The Life of a Label Artist: A Look at Beer’s Prolific Visual Storytellers

Discussion in 'Article Comments' started by BeerAdvocate, Jan 11, 2019.

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  1. BeerAdvocate

    BeerAdvocate Admin (0) Aug 23, 1996 California

    meefmoff and steveh like this.
  2. zid

    zid Grand Pooh-Bah (3,036) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Jolly Pumpkin and Stillwater - two breweries with visually striking labels that also make it damn hard to identify anything about the beer.

    Shelves are super cluttered, and breweries are pulling out all the stops with their labeling in order to stand out... but the thing that many are forgetting is that when you have a sea of visual clutter, it is important to communicate to the audience quickly and easily. I'm beginning to lose my patience with breweries that make it difficult.
  3. Squire

    Squire Initiate (0) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi

    I appreciate the artistry involved in packaging the product but the best design imaginable won't make me buy it twice.
  4. bbtkd

    bbtkd Grand High Pooh-Bah (7,104) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    True enough, but when you find a kickass beer and it has kickass labeling, all the better. I like what GI has done with BCBS bottles and labeling. No fancy artwork per se, but the great beer plus the labeling almost makes you feel OK with the price!
    #4 bbtkd, Jan 12, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019

    GOBLIN Pooh-Bah (2,420) Mar 3, 2013 Ohio
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    I have purchased Stillwater a few times based solely on the artwork so there's that. I have however been disappointed more than a handful of times on the product inside the can once it hits my palate. I love a good looking can or bottle. Whether it's on the shelf or in my fridge. But the beer itself is the absolute ONLY reason I'd go back for a second purchase. Jolly Pumpkin btw . . . Usually outstanding !
    TheGuamBrewery likes this.
  6. SagittariusA

    SagittariusA Crusader (432) Jan 23, 2017 Missouri

    Simplicity. Love what Side Project does with their labels. Themed according to style and just overall a very elegant presentation.

    Also, a huge fan of Bottle Logic stasis labels. All the information conveyed in a simple standard themed format that makes it easy to know what you have in your hand.
  7. jesskidden

    jesskidden Pooh-Bah (2,869) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Sounds like you, Zid, are more interested in buying and drinking a common beverage like beer than appreciating the ability to own a work of art? :wink:

    I mean, c'mon, does it really matter what's inside the can when your recycling bin can be filled with these (well, except for that center can with those "words" - how gauche):
    I know when I shop for beer, I want to see a shelf like this
    not a bunch of print like I'm reading the !@#$ New York Times or something. Ruins the entire mystic of buying "craft" beer.

    Instead, I get to wonder what that beer is, open the door, pull out a pack with one hand, spin a can with the other (maybe having to hold it horizontally) trying to find who brewed it and what sort of beer it's supposed to be (reading carefully to find what "innovative" fruit, vegetable, spice or other flavoring they've added) ... and then have to repeat the entire thing over again since I neglected to put on a pair of reading glasses. :rolling_eyes:
  8. zid

    zid Grand Pooh-Bah (3,036) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I hate the 4/6 pack can spin.
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  9. jesskidden

    jesskidden Pooh-Bah (2,869) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    A bit more involved that the 4/6 180° FLIP, to check the date code.

    And the new (and otherwise annoying for other reasons) plastic PAKTECH type holder making a FLIP easier - one-handed! - since the cans tend to stay together upside down than with the old plastic rings, where they sometimes spread out like a blooming flower (with a can occasionally escaping all together).
  10. mkh012

    mkh012 Pooh-Bah (1,569) May 7, 2015 Colorado

    Agreed. Singlecut cans have the style of beer in small print on the side. Kind of silly.
    PatrickCT likes this.
  11. rich4423

    rich4423 Initiate (0) Jan 4, 2019 Ohio

    I couldn't care less what stupid artwork is on my beer. Take the money wasted on artwork and make the beer better. Unfortunately, this is the sorry world we live in. Dummies buying products for the packaging instead of the quality of the product.
    parose likes this.
  12. Riggsby

    Riggsby Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2010 New Jersey

    Artwork can be appealing, certainly attractive. Like women. But it's what's inside the can and when it landed there that matters most to me. Again, like women. I'll take the contents over the package any day!
    parose likes this.
  13. SagittariusA

    SagittariusA Crusader (432) Jan 23, 2017 Missouri

    Aaargh... Get off my lawn!!!
  14. John_M

    John_M Grand High Pooh-Bah (6,253) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Super Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I don't think too many people are doing that. If the beer sucks, I don't care how fabulous the artwork on the label, you're not going to get my money. I have to think that's the attitude most customers have.

    To be honest, I'm pretty much in your camp on this. As long as the contents are enjoyable, my beer can come in a white can that says "beer" on it. On the other hand, I don't really mind if the IPA I'm enjoying has a creative label on it. I'm aware I'm probably paying a few cents more for the beer as a result, but if I'm already paying $4 or $5 for a can/bottle, I can live with that.
    Maestro0708 and parose like this.
  15. parose

    parose Initiate (0) Apr 17, 2016 Michigan

    Personally, I love all the crazy artwork from all the brewerys that are trying so hard. I may pick up a six pack on a whim based on the artwork but if it's not a good beer, that's the only sale they make from me. It comes down to what's in the bottle or can. Take Bell's Twohearted for example, it's one of the best beers on the planet but has one of the most unappealing labels. But it sells and sells like crazy. Why? Because its it's so good... Focus on the beer first, then the artwork later. But if it sells then keep on keepin' on.
    twerstlein likes this.
  16. MrGroovyLion

    MrGroovyLion Initiate (0) Mar 6, 2018 California

    Of the five cans pictured, only one of them tells me (in legible print, anyway) what type of beer it is.

    So if I'm at the beer cooler and there are cans labelled so that I know what they are, and then these mystery cans next to them, I'm not going to put the effort into trying to decipher what's inside the mystery cans. Life's too short.

    This artist guy may know how to make a good looking beer label, but that's not the same thing as a good beer label.
  17. riptorn

    riptorn Maven (1,388) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    The challenge for me is that a lot of them start running together in my mind like a Jackson Pollack painting, making it difficult to remember one from another.

    You’ll have no trouble picking this BEER out of the jumble of can art; distinctive, simple, memorable.
    twerstlein likes this.
  18. Maestro0708

    Maestro0708 Initiate (0) Feb 27, 2015 Kentucky

    I liked the article... I love a great label and the extra layer of creativity and storytelling it can offer a beer. I do agree that relevant information should be clear and easy to find on the label and that the most important thing is whats inside, but I think theres plenty of room for both on cans/bottles. Plenty of breweries doing a great job in all these departments.

  19. zid

    zid Grand Pooh-Bah (3,036) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Actually, I don't mind Singlecut cans at all. They are uniform yet distinctive, and the layout makes things relatively easy. I wish others followed their example.
  20. heymikew

    heymikew Pooh-Bah (1,999) Mar 18, 2011 California
    Pooh-Bah Society

    Artistry is fine as long as it doesn't obscure the critical details about the product.
    Here's my idea of a great beer label:
    LeftHanded666, PatrickCT and riptorn like this.
  21. riptorn

    riptorn Maven (1,388) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    As an aspiring home brewer I'd buy that beer for this simple reason they put the recipe on the label....I've not seen that before now.
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