It’s with good reason that beer is the world’s most popular alcoholic beverage. After all, there’s little that can beat the joy of seeing a full head of foam sitting pretty on top of a good brew, inviting you to chug it in one go!
It’s the first Friday of August or International Beer Day — as passionate beer-lovers have been calling it since 2007. To celebrate the occasion and our favorite beverage, we thought we’d sweeten your weekend with a little treat of our own!
This week, we searched high and wide for the most interesting beer labels that are drawing all the right attention to the products they represent.
Today, you get to tap the most engaging beer label designs and design trends sweeping the market in 2022. As the aesthetics flow without pause, there will be plenty to inspire and educate your own beer label design once you’re done reading this article.
But before we proceed, let us quickly review what makes the beer label design so important to your overall marketing strategy.
The importance of good beer label design
It is said that beer makes everything taste better, but the right beer label design delights the senses before you've even cracked open a cold one! It’s the first word on your product and it needs to be smart and attractive enough to not be the last.
“But if the quality of the beer is good enough, surely sales will rise in due course of time?”
That may be true, but in a highly competitive space, getting a headstart over your competitors can make all the difference to your bottom-line.
According to a survey conducted by the Department of Media Design at the University of North Croatia, 93% of respondents felt the label designs affected their choice of beer at least sometimes. This means that as much as beer label designs appeal to your visual palate, they also play a significant role in the average beer consumer’s decision making.
A key point to note here is that a great design wouldn’t just improve the visual layout.
Your ideal beer label design will blend to perfection the legally required details with smart graphic elements that attract consumers and build credibility in your brand.
This means you will have to explore all aspects of your design and your product in equal measure before finalizing your label and packaging.
Now that we’re clear on what to look for, let us sample these fresh and happening beer label design trends as we celebrate International Beer Day!
Top beer label design trends of the year
1. Minimal designs on the way out
4. Pop-out designs with faux 3D
This year has shown us a number of exciting designs taking consumers by storm and we found these trends to hold the most potential for growth in the days to come. Let us now explore each of these in greater detail.
1. Minimal designs on the way out
Less is more, no more.
Minimal designs first emerged as brands looked to crystallize their messaging and form an instant connection with consumers. Where most designs at the time were overwhelmed with elements, minimal designs would instantly pop out and attract eyeballs.
Now, as more shelves and refrigerators are lined with minimal designs, how do you really stand out from the crowd? Several beer brands are now looking to add more elements to their design, but with greater purpose this time around.
Samuel Adams’ labels, designed by the well-known Moxie Sozo, are certainly not minimal. That said, they don’t crowd your vision with too many elements either. Instead, the labels stand out because of their bold and bright color schemes and elements that serve to differentiate each of their beers based on ingredients and the type of beer being sold.
21st Amendment Brewery decided to use their logo and packaging as a means of celebrating its eponym — the momentous amendment that marked the end of prohibition in America. Designed in collaboration with TBD Advertising, each of their labels narrates a visual tale depicting some of the most prominent moments in American history, while their logo itself is a sharp callback to street signs from the 18th century.
Utopian Brewing, on the other hand, worked with Kingdom & Sparrow to channel most of its sophistication into the logo itself. Paired with bold lettering and pastel shades to color the cans, the result is a design that directly communicates the brand’s passion for Mother Nature to the average consumer.
2. Retro returns
A toast to times gone by!
The old and the nostalgic have always had a special place in the hearts and minds of consumers around the world. What’s different each time is the era that is celebrated by brands and consumers alike. This year it appears psychedelia is in, bringing the swinging ‘60s to the fore again!
Stone Brewing certainly promises a good time that consumers may or may not remember with its latest release — the Stone Hazy IPA. The one thing they will definitely remember and go back to the store for is its iconic vintage design created by Graphic Designer Laurel Syring and Art Director Joanna Dawson. Inspired by the wavy and flowery designs of the 60s and 70s, this beer label design highlights its fruity ingredients with a burst of bright and beautiful colors shining through.
Jackie O’s Brewery chose to go with bold psychedelic prints for Big Snail, their Imperial Stout brewed with malt and Fireweed honey aged for 15 months in bourbon barrels. The design displays the name front and center in a beautiful bubbly typeface, while the background is in two tones, forming a neat spiral inwards.
Barebottle Brewing Company’s Haze & Ashbury is a drink made for the California of the 60s and the design alone is sure to leave you happily dazed, if not confused! According to the designer of the beer label, Pine Watts, the design is a revival of optimistic psychedelia that takes consumers back to California’s golden age.
3. Typography takes the stage
Before the letters get too scrambled!
Even as a supporting element, typography plays a significant role in any design. It adds personality and another dimension to your messaging. More breweries and beer brands are beginning to see the impact good typography can have on the beer label design and the consumer. Some brands are now choosing to make typography the centerpiece of their label design in a bid to simplify the design without losing out on their messaging.
When two dads wanted to come up with a more accessible beer without compromising on quality, they decided to go big with the design. Created by Pentagram in collaboration with their partner, Domenic Lippa, 2DADS brewery’s beer labels are designed with the bulky Standard font as the primary typeface, which is aptly complemented by the simple News Gothic font. The result is a bold design that instantly draws in the consumer with its two-tone lettering and plain background.
Bungalow Beer went with a more vintage yet casual design in collaboration with Soo Yeah Studio. Their primary objective was to reflect the more playful nature of the brand through the label. The final design helps the beer stand out without going overboard with the elements and this can be seen through the mild contrast found throughout the beer label.
