the can design has only the logo and ABV on it with the aim to  “tease the pretentious world of beer – with all its frills and fuss – and strip it back to the simpler days when beer was for enjoying.”

Vice label, not designed by AKGraphics

Vice label, not designed by AKGraphics

 

Cargo Brewery, a super elegant packaging range that incorporates a subdued color palette, geometric shapes, simple line work and copper foil to cleanly describe the beer inside.

Cargo labels, not designed by AKGraphics

 

Typographic – using type rather than graphics to portray the brand essence.

Big and bold fonts paired with a bold yellow label makes this Sa Pilsen design stand out. The classic logo font makes it seem authentic, like it’s stood the test of time.

Sa Pilsen packaging, not designed by AKGraphics

Sa Pilsen branding, not designed by AKGraphics

Sa Pilsen packaging, not designed by AKGraphics

 

Inari Biru from Yeastie Boys is a Japanese rice beer. Inspired by minimalist Japanese design is has a classic colour palette of red, white and black. The beer label design also includes traditional Japanese calligraphy with loose textured characters to portray a sense of legitimacy and genuineness.

Inari Biru packaging, not designed by AKGraphics

 

Flavour differentiation – an easy way to stand out and distinguish the various beer flavors is using different colors or characters, while still ensuring the branding is communicated collectively.

Hyde and Wilde features animal illustrations in a striking monotone colour scheme with a bright yellow logo. There is a clear consistency throughout the set of beer can designs, however each flavor is reflected with a different animal.

Hyde Wilde packaging, not designed by AKGraphics

 

BrewDog Brewery labels are designed with wood-cut and letterpress techniques to give the brand a hand-crafted feel. There’s a different colour and tagline to each beer to distinguish them.

BrewDog packaging, not designed by AKGraphics

 

Photographic – with the increase in digital-printing capabilities more breweries are embracing photographic labels and cans.

Commonwealth lagers were created to drink by the beach, and the tide-lashed branding reflects this.

Commonwealth beer packaging, not designed by AKGraphics

 

The Norwegian landscape photos used in the Fjellsider beer can design reflects the fresh and natural ingredients, and the cider’s local heritage. An acetone transfer printing technique was used to make the image look weathered, conveying the craftsmanship of the brand. The fruity colors also reinforce the freshness of the product.

Fjellsider packaging, not designed by AKGraphics

Fjellsider packaging, not designed by AKGraphics

 

Black – premium or sinister? Dark label designs and bottles have been used very effectively on a darker stout beer.

Stoutnik stands out on the shelf as it uses printing techniques that other brands don’t use in their beer label designs. The frosted matte black bottle contrasts the multicolour holographic foil and highlights the blind-embossed morse code.

Stoutnik Stout packaging, not designed by AKGraphics

 

This beer label design has bold typography alongside fluid illustrations, Vocation Brewery’s usual method of communicating the brewery’s personality. They created a limited edition Naughty & Nice label for the festive season including seasonal illustrations of theatre, cold weather and holy. The gold foil and silver ink also conveys festive qualities and contrasts the black label well.

Vocation brewery label, not designed by AKGraphics

Vocation brewery label, not designed by AKGraphics

 

Colour – it can always be used to catch the attention of shoppers. These beer label and can designs are bold, bright and brave.

Vocation Brewery have also used colours to reflect their brand personality. These beer can designs show the crisp and freshness of their new flavors. The striking colour and spray paint effect conveys their uniqueness and stands out.

Vocation Brewery packaging, not designed by AKGraphics

 

Collective Arts Brewing in Canada is a grassroots craft brewery. Their mission is to merge “the craft of brewing with the inspired talents of emerging and seasoned artists, musicians, photographers & filmmakers”, by choosing previously published art pieces every year to print onto their beer can designs.

Collective Arts Brewing packaging, not designed by AKGraphcis

 

TicketyBrew beer label design use colour to reflect their range of experimental and complex flavour profiles (like Peach Iced Tea, Blueberry & Ginger IPA and Salted Caramel & Coffee). They have a simple identity that can be adapted to their 35 beer flavours. The core range flavors also have a printed number on the front to separate them further from each other.

TicketyBrew beer label, not designed by AKGraphics

TicketyBrew beer label, not designed by AKGraphics

TicketyBrew beer label, not designed by AKGraphics

 

Vintage throwbacks – idealising the past through vintage styled beer labels and can design.

Chattanoonga Brewing Co. used historical branding elements from their previous packaging design but in a refreshed style. This honored their vibrant heritage and also makes them stand out with a simple design solution.

Chattanooga packaging, not designed by AKGraphics

Chattanooga packaging, not designed by AKGraphics

 

Director Beer has a film-inspired craft beer designed with Star Wars and Indiana Jones illustrations. It resonates universally by referencing two classic films with a movie poster aesthetic and even a synopsis on the back adapted to reflect a story behind the beer.

Director Beer label, not designed by AKGraphics

Director Beer label, not designed by AKGraphics

INDIANA HOP AND THE CAVE OF GOLDEN HOP

“An ancient hindu civilization called lupiranis lived for centuries in the inaccessible Himalayan mountain ranges. Known for an IPA millennial recipe, they idolised an ancient brew relic, the Golden Hop, capable of giving the brewing shaman who possessed the power to make an incredible IPA. For a long time, countless adventurers lulled by the legends of the  brewing lupiranis, explored these mountains behind such an artifact. Indiana Hop, a historian of special beers and master brewer, fearless and adventurous, while exploring ancient scriptures in the library of British Beer University discovered clues on a map that led to a valley in the mountains, covered by malt plantations and hops forests to a cave, which according to locals, is guarded by ancient spirits and full of traps. Will Indiana Hop get the Golden Hop and survive the consequences of the wrath of the brewing gods on anyone who desecrates his sacred temple?”

