Craft beer is no longer a quirky drink for intolerable hipsters — it’s become an industry on the rise with a retail value of $27.6 billion, representing 24.1 percent of the beer market share in 2018. That makes it hard for small, independent craft brewers to stand out from the crowd. But designing a distinct label that's not easily forgotten takes more than creativity.
We may be accustomed to seeing big beer names on the shelves, but it’s the smaller microbrewers that are getting creative with their beer label designs. Let’s check out five of the coolest craft beer labels in the game and discuss what makes their labels stand out from the rest.
The Around the World Beer Flight is not a new kid on the block, but we love the concept behind their labels and the timeless design. They came up with an eye-catching label design that captures the beer itself, while also playing on the different meanings of the word “flight.” The design emphasizes the idea of experiencing a “true beer flight around the world” with the six-pack from Artificial Horizon.
Inspired by vintage luggage tags, each label represents a major airport around the world. The design is consistent in terms of layout, fonts and background, but each label has different color accents that match the beer type.
Designed by Andrew Austin
It would be difficult to not love the Camden Town beer’s latest makeover. The previous labels were pretty good too, but the new ones show improvements and a much fresher, urban vibe to match the product and their consumers.
The new, redesigned craft beer labels are easily noticeable through the bold, block colors and tall, heavy typography. The biggest differentiator, however, is the use of white space that gives the labels a sleek, minimalist look.
The Camden Town Brewery logo was simplified to match the new look. Each beer name remains written in its individual typeface, to emphasize its unique character, while the drop shadow and typeface size are common elements among the labels.
Camden Town Brewery via Brand New
The Sixpence Stout Christmas Limited Edition created by Tap East Brewery has a whole story and lots of tradition around it, so it needed a label to do it justice. They told the story of the beer without going overboard on colors or using the classic Christmas shades. Instead, they stuck to the classic black-and-white combo and created the entire label and bottle design around subtle Christmas-related references.
The festive stout was inspired by the traditional Christmas pudding. The waxed bottle neck references the tradition of the coin baked into the pudding for good luck and captures subtle influences of vintage ale labels. The holly placed above the “O” of the stout hints at Christmas traditions.
Designed by Midday Studio
Surfing High was created for the hot summer months, so it needed its label design to be fresh, fun and light, just like the beer. The label is a tribute to the surfing culture in Korea; even the typeface is shaped like the waves and the surfer looks appears to be one with the water.
The summer beer label boasts bright colors, fun typeface and lots of white space, which gives it an airy look to match the brand identity.
Surfing High via Digital Arts Online
This one’s bound to stand out even on the most crowded brewery shelf. Minister Brewery, together with illustrator Kinga Offert created a beer identity that goes beyond anything we’ve seen so far.
We love how they tell the story of each beer in a very unique and humorous way, both online, through fun GIFs, and offline through colorful characters. They do a great job of capturing the youth spirit of the brand, positioning themselves as urban and artistic.
Designed by Ostecx Creative & Kinga Offert
We got so excited seeing the creativity behind craft beer labels and from our recent rebranding, so we decided to have a virtual “beer o’clock” and see what our very own Superside craft beer label might look like through the eyes of our talented designers. Here’s the result.
We started with the Superside brand identity in mind: the bright colors, including our radioactive green, the Superside moon and the Superside logo. We came up with a composition that reflects the brand's key qualities: it's out of this world and has something magical about it. The design follows the brand identity in terms of color, typography and illustrations.
The three labels share the same structure but feel unique. Monochrome color usage enhances the design, but each label has its own colors to match the beer style and make it easier to differentiate.
Now, let’s look at some tactical label design tips that will help make your brew fly off the shelves.
The first thing to take into consideration when designing a label is space. Every element should be created with that in mind. Design-optimized copywriting needs to be concise and clear – think product name, tagline, brand logo and packaging size or weight.
The text should help the design stand out, not outshine it. Take a look at Truman’s core range, for example. If you want to include the brand story or a more detailed product description, consider placing it on the six-pack packaging or online.
Truman's Brewery via Packaging of The World
Fonts are often overlooked, yet font choice can ultimately make or break a great label design. Typography pairing can create continuity between different design elements or help highlight certain information.
For the sake of consistency, it’s important to choose fonts with the other design elements and the overall brand identity in mind. Going for a classic Times New Roman font on a flavorful craft beer label that’s colorful, bold and has a modern, fun look is an uninspired choice. And cramming too many different fonts into a limited space will only confuse the consumer.
Make sure the type is legible, the text size is at least six points and the font color contrasts with the background, so it’s easily readable.
Belgium’s famous Delirium beers use a fun font that matches the name’s meaning (Delirium tremens refers to the shaking that alcoholics experience during withdrawal) and is easy to read.
Huyghe Brewery via HubSpot
When designing a label, white space is your friend. Similar to typography pairing, it can help separate information, but also give the design a modern, minimalist look. If, for example, you have a lot of copy, like Five Point in the image below, or complex decorative elements on your label, create extra space by going for a plain white background.
Five Points via Digital Arts Online
People are more likely to stop in front of your product in the supermarket or order it at a bar if you’ve got an attention-grabbing label. Colors can create that effect if used properly. Try to avoid clashing colors and opt for complementary ones instead. Ensure that the colors are consistent with the brand identity, match them with product flavors or use a pop of color against a white or black background, as Misterio does for its craft beer variety.
Make sure to consider the colors of the beer and the bottle, as it can significantly impact your label look. The most common beer bottle colors are green, brown and clear. While this rule is by no means set in stone, it’s often helpful to consumers to use label colors that are easily associated with the beer type. If you’ve built a fun, modern, playful brand identity, a contrasting color scheme will make your product stand out and be more in sync with the overall image.
Hollow Tree via Misterio Brewing
If you already have a branded font and color scheme, keep the label elements in line with the brand identity to help strengthen it and build consistency. Thorough target market and competition research will help solidify your brand image and design a product that caters to the right audience.
If you’re looking for reliable, super design talent and fast turnarounds, trust our dedicated team with your print and label design. Superside it. We’re always on, chasing the sun to deliver the moon.
Cassandra King is Superside's Head of Content & Community. She’s a road trip aficionado, advocate for all things glitter, and can usually be found with a camera (or snacks) in hand. Find her on IG @casssandra.king.
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