What is the best label color?
This is a complex question with conflicting research on all sides. Regardless, one thing is clear – the best label color is the one that reinforces your authentic brand. Your brand voice must be established first before a label color can be selected to bring that voice to the market. Check out this post about Your Authentic Brand and Clare Carver’s rules to build your brand here
Once the brand and the brand voice are solid, you can begin to work on the best label color.
Is it important? Yes!
According to Emerald Insight and others (full study here), people make up their minds about a product or person – including your beer, wine, soap – within 90 seconds. And, importantly for us, 62-90% of that initial reaction is based on color. That’s right – color! Having the best label color is critical.
What does each color say – what makes the best label color?
Begin with the end in mind – what emotion are you trying to evoke? Happy? Angry? Fired up to Party? Each of these desired consumer reactions will require a different best label color. Yes – as always – it depends. If you know your intended reaction, and your brand voice, then finding the best label color is easy.
Specific examples of Best Label Color
Real Simple magazine has a great breakdown of 10 different colors and the reactions they evoke. Read the full article by clicking here. Here are a few examples, but read the full article for more detailed explanations.
- Black – the signature color of sophistication. Where do you want your brand positioned in the mind of your target consumer?
- Blue – everyone likes blue. It connotes trust and dependability. A blue logo can increase loyalty and feelings of security. Is this the reaction you want? Maybe this is your best label color?
- Burgundy – rich and refined. Think of full bodied, bold (expensive) wines. Luxury.
- Orange – fair and affordable are typical reactions from this color.
- Red – This may be your best label color is you want a hot, excited consumer, but red also means ‘stop’ or caution or danger to many people. Choose carefully.
There are five more great colors, and links to other research, in the full article link above.
Summary and Next Actions
Begin with your well defined brand image and voice. From there, layer on the reaction you want from your target consumer. From there, the best label color decision is much easier and logical. With all this data, you also need to add in a touch of your own flair and gut feeling. These are guidelines that are very helpful, but ultimately your decision is up to you. Make sure you are being consistent with your ultimate business goals – read this post for more information about brand alignment.
Still Stuck? Call us Today
We can help solve the best label color problem. We do it for many customers each year and we are happy to help you, too. With our new HP Indigo Press, printing great labels has never been easier. Cheers!
Beer label design is critical to building your brand and we like staying on the cutting edge with events like this. This sold out event was fun and inspiring as we work with our customers to keep their beer label design fresh.
Live Design in Real Time
Led by beer label design guru Ryan Wheaton, the Rough Draught event featured four designers doing live design in a compressed 90 minute time frame. Each designer was paired with a specific beer that was released for the event. Attendees were invited to taste the beer and come up with catchy names for the beers. Ultimately, in 90 minutes, the beers were named and labels were designed on site. This was likely the fastest beer label design they had ever done. Hearing the designers talk about their inspiration and process was very interesting.
Learning while They Draw
Harvey Shepard – founder of Oh Beautiful Beer gave us a fantastic history lesson while the designers were hard at work. Starting with the very first packaging – which was not controlled by the brewery or standardized – through prohibition, we learned about all the ups and downs of beer packaging through the ages. More important for many was the commentary on the current proliferation of specialty, one-off, short run products (and labels). Harvey did a good job of pointing out that all trends run in cycles and what is working now may not be viable in 5 years. Speaking of 5 years, this was a general guideline for a brand refresh. Every case is different – and elements of a brand may need a refresh much sooner – but this was an interesting and helpful part of the Q&A session.
True to the Brand – Discipline
This was another great reinforcement of something we preach daily – the design has to be true to the brand. Labels don’t exist in a vacuum, they are part of a larger brand story. In order to be effective, this story has to be authentic and consistent. Harvey was asked about how he avoids creating beer labels that all look the same and this was the answer – discipline. Designers in his studio Blind Tiger Design in Seattle work very hard to listen and draw out the authentic brand story. This discovery process is critical, and clearly one of the things that keeps their design fresh, fun, and authentic to the brands they serve.
Design is Key
Why does Rose City Label care about design this much? Design is key. Without great design partners, the label printing process is boring and our customers aren’t likely to succeed. We don’t do in-house design, but we do have a wonderful group of design partners that we can refer you to. Thanks to Ryan, Harvey, and our friends at Hopworks for hosting this fun, interesting event.
When it comes to designing a label for your craft beer, you have several things to consider. In most cases, you’ll feature your brand and logo on every label, as well as your multipack packaging. So how best to maintain a cohesive brand style while making each individual brew stand out from its brethren? How do you deliver variations on a theme while making each brew instantly recognizable as part of your brand?
Part of the beauty of craft beer is its individuality; its uniqueness. For most brewers, this extends to the artwork on the label. In many cases, you already have a remarkable logo that reflects your business personality. By featuring your logo and using labels with variances in color, background image or even shape, you make each batch instantly recognizable to your loyal fans while introducing your brand to everyone who tries any of your beers for the first time.
Varying Labels by Beer Style
Many craft brewers will simply change the background color and the text to differentiate their IPA from their German Lager. Certainly, this will get the job done. However, this can make for a shelf display that’s rather lackluster.
Why not have a little fun with the feature of each brew? For example, you could underlay a subtle golden honeycomb design into the background of your honey wheat ale labels. Your double-hopped IPA labels could feature your logo artwork perched against a background of pen-and-ink-drawn hops. The possibilities are as limitless as the flavors of your craft brews.
