Craft Beer Labels: the complete design guide

Believe it or not, aesthetics matter! The taste of your beer is fundamental, but the first thing a customer sees is the beer label and its packaging. Your is a quality product, rich in flavour and with a good fermentation technique is not enough. Having a creative and uniquely designed label is essential for the craft beer sector.
Finding out the way to stand out and create an image that your customers will remember can be a good starting point! So, if you are a craft beer producer or designer and you need to design craft beer labels, you've come to the right place. We have created a complete guide on beer labels design for you, and today we want to share some tips to create eye-catching ones, yes, but also legally correct.

Beer Labels

If in the world of wine you can still see a link with tradition, it is experimentation that reigns supreme in the world of craft beers. Craft beers are characterized by research and creativity at every stage of production, from searching for ingredients to execution to creating a product that is always different and special. This originality is visually translated into beer labels in imagination and creativity with even extravagant results.
In addition to the branding and remote recognition function, beer labels must contain valuable information for the customer that allows them to clearly and effectively recognize the beer they have and to be able to make an informed purchase.
Craft beer has become a huge trend. It has gained popularity as consumers, especially younger ones, experiment with different beer flavours. To maintain flexibility and adapt to trends, small breweries have to apply constant changes. There are many solutions to stand out, but the more these solutions are less traditional and more creative, the greater the possibility of getting noticed on the market. One of these actions can be creating customized packaging for a beer with the company brand; it can become a way to express your brand and its values. In addition, the creation of custom labels gives a sense of individual approach towards the customer.
Let's see our suggestions for designing craft beer labels that can make your brand stand out! After a more technical part, we will also offer you some examples from which to draw inspiration of beer labels printed by our Labelado Team.


Design Step

1. Define the shape and size of the label
First, it is crucial to decide on the shape and size of the label. You have to determine if you are looking for a more traditional shape and size or something customized. You can choose to create a separate brand for the bottleneck, front and back, or a label wrapped around the bottle.
2. Choose the right style
The style of your label plays a fundamental role because it will represent your brand. Therefore, select the one that best suits your brand values or the type of beer you brew. The right style will convey the right aesthetic.
3. Choose legible fonts
Believe it or not, the fonts you choose are also necessary! The right font can help you communicate the right message and build a brand's personality. You may be drawn to the use of fancy fonts, but all your efforts will be in vain if they are not legible. Readability is essential. Only when your customers can read the information on your label can they make an informed purchase decision and remember your name!
4. Personalize your label with unique images
Once you've finished choosing your label style, it's time to select your images. Of course, you can add any image you want to your label. However, you must first understand what makes you unique, such as the ingredients, your technique, etc., and find an ad hoc image representing your brand
5. Incorporate some keywords from the world of beer into the lyrics
There is a lot you can do with the words on the label. Using beer industry keywords will help you brand your beer the right way. Plus, words are the simplest way to reach your target customers. All you need to do is list the best keywords that describe your beer and prioritize them. Subsequently, those keywords can be on the beer labels.
6. Don't miss the beer labeling laws
Each country has different laws for beer labelling. Don't forget to consider these laws when designing craft beer labels. There are some legal elements and some precautions that you absolutely cannot miss. Later we will see those planned by us in Italy.
7. ind the right partner to print your label
Once you are done with all the design steps mentioned above, it is time to find the right partner to print your craft beer labels. Find a printer who can produce quality, eye-catching and tailor-made labels for your brand.
If you need it, we at Labelado will be happy to help you! You can fill out the contact form at the bottom of the article for any doubts. But, now let's continue...
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Colours and Fonts

If you want to create beer labels that can attract and represent your product well, you can only ask yourself your strengths and understand how to communicate them to the consumer.
A product that bases its strength on simplicity can opt for a minimal beer labels, with clean lines and simple colours. The palette can be that of the neutral and amber hues of the beer, or it can recall the type of beer itself. The design and font will be the common thread. Then, you can play with the background colour, passing from the bright red for the red beer to the golden yellow for the blonde, from the terra di Siena for the dark beer to pearl white or blue to white beer and so on.
If your brewery winks at tradition, vintage or old-school style beer labels remain a great classic. In the first case, the colours to be included will undoubtedly be beige - gold, black and blue, in line with the primary colours of the products in vogue in the 1950s and 1960s. For old-school craft beer labels, the colours will be mainly the primary ones: scarlet red, cobalt blue, bright yellow, with very few shades and well-defined black outlines.
Finally, you can leave room for inventiveness and create illustrated beer labels of all kinds in bright and fluorescent colours with abstract creations, geometric patterns, or realistic designs. These kinds of labels can create real marketing and storytelling phenomena.
Well-made craft beer labels can transform a simple container into a real collector's item or entice the consumer to find amicable solutions for creative recycling: from the flower vase to the base for a lamp. Your label could become part of the consumer's everyday life, thus creating a kind of emotional bond with your product - which, moreover, will often be in the sight of friends and guests!

