Beer brands have always surprised us with their eye-catching packaging, known for bold typography, strong colors, and artful imagery. But with so many brands entering the market, it can be a challenge to stand out.

If you want to make your beer the big indie brew of 2021, taking inspiration from this year’s design trends can help your product stand out. Here are ten beer branding design trends to look out for in 2021.

1. Front and Center

One of the biggest beer branding design trends we’ll be seeing in 2021 is product names that are front and center. By leveraging eye-catching typography, businesses that are looking to launch new products can quickly raise brand awareness. Placing the product’s name or logo center stage shows those who aren’t familiar with the brand what to expect with just one glance. One excellent example of this tip is 2Row Brewing’s design for their Chasing Haze beer bottle, which combines tie-dye colors with a psychedelic typeface. The label evokes a trippy aesthetic that sets the palette for a chill, hazy adventure.

2. Vintage-Inspired Packaging

In 2021, we’re going to see a lot of vintage-inspired packaging. The vintage aesthetic has been around for several years now, but this year brands will be taking it a step further by releasing products that look like they’ve traveled through time. Designs won’t just look vintage — they’ll also feel vintage. Brands will pay extra attention to detail, picking certain textures, materials, bottle shapes that beer connoisseurs and novices alike will recognize as a classic.

3. Solid Color

Many beer brands will decide to let go of illustrations to allow their names to speak for themselves. By using a single block of color, the customer’s eye will be drawn to the text on the can, whether it’s a product name or logo. Bright and unusual colors paired with minimal text can help a product stand out against typical busy designs. Colonial Brewing Co. executed this flawlessly with their South West Sour beer can, which features bold white text against a pale coral backdrop. The result is a label that focuses on the beer first and everything else second.

4. Hyper-Simplistic Geometry

Another beer branding design trend that will dominate 2021 is hyper-simplistic geometry. Compared to your usual geometric patterns, hyper-simplistic geometry makes use of clear-cut angles and neat lines to create a retro-slash-funky vibe. Instead of using illustrations, this design trend plays with simplicity to leave a lasting impression on buyers. Slow Lane Brewing uses this design across their entire Belgian Ale collection, and the design even extends into their website.

5. Ink Illustrations

This year will highlight the talent of the best illustrators. Expect to see beer labels that feature attention-grabbing illustrations that look like they belong in a gallery. These designs will appear as though they were drawn by hand using the finest ink pens. By using intricate illustrations, beer manufacturers can highlight the art involved in the brewing process. This design trend will be perfect for craft beer brewers who want their packaging to reflect the authenticity and rustic vibe of the industry.

6. Organic Shape Color-Blocking

Color blocking in beer labels has been around for quite some time. But this year’s design trend will take on much softer shapes. Instead of precise lines and bold colors, we will be seeing unusual color combinations and uneven shapes. Geometric shapes will no longer look perfectly asymmetrical — they will look organic and hand-drawn. For instance, Eighth State Brewing uses uneven shapes beneath a paint spray effect for a more fluid and unconventional design.

7. Tiny Illustrations

This will also be a popular year for beer labels using quirky images. Expect to see plenty of labels that have tiny illustrations scattered all over them. These drawings aim to give the buyer a peek of what to expect from their first sip. For example, lime-flavored beer might have intricate illustrations of limes and suns to trigger positive emotions linked to summertime and relaxation. By using funky and whimsical patterns, your bottle design can set the mood for a tasing experience without giving too much away.

8. Characters and Mascots

Beer brands are taking inspiration from high school football games by using mascots in their packaging. In 2021, brands will be telling stories by creating original characters who will be the face of their product. We’ve seen many successful brands use this branding strategy, like the unforgettable “Tony the Tiger” and “Pillsbury Doughboy.” Now, beer brands are following in their footsteps with comic-book-like characters. Yampa Valley Brewing Co., for example, promote their year-round beer collection with characters that look like dogs, ferrets, and other friendly animals. The result is a beer that can inspire fans through its unique taste and standout mascots.

9. Fine Art Engravings and Designs

Beer drinkers will never want to throw away their cans or bottles again. Designers in 2021 will take inspiration from fine art, especially resin paintings. While this design choice is a staple of the luxury goods industry (e.g., Gucci and Dior) it’s only now that breweries are using these high-end designs in their packaging. Aside from using fine art techniques, beer brands are also integrating textures such as an embossed finish. These designs give a collectible quality to the bottle or can, as well, adding extra value to each one in the minds of customers.

10. White and Minimal

This design trend is the opposite of Solid Color, the third trend in this list. As designers have said time and time again, less is more. Sticking to an all-white canvas can make your product stand out amidst the sea of colors on many beer shelves. The rule of thumb is to combine a white background with simple yet colorful elements such as typography, illustrations, and shapes. Avoid using dull colors such as black and gray, or else buyers might miss your product when scanning their options.

Bottom line

While it’s the quality of the beer that will get people to keep coming back, playing with creative design trends can entice customers to pick up your drink. Whether you’re planning on launching a new product or you simply want to freshen up your existing packaging, consider the 2021 design trends above to ensure that your beer stands out.