December 29, 2010

Sleek and Modern Design (and Sans Serif Font) in Beer Labels

Here's a little hodgepodge of some examples of modern design, all of which fits into the overused descriptor of "sleek." My working definition for that is a focus on simple, often text-based, minimalist elements that connote contemporary, rather than historic, aesthetics.

From Scott Saunders' Design 7 Studio, a cider label for Ad Astra Farm.
The key elements here are a nice, bright color scheme for the font on the soft dark blue background. Notice sans serif fonts (that's Latin for "without serif," and means the font doesn't have little strokes at the ends. It's almost a necessity for sleekness), and the cobalt blue bottle that brings out the label work. The border has a dual function of framing the label and setting the art off from the bottle.

Fifty Fifty's Eclipse Stout:
So if it's called "Eclipse," we're either getting lots of black or vampires. In this case, obviously, we get black. The sans serif text is in white and purple (which the dark color you can use with black), with the little Fifty-Fifty logo being the lone bright spot. Cool photo shoot for the bottle, too, to really stage the black bottle.

Lastly, the Atlanta Brewing/Red Brick Long John Ale:
Lots of sans serif (again) font and text on a plain red background. The challenge here is in using text as a design element, and in creating distinct areas and shapes with blocks of letters. They do that well, using a combination of inversion and framing (Red Brick in red at the top), different font types and sizes, and clever layout (the drop text "Ale" for example), creating a dynamic visual field without lots of color or art.

Here's the brewer talking about the packaging overhaul:
Atlanta Brewing Company from 22squared on Vimeo.

It's the end of the year, so some congratulations are in order:


  1. Hello hello!! I stumbled across your blog via a friend of mine mr. Beer Drinker Rob. He writes daily reviews on beer and mentioned your site in his latest post! Glad he did!

    I don't really drink beer myself, but I'm an illustrator and always interested in art. I saw so many awesome labels on this blog! Really cool!

    Keep up the great work!

    Take care,

  2. Hi TJ,

    Glad you like the blog! And I thanked Rob at (see what I did there, everyone?) for his kind shout-out.

    Part of why I like the beer-art connection is that they are two worlds that aren't always connected. Art/design people can appreciate the efforts, and beer people can appreciate the decisions their favorite breweries are making. That's the idea, anyway.

    Thanks for reading!