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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