Design a beer label


You know your beer is great — you just need strangers to try it. To dominate against your competitors, you need custom labels for your beer.

Custom beer label designs grab attention and reflect your brand. We’ll review everything you need to know about custom labels, including:

  • The advantages of customized beer labels
  • The pre-design process
  • Designing your beer label

The Advantages of Customized Beer Labels

Customized beer labels offer many benefits, like:

  • Unique solutions: While growing, the marketplace for craft beer is still small. Designing a beer label allows your product to stand out among the other brands. Your brews will look professional and unique, drawing people to them.
  • Experimentation: Today’s digital printing techniques allow for more experimentation than before. You can use short-run printing for limited or seasonal brews and promotions or to keep your label fresh.
  • Individualism: With a custom label, you can decide how you want your products to look and represent your brand. You can design your label however you want — it can reflect your product’s flavor and your brand’s uniqueness.

The Pre-Design Process

Before you begin designing your label, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the product? You need to know what you’re selling before you sell it. Ask yourself why people should choose your beer over someone else’s. Knowing these answers helps cultivate your brand and the selling points you want to communicate through your label.
  • Who are the target customers? One rule of marketing is to know your target audience. Keeping your marketing campaign centered on a small audience helps you better meet and satisfy their needs. You’ll need to know your target audience’s demographics and where they’re most likely to buy your product.
  • Where do people purchase your product? With so many different ways to buy a product, you should know which market to focus on. Whether online or through a distributor, how consumers buy your product affects your marketing strategy and label.
  • How will you package your product? One of the biggest questions you have to answer is if you are packaging with bottles or cans. Each method has its pros and cons.

The Pros and Cons of Bottles and Cans

Things to consider when comparing bottles to cans include:

  • Cost: Bottles cost about the same as cans, but the minimum order size for cans might be higher than new brewers can afford.
  • Equipment: A canning line costs more than a bottling line but typically requires fewer human operators.
  • Filling: It’s faster to fill a can over a bottle. This can save money over time.
  • Maintenance: The maintenance costs for bottling lines are generally less because they require less equipment than canning lines.
  • Storage: Cans take up less space than bottles, and you can stack canned six-packs.
  • Transportation: Bottles weigh more than cans, require extra packaging and could break during transportation. Since cans are lighter, they cost less to transport.
  • Flavor: Different customers prefer bottled or canned beer and believe one tastes better than the other.


Design a label for beer


Designing Your Beer Label

To design your beer label, take your vision and concept of your beer and translate it onto the label. This involves selecting the type of label, color, shape and size and typography and style.


The two types of labels for beer are:

  • Pressure-sensitive: These labels are a standard option for beer because they’re easy to use and versatile. Companies apply the labels with a formulated adhesive and material combination that helps them stay on in wet environments. They’re a high-quality choice because your label won’t fade or smear.
  • Glue-applied: Consumers can easily remove glue-applied labels after drinking your brew. The advantages of glue-applied labels are their sharp look, easy production and low cost.


Color is an excellent way to influence:

  • Brand recognition: Marketers want consumers to associate a chosen color with a brand.
  • Mood: Color psychology explains how color can influence mood.
  • Perception: Consumers judge brands based on color.

When choosing the color for your label, consider the color of your bottle or can and your beer. The traditional colors for bottles are brown, green or clear, while cans can be any color. Color doesn’t change functionality — it’s an aesthetic and cultural choice, so pick whichever you prefer. Once you choose your color, you can select the color for your label.

Many companies like to use complementary colors — for instance, pairing a black or white label with shades of red with a green bottle. Brown is a neutral color, so any label color can work with it.

Warm colors, like gold, red or orange, can provide a traditional feel since they reflect the color of beer. If you go this route, you can match the label color to your beer to give customers an idea of what you’re selling. So, a red ale can have a red label. Brewers also commonly use the beer color to complement or contrast the label color in clear bottles.

Shape and Size

Decide between a custom label shape and size or a traditional one. There are many benefits to having a custom label shape and size. You can choose a separate label for the front, back and neck or one that wraps around the bottle or can. Your label background can be transparent or not. Having fun and making something custom and unique will help your product stand out even more.

Consider your budget when deciding between a traditional label size and shape or a custom one. Your bottle or can size and shape factor into the cost of your label. Look at the ounces and dimensions of the bottle or can to determine what size label you need.

The standard shapes for beer labels are:

  • Circle or oval: Circle labels are not as popular as squares, so your product would stand out. They suit beers that have a blend of flavors or a unique flavor.
  • Square or rectangle: Square labels evoke feelings of power, strength and stability. They’re an excellent choice for beers with a strong flavor.
  • Rounded corners: Squares or rectangles with rounded corners give a sense that your beer is fruity or light.
  • Triangle: Triangles are sharp and signify authority or change. They’re best for beers that change seasonally or want to challenge the others as the best.

Not sure where to start? The design support staff at Red Oak Label can help you determine the right size, shape and other features of your beer label and bring it to life with our custom capabilities.

Typography and Style

The traditional label style for beers features a prominent color and a significant brand name. With customized options, you can make your label stand out with unique textures and features. Custom labels can be an art form. You can choose the style, imagery and wording. Select your style based on your target audience and what would attract them.

Your image can be a cartoon illustration, photograph or hand-drawn image. Figure out what makes your product unique and create an image based on that. For instance, if you have a brand mascot or special ingredient, feature it on your label in a unique or artistic way.

Next in the design process is choosing your wording. List keywords you can use on the label to target your customers — they should relate to your brand, your beer’s flavor or your business’s unique qualities. Draw attention to these keywords with different fonts and sizes or visuals that are cohesive with your overall design.

With your main design features complete, make sure you include the following information on your label:

  • Net contents
  • Alcohol content
  • Name and address
  • Beer class and type
  • Product barcode
  • Health statement

Design Your Custom Label With Us

With over 40 years of experience, Red Oak Label is a Wisconsin-based printing company that manufactures lids, labels and tags for various customers. Custom craft beer labels are the perfect way to show off your brand. When you choose Red Oak Label for your printing needs, you choose a solution that mirrors the caliber of your brew. We offer short- and long-run beer label printing orders with multiple types of labels to fit your brand, including:

Red Oak Label offers the options you need to make the most of your branding, distribution and marketing goals. Contact us to get started.


Request a quote


View Archives