As consumers, it’s often easy to feel overwhelmed by a sea of options. Beer lovers are no strangers to this. We’re constantly being kept on our toes, looking out for beer’s next big star, while also enjoying the classics. Innovation can be a double-edged sword for breweries: Options equal competition. How do these delightful beverages stand out from one another on the shelf? Design.
Walk into any beer seller and see cans trying to tell a story — through type treatments, illustrations, color schemes, and even textures, these little vessels all vie for our attention at the same time. Whether it rings true or not, for some shoppers, the label is a preview of the beer inside.
Beer labels have carved out their own special corner of the design industry. In fact, some designers like Keever even specialize in designing suits for stouts, pale ales, IPAs, and more. In a way, the beer and design industries have signed an unspoken agreement that’s mutually beneficial for both parties: Designers help breweries put their best look forward, and breweries allow designers to frolic in a creative playground.
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VinePair’s design team can’t help but notice when trends in beverage aesthetics cross our desks. Design is a collaborative process; as designers, we draw inspiration from what we see around us. It’s inevitable that certain themes and patterns have emerged in the beer world.
While the categories in beer design are limitless, we’ve decided to highlight the looks that we’ve found most popular lately, with imaginative and intriguing works from breweries and artists around the world.
When taking a look at today’s hottest beer design trends, it’s important to distinguish between minimalism and geometric labels. While the two worlds can collide, geometric designs don’t necessarily have to look clean and can still portray concretely visual design. Such illustrations of shapes and patterns are more abstract and sometimes more representative; but they always play the primary role in the label’s visual balance.
Japanese designer and brewer Kota Kobayashi’s Ippon Matsu is a beautiful example of where geometric starts and minimalist ends. A white lone pine tree composed of rectangles and triangles sits at the center of the clear bottle, while a vertical label with handwritten text lies on top of the hinged bottle stopper. The tree, while simple, is still representative and iconographic. This soft-spoken visual is actually linked to the name and story behind these beers.
Credit: Ippon Matsu
Kobayashi wrote of the 2012 release: “This beer’s name means ‘One Pine Tree’ and its design is a symbol of charity and hope for Japan’s brighter future. A scroll-like, handwritten label seals the top with its story written on the inside. The label is a solitary pine made of three triangles facing up, symbolizing the wish for progress in the reconstruction efforts.”
Interestingly, we noticed that many craft beer brands follow Ippon Matsu in the Japan-inspired geometric category. Sake-inspired Stillwater Extra Dry is an eye-catcher: A recent …….