When the Vietnamese pub The Red Tiger wanted to celebrate their 5th anniversary, they decided to launch a limited edition beer with a fiery design created by oui studio. With the name translating to “The more the merrier”, the beer’s label design does its best to live up to this with text that covers the can without overwhelming the consumer’s view.
4. Pop-out designs with faux 3D
To really stand out from the crowd!
Given that brands work incredibly hard to add layers of depth to their brews, why shouldn’t they let it reflect in their beer label designs? More brands are beginning to feel this way and we can see this in the faux 3D designs that have been popping up lately.
At first glance, you may find the label design on Collective Arts Brewery’s limited edition beer to be quite plain, until the quaint curvature in the stripes catches your eye. The combined genius of Juan Carlos Pagan and Sunday Afternoon shines through as the simple red and white stripes draw your attention before the 3D effect adds a layer of its own.
Cycle Brewing Company’s barrel-aged Weekday beer series looks great all week long with elegant designs that use the 3D effect to good measure. These beer label designs apply the fundamentals of perspective geometry effectively and with a simplicity that nevertheless lends the bottle a prominent visual effect.
Magic Hat lives up to its name with a beer label design that promises a magical evening for anyone who picks up a bottle or two! With gusts of wind blowing inwards, the text appears to be swirling away and inviting you to join it on a journey to remember.
5. Patterns and illustrations
A story told through brand elements
With brands looking to add more personality to their products, more beer labels are adopting sophisticated designs that not only introduce you to their brand, but also add depth and background to the beer you’re about to taste.
Pine Watt’s inimitable beer label design for the special triple IPA that is Doom Bloom tells a tale that brings together its unique ingredients and a sense of inevitable doom that blooms all across the design in the form of intricately textured skulls (See what he did there?).
Collective Arts Brewery took a more immersive approach with the label design for their brew, Origin of Darkness. The can’s richly-textured elements are expertly brought together by Freelance Illustrator, Pedro Correa, to tell a dark tale in a style not too different from a well-designed, action-packed graphic novel.
Bootstrap Brewing Company’s design, on the other hand, pickles you senseless with its army of cats and a flood of pickled green dominating the beer label design. Designed by Moxie Sozo, the label was guided by inputs from Bootstrap Brewing’s Co-owner and ‘Chief of Stuff’ Leslie Kaczeus.
"I was inspired by the hilarious videos of cats afraid of cucumbers and asked Moxie Sozo to design this can with kitties and cucumbers."
- Leslie Kaczeus,
Co-owner, Bootstrap Brewing Company
6. Personalized lettering
Where your brand shines through every letter
While some brands tell their stories through illustrations, some choose to use their words instead. More specifically, their lettering. Unique, personalized lettering lends more weight to the brand while also allowing designers to design with it rather than around it.
Innis & Gunn’s label redesign by the drinks packaging design agency, Thirst, saw an evolved wordmark inspire a work of art that screams their brand from end to end. The wordmark is framed gracefully by delightful flourishes in a smart use of the brand’s color palette to create a refreshingly original design.
Flying Dog took the streets by storm with a youthful and energetic design that defies established norms through rebellious vigor. Showcasing Ralph Steadman’s original work for the brand, each beer label design includes personalized graffiti style lettering and unique illustrations that are sure to set the tone for the evening.
Cerverama’s design for Taix Tolo Tchê! appears to be the perfect marriage between typography and illustration, with their combination instantly transporting you to Brazil. The quirky wordmark looks delightfully animated as it adorns an illustration that tells a story of its own.
7. Leveraging color contrast
Two tones are all it takes
Minimalism may not be as popular as it once was, but clean designs can still be appealing to the average consumer. This is why today’s market continues to see beer label designs that leverage nothing more than a well-defined color contrast to draw attention to itself.
Strawberry Alley’s can labels are a good example of how just two contrasting colors can come together to produce a fine design. The simple design prepared by Thrive Creative Group is very much on-brand with the right shade of red nestled against the plain white just above it on the label.
You wouldn’t find a ton of options with Fortpoint Beer, but it is obvious to anyone that a lot of work has gone into perfecting each brew and an equal measure of time and effort has been dedicated to designing its packaging. The unique design created by Manual Creative works well against its background and the limited amount of colors and elements still amplify the brand’s messaging on the label.
Started by two passionate homebrewers, Talea Beer wanted to come up with a brand that was easily approachable and spoke to customers from all walks of life. Their craft beer label designs are clearly up for the task with the simplicity in their design that does not sacrifice variety or vividity. Designed by IWANT Design, each of their labels come with bold colors that stand in sharp contrast to one another, without dominating the layout. The design conveys a smart yet playful personality that easily catches the eye from afar.
Design trends are in a constant state of flux. As important as it is to keep these trends in mind while creating your designs, you will need to spend a lot more time coming up with a design that is conscious of these trends while still doing justice to your brand and its personality. When you consider the immense amount of work that goes into refining your beer label design at every stage, your team could easily find the task overwhelming and your final product may suffer as a result.
Since your success in the market hinges on getting everything right to a T, integrating a digital asset and artwork management tool like Artwork Flow into your team’s operations will allow you to eliminate errors throughout the project and make life easier for everyone involved. But most crucially, you will be able to sail through to market in half the time and treat your customers to a truly magical product!
If you would like to see for yourself how Artwork Flow can help your team, book a quick demo with us today and we’ll give you the tour!