Labeling Your Seasonal Brews
Seasonal craft beers are increasingly popular, and many brewers wisely capitalize on that consumer trend by offering a cycle of limited edition beers throughout the year. You can have fun with seasonal craft beer labels as well. As above, background images or patterns are a good choice.
You can also change the shape of your seasonal beer labels to reflect the flavors within. Imagine a summer shandy with the label die-cut into the shape of a lemon. Your fall flavors ale could feature a pumpkin-shaped label and the winter stout may have your logo emblazoned on a snowman’s chest.
Custom Beer Labels for Special Events
If you’re hosting an event, or providing libations for a wedding, company retreat or other affair, that can become a fabulous opportunity to pair your image with the theme of the celebration. Even if your usual label printing is done on a conventional printing press, Rose City Label can easily do a short run of special edition beer labels on our digital press.
Because there are no plates to manufacture, digital label printing is perfectly suited to short runs such as for special events. With this technology, you can create custom craft beer labels for community events without the setup expenses associated with traditional label printing. So don’t be afraid to feature your limited editions and special event brews with subtle changes in art framing your recognizable brand logo. Your consumers will be impressed with the detail.
Ready to discuss how we can help your collection of brews jump off the shelf with a unique set of eye-catching custom beer labels? Bring us your artwork and tell us your goals. We’ll help you determine the perfect way to make your craft beer collection stand out among the rest.
Arguably one of the most versatile aspects of our HP Indigo Digital Offset press is the ability to use white ink. On a reflective or holographic stock, white ink opens up a world of possibilities for your label. While colored inks tint the reflective stock, retaining its “shiny” look, white ink is opaque—covering the stock like a coat of paint.
What does this mean? Well, one of the drawbacks to the digital press is that you can’t work with metallic inks. However, if you have your sights set on a reflective detail for your labels, a bit of reversal can deliver this dramatic look.
Instead of using metallic ink on matte stock, you can begin with a shiny or iridescent stock. Colored inks will tint the stock for a bright gleam in any hue you could desire. Meanwhile, mixing white ink with color—or using white ink alone—will block out portions of the reflective nature of your stock. To the observer, the shiny bits will pop against a matte background.
The effect is that of reflective ink on matte stock, although in reality the reverse is true. But we won’t tell if you won’t!
White Ink Adds Versatility
The versatility afforded by using opaque white on the digital press is vast. Shiny, reflective stocks are nice, but in many cases, they make smaller fonts difficult to read. Often, a label that is 100 percent reflective lacks visual interest. This rather defeats the purpose of using “shiny” to draw attention to your brand.
Therefore, the ability to use both opaque and translucent colors over a reflective stock adds greatly to the appeal of choosing the digital press. Your project may be a short run, perhaps for a new, experimental or promotional product. Or maybe you need sequential or otherwise variable data. Projects such as these are ideally suited to digital printing.
Cohesive Look Between Print Methods
In the past, you’d have had to give up all hope of metallic, shiny or reflective details when choosing digital. If your existing brand logo makes use of reflective ink, you would be limited to the traditional press for each project. This could make a limited edition or other short run project somewhat cost prohibitive, as the plates and other setup expenses are the same whether you need 100 labels or 10,000.
By making use of white ink, you can add an occasional short, digital run of special labels to your existing product line without sacrificing the look your customers have grown accustomed to. As you know, maintaining a cohesive look is important for brand recognition. White ink enables us to give you the metallic look you desire in spite of the limitations to available ink colors on the digital press.
At Rose City Label, we enjoy using innovative solutions such as white ink to tackle the challenges our clients face in a competitive marketplace. Whatever your labeling challenges may be, we welcome the opportunity to find the perfect—and most cost-effective—solution for your product line. Get in touch today and let’s talk about how to make your vision a reality.
This great information was published in ‘Labels and Labelling’ magazine – the recapped some branding guidelines from the international branding and packaging agency, Claessens-Cartils. This is great information that any label buyer should consider when they are deciding on a bottle, package, and label design.
Every brand has both an identity and an image. The IDENTITY is the actual value and quality of the brand – low price, high quality, cutting edge, established, or whatever you truly offer to the consumer. The IMAGE is the perception created by the packaging and label. Your goal is to make sure the packaging allows the true IDENTITY to show through.
Whatever your brand IS, make sure your label reflects that. Here are three examples:
AUTHORITY – If your product shows self confidence, trustworthiness, and excellent quality, consider these design element: Capital letters, high contrast colors, high position on the bottle. Other elements include a shield or a coat of arms showing a regal, established backing. Smirnoff Vodka is shown as an excellent example of this brand message.
AUTHENTICITY – This brand is perceived to be real, and to have an honest story to tell. Specific logo fonts (like no other), custom colors, and a brand ‘icon’ are great features of a label projecting this image. Kettle One has a label that reflects the 300 year old tradition of small batch vodka. The design incorporates the original coal-fired copper pot, which is still in operation today. The 10th generation family business has a true, interesting story to tell, and consumers react well to it.
PRODUCT EXPECTATION – This label tries to convey the smell and taste of the product inside the package. With vodka, the image desired is purity, smoothness, and an alcohol kick. Absolut vodka captures this with bold a bold typeface, a rounded bottle, and crystal clear labels giving the ‘no label look’.
This entire article can be found on the agency website -please check it out to read even more great tips.