5 big trends in beer packaging for 2014

Stuart Chapman of design research agency The Big Picture predicts how the look of beer cans and bottles will evolve in the coming year.

When it comes to packaging design, beer is one area where we see design trends emerging early. The popularity of craft beer offers individuals and independent artists a freer reign than that which is afforded to the design agencies working on the bigger brands.

The Big Picture’s annual Trends Analysis report is conducted across all fields of design from fashion, to furniture, to product design and beyond. Following the 2014 report, we have identified the top five emergent design trends in beer packaging. You don't have to follow them, but it's always good to know what they are!

01. Copper

Toasted beer Turia's packaging highlights the trend for copper colours

Due to the increasing scarcity of copper, the material is progressively becoming more premium and we’re seeing this manifest across the beer sector as it suggests a more luxurious experience for the consumer.

Sekinoichi uses the colour sparingly but effectively on its bottles

Brands such as Pilsner Urquell, Turia Märzen and Sekinoichi have already made a nod to the trend with copper coated fonts and bottles.

02. App-inflated

Apple's influencing every type of design these days - even in the world of beer

As global design leaders Apple have had a large part in inspiring this trend, for forms that mimic the distinctive rounded rectangular shape of app icons in three dimensions.

Bitches Brew makes good use of the trend

In the brewing industry we’re seeing strong, masculine structures, juxtaposed with soft, friendly curves like those from Wakefield Brewery and Bitches Brew.

03. Black Matte

Matte black is on its way back, as seen in this Jagodinska can design

Originally a finish associated with dated consumer electronics, matte black is demonstrating the cyclical nature of design, with a modern day resurgence.

Beat Beer's bottle design makes bold use of matte black

The trend is filtering strongly into beer, such as Beat Beer, Orlando Brewing Co. and Jagodinska Brewery which convey a cool, sleek and premium visual, as well as a bold, flavourful taste experience.

04. Freighted

Beer labels inspired by luggage tags: a great way to convey the global nature of brewing today

As globalization rolls on, the functional and visual language of shipping and distribution has started to inspire the design world. In beer, this is noticeable by a raw and unpolished feel, while references to destinations are being used as a means of conveying provenance and adventure.

Artificial Horizon’s ‘Around the World Beer’ is a prime example, with bottles inspired by vintage luggage labels from around the globe.

05. Drawn freeform

Devil's Peak Beer's packaging excudes a ton of personality

We are beginning to see design imitate art and hand drawn idiosyncrasies are emerging, adding individuality and character to products such as Devil's Peak Beer, Tarantino Brewery and Barcelona Beer Company.

Tarantino Brewery's hand drawn labels are hugely effective

Craft beers in particular are applying this approach and are able to exude a charm that bigger brands struggle to match.

Words: Stuart Chapman

Stuart Chapman is associate director at The Big Picture

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Have you spotted a packaging trend we should be covering? Let us know in the comments!