Paper for labels and processes: the extra touch

The design and colour palette has been established. You have to choose the paper and any processing for your craft beer labels. In this case, it is necessary to take into account the fact that the product must be consumed fresh: refrigeration and humidity can put a strain on the resistance of your labels!
As far as paper is concerned, highly resistant ones are preferred: natural anti-pulping papers, metallized papers and plastic materials, capable of perfectly resisting humidity and creating new effects when combined with the right colours. If, on the other hand, you prefer to opt for the classic paper, you can choose between the glossy coated paper and the matt one in the anti-pulping version: a simple choice that will bring out the brilliance of the chosen colours!
Even the processes can help preserve your labels: in fact, lamination and varnishing allow you to protect the label even more. You can choose between a glossy finish to increase colour saturation, or a matte finish, for an elegant look. Finally, we can think of other finishes such as screen printing or hot foil, keeping in mind that these processes are preferred to embellish small and medium-sized details and to be avoided, however, on large and curved surfaces.
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The information to write on it

We said a while ago that beer labels must necessarily contain a series of information required by current law and some indications. The data to be included on the label must be divided into mandatory and non-mandatory information. Let's see them specifically:

Mandatory Information: legal information

1. Brand or company name of the manufacturer
2. Location of the establishment
3. Production batch
4. Date of bottling
5. Alcohol content of one's beer as a percentage.
Beer can be defined as non-alcoholic if the amount of alcohol does not exceed 1.2% and light if it does not exceed 3.5%.
6. Expiry date or "to be consumed preferably by:"
7. Ingredients, bolding or highlighting any allergens
8. Net volume of the product expressed in litres or centilitres

Non-Mandatory Information: informative or purely aesthetic elements

1. Bar Code: generally requested by retailers, supermarkets and online shops where you sell your beer, bearing a unique code to identify your product; they must be legible, and the bars must contrast with the background. Black codes tend to be printed on white backgrounds. To find out more about the readability of barcodes, read our article "Why can't my barcode be read?". Always avoid red for bars as most common barcode scanners cannot read them. One of our pre-press operators can help you set the barcode correctly and do a test to verify its readability.

2. QR Code: QR codes can be used to insert exciting information in a small space, such as links to pages of your website, advertisements, applications etc.

3. Responsible Consumption: a phrase supporting responsible drinking, reminding the consumer that drinking excessive quantities can harm himself and other people.

4. Advice on Dishes and Pairings: who said that only wine producers could report pairings with dishes? Customers will be more interested in buying your beer if you communicate some nice pairing between it and a plate.

5. Hints and aromas of beer: inserting descriptors of flavours and aromas will help the customer choose your beer and allow him to look like an expert sommelier with his friends.

6. Stories and aphorisms: You can give the green light to your imagination from this point on. Quotes, stories and tales about the tradition of your brewery and how you started this profession starting from a passion, for example, are exciting elements for customers. This information allows you to create long-lasting relationships!

7. Manufacturer's signature: a simple element such as a handwriting signature can strike the eye and allow the consumer to link with the producer immediately. 
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Via Aristotelis Label



Boom beer: a gold label on metallic paper

The Boom beer label is an award-winning creation characterized by a street style and metallic paper that creates exciting plays of light. Andrea Basile, creative director of the Basile ADV studio, was selected at the Best Label Beer 2020, thanks to its strong visual impact and accurate graphic composition.
The Boom Beer is a product of a young Italian craft brewery, "Malti da Legare", which needed to present a label capable of describing Stout beer, full-bodied and explosive. Therefore, we were inspired by the idea of a real "Molotov"
- Andrea Basile tells us.
The label was made on Arconvert's Vacuum Metal Silver-Lux 83, a silver metallic paper with a standard of quality and resistance that offers a stunning metallic finish and stimulates the eye as well as the fingertips to the touch. With a mirror effect and moving reflections reminiscent of those sparks of "explosive" fire, we wanted to use a silkscreened white with four-colour printing and a protective varnish in the printing process.
If you like to read the complete interview, you can find it here

Track21: a beer label dedicated to the theme of travel

A project for a beer label dedicated to the theme of travel born from the idea of the creative studio BasileADV - Andrea Basile and the type foundry Resistenza - Giuseppe Salerno - this label was born. It has involved and passionate us from the earliest stages and now makes us very proud.
The lettering proposed inside the beer label was created for it. It is a graceful, uppercase and slanted style with alternating thicknesses between thin lines and thicker strokes to recall railway typefaces. For the 21, a more linear font was chosen in contrast to the first part of the naming.
The predominant colours of the beer label are ultramarine blue and copper foil details supplied by Luxor that give depth and strength to the label. There are many processes present on this beer label: from dry embossing to micro-engravings, from polishing to elements in foil and relief at the same time. All these processes embellish and make this beer label complex and unique
Discover the journey of Track21 beer and its label! Find the complete article here
Boundary Breaks Wine Label

“Original Graphic Novel” Della Granda Brewery: Lucca Comics special

Original Graphic Novel is the name of this beer presented by the “ Della Granda Brewery” on the occasion of the 2021 edition of Lucca Comics. A beer produced with a unique and collectable label, which tells the story of the GIRLS in instalments, some fantastic characters created ad hoc by the Brewery and previously used for the communication and packaging of their beers.
It is a truly compelling story in the form of a comic to find out who the GIRLS are and how they met, which unfolds in 48 cartoons, applied randomly on each can. To do this, the Brewery relied on the Labelado Team and the printing with variable data. Sequentially, it was possible to obtain a succession of the drawn tables; each table corresponds to an episode in history.
The project was carried out in collaboration with Idea Food & Beverage, a historical partner for communication, who created the concept and coordinated the work, and Diego Boscolo Fiore, the artist creator of the GIRLS.
Thanks to digital printing with Hp Indigo 6800 and variable data printing with Hp SmartStream Designer, Birrificio Della Granda has made a usual niche product, such as a collector's or limited edition, more accessible and exciting.
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Remember, getting your audience to try your brand isn't that easy. It would help if you had influential beer labels. As you can see, there are many decisions to make! Remember, the Labelado Team can help you create a tailor-made label that will make your brand and your product stand out, from conception to final production.
I hope this complete guide on how to design beer labels will be helpful to you. If you need more information, we at Labelado can answer your questions and any printing requests for all the processes you found in this article! And remember, if you need to touch the materials, you can always ask for our samples of labels to select the most suitable material for your craft beer and your brand!