With the recent trend for home breweries and craft beers has come an explosion of inventive and original beer label designs. Here are some of the best.
Words: Ben Whitesell
Wine bottles may get a lot more of the spotlight when it comes to label design, but a recent trend to home breweries and the growing popularity of small run craft beers is opening up a whole new world in beverage label design.
While companies such as InBev may have the market cornered in terms of big name beers like Budweiser, Beck’s, or Stella Artois, it's the smaller brew houses - which you may never of heard of until now - that are getting really creative with their label designs. So here we've gathered together 10 of the most creative examples of beer bottle label designs to inspire you.
01. Russell Brew Co. Angry Scotch Ale
Why wrap your beer bottle with a label that can peel off when you can print it right on the bottle? Russell Brewing Co.’s Angry Scotch Ale, brought to you by the people at Atmosphere Design, features ink right on the bottle. It's a good way to save on paper and glue while also creating a striking design.
02. St. Stefanus
When you look at the label created by Brandhouse for St. Stefanus, you are seeing history. In fact you are seeing almost 700 years of beer brewing tradition, dating back to the Augustijn monks who originated the recipe. Some elements of the font used on the bottle and label even come from songbooks found in the Augustijn’s monastery library.
03. Grimm Brothers Magic Mirror
Inspiration for beer labels, and in this case even a beer’s name, can come from anywhere. The folks at The Tenfold Collective mined fables and fairytales for design and naming ideas to create the labels for the Grimm Brothers series of ales. In the case of Magic Mirror, they incorporated a reflective label in order to conjure up the ghostly figure in the reflection.
04. Cervecería Sagrada
While Corona may be the most recognizable beer exported from Mexico, Cervecería Sagrada is a Mexican craft beer that captures the country's colorful history and spirit in its label. Designer José Guízar was inspired by Lucha Libre wrestlers, who wear colorful masks and have equally colorful personalities. During the 1950s Lucha Libre were considered folk heroes and starred not only in the wrestling ring, but also in comic books and movies in Mexico. Guízar’s labels recreate the masks of some of the most famous and recognisable of them.
05. Camden Town Beer
The creative minds at The Tenfold Collective sure can create some nice looking labels. Their work for Camden Town Brewery uses individual colours and fonts to help differentiate between their series of lagers. The addition of little details like the halo over the word 'lager' on Camden’s Hell lager adds another layer of interest to these designs.
06. Innis & Gunn
If you haven’t heard of the creative team at Stranger & Stranger then their design for the Innis & Gunn label is great introduction. They do some of the best package design work in the industry, which is easily reflected in the amount of detail you see in this Innis & Gunn label. They manage to invoke both a classic and modern aesthetic with the use of red and gold and classic illustration elements.
07. Lade Gaards Brygghus
Many artists like to illustrate by hand. Anette Kirkeby is no exception, even when it comes to beer labels. Her work for Lade Gaards Brygghus is completely illustrated by hand, even the typography. The effect this creates is a classic feel that helps to capture some of the history of the long tradition of brewing beer.
08. 1295 Brewing Co.
Sometimes simplicity is the best policy. Tom Hayes and Taylor Pemberton used simple black and white labelling to create a quiet but bold design for Ben Hough’s home brewed beer. The font choice in the case of the larger bottles’ painted-on labels gives the brand a vintage feel that harkens back to the days of bootleggers and prohibition. The name 1295 is actually Ben’s home address number, which is a nice insider detail.
09. Hilliard’s Brewery
We can’t discuss beer labels without throwing in at least one beercan design. Seattle’s latest craft beers from Hilliard’s Brewery are a testament to classic Americana. The can design from Mint explores a feeling of nostalgia for the '70s with its use of font, dominant blue and white colour, and earth tone plaid patterns.
10. Scotts Brewing Co.
Scotts Brewing Co. is yet another great example of understated, but effective beer label design. The designer Penny Dombroski went with a print-on bottle solution that was both economical and easy to read. The label wrap at the bottom is a nice way of allowing Scotts Brewing to differentiate their ales by putting the ale type on a printable surface while the logo on the bottle remains the same.
- Words: Ben Whitesell is a media designer specializing in a variety of different types of content creation including tradition print page layout, poster design and illustration.
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Have you spied a great example of beer label design? Let us know about it in the comments!