Director Beer label, not designed by AKGraphics

Director Beer label, not designed by AKGraphics

 

A step further…

Mikkeller Pale Spring Ale, the design is printed on heat sensitive paper so when it’s cold the snowflake is visible and when it’s warm it fades into the shape of a sun. They’ve also made beer labels in similar styles but for autumnal and spring styles.

Mikkeller packaging, not designed by AKGraphics

Mikkeller packaging, not designed by AKGraphics

 

If you’re after a beer label or can design for your craft beer or beverage product, contact us! We are experienced in creative packaging design solutions and would love to help you bring your brand to life.

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The Power of Personalised Packaging

Personalised packaging design has been on the rise during 2018. With the concept of bespoke packaging also taking off, some companies have taken this customisation a step further to make products look more desirable to consumers.

Brand packaging is getting personal, but why is using someones name so effective?

  • Connect with customers; when they see their name on a product it instills a sense of importance. Good packaging should lead to customer satisfaction and an enjoyable purchasing experience. Personalisation helps to build better and stronger relationships between brands and consumers. It increases customer engagement and brand awareness, therefore resulting in improved business.
  • Create value; customising mundane products turns them into something unique. Digital technology is allowing for a wide range of personalisation opportunities. This allows ordinary, everyday items to hold more importance on the shelf. Personalisation is a quick and easy method of making a product appear unique and enticing. By doing this, brands can also increase the value of these products, literally and figuratively. It’s also one way to encourage reuse, with some packaging items turning into collectors items.
  • Meets long term needs; personalised packaging design can help brands understand their customers better. It can be used to inform future brand engagements, emphasis certain brand values and foster a sense of community amongst their target market.

Coca-cola’s cans and bottles featuring common first names started a growing trend. The ‘Share a Coke’ campaign highlighted how successful personalisation can be. The campaign began after the realisation that young people weren’t connecting with the brand, so Coca-cola decided to communicate directly with this demographic, and increase its impact on the shelf.

Coca cola personalised packaging, not designed by AKGraphics

Coca cola personalised packaging, not designed by AKGraphics

 

Irn-Bru (a Scottish soft drink brand) responded to Coca-cola’s campaign with a personalisation of their own. They created bottles with 56 different Scottish tartan designs –one for each major clan, and one Irn-Bru design. Irn-Bru recognised that “you don’t want people to always find their own clan tartan straightaway, but within a reasonable number of store visits so they become a bit of a collector’s item. So you need to find a way to distribute a random mix of the samples.”

Irn-Bru tartan labels, not designed by AKGraphics

Irn-Bru tartan labels, not designed by AKGraphics

 

Nutella’s personalisation campaign was built around how people already use the chocolate spread in meals and snacks. ‘Your Nutella, your way’ invites people to personalise a jar and share their ‘Nutella Stories’ on Nutella’s website and social media. This guided people into advocating for the brand and created a community of consumers sharing their brand experiences.

Nutella personalised packaging, not designed by AKGraphics

Nutella personalised packaging, not designed by AKGraphics

 

Heinz sold personalised cans of soup through a ‘Get Well Soon’ campaign. Each can sold for over twice the price it would regularly, but with the incentive of £1 per can also going to charity, customers appeared willing to pay.

Heinz personalised label, not designed by AKGraphics

Heinz personalised label, not designed by AKGraphics

 

Snickers released 21 symptoms of hunger, in line with their ‘You’re Not You When You’re Hungry’ tagline. Snickers brand director Allison Miazga-Bedrick said: “We believe the new bars will inspire people to not only quickly identify their own symptoms and satisfy their hunger, but give them a new, fun way to call-out friends and family on who they become when they’re hungry, too.”

Snickers packaging, not designed by AKGraphics

Snickers packaging, not designed by AKGraphics

Snickers packaging, not designed by AKGraphics

 

Vegemite – for Christmas, Kmart once sold personalised jars of Vegemite. For $10, consumers could have Kmart print the name of their gift recipient on a 455g jar and send it locally or overseas.

Vegemite label. not designed by AKGraphics

 

To celebrate the relationship consumers have with the brand and drive deeper engagement, Firefly began a campaign where customers can upload pictures of themselves, and also features iconic images from Festival No.6 (the boutique arts and music festival). Customer pictures would be uploaded via the Firefly website, app or through social media using the hashtag #feelingfly.

Firefly packaging, not designed by AKGraphics

Firefly packaging, not designed by AKGraphics

 

While personalised packaging has shown success in these brands, it also has its limitations. With technology constantly updating, perhaps the next stage will be the personalisation of ingredients and recipes, making products truly unique to customers.

This idea is employed in Magnum’s Pleasure Stores, where customers can personalise the flavours and topping of their ice cream –with over 2000 variations possible. These stores have been set up worldwide, including places like New York, London, Singapore, Italy and Portugal. An idea like this makes a brand stand out and gets people talking about it – on social media too with their hashtag #DreamMagnum

Magnum personalised ice creams, not designed by AKGraphics

Magnum personalised ice creams, not designed by AKGraphics

Magnum personalised ice creams, not designed by AKGraphics

Magnum personalised ice creams, not designed by AKGraphics

Magnum personalised ice creams, not designed by AKGraphics

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