Giving your brew the labelling it deserves can be a tough task. This guide aims to simplify the process of label printing by walking you through the process, step by step to ensure you end up with labels that are both high quality and competitively priced. In addition to sharing key considerations at each step of the journey, we have also included our top tips to ensure you have all the expert insight you need at your fingertips!
1.Name your Brew
Labelling your brew should be a fun and organic process! If you are totally stumped, Pinterest has plenty of examples of craft beer names to get your creative juices flowing! Make a dedicated board and pin the ones you like to get started. When it comes to anything branding related, it’s good to consider who you want to appeal to, what tone you want to set and show off the product itself! Is it an ale or lager? What style is it? Is it light hearted and fun or does it want to be taken seriously.
2.Start your Design Process with a Mood Board or Template
The best place to start is through photographing or collecting the labels you love. Label printers are also normally happy to share examples of those they have printed. Note their material, size and shape to finesse what you would like for yours!
Colours are another great starting point, allowing you to set the tone for your beer and brand. If you aren’t yet sure on an identity for your label, why not check out Coolors. This handy website allows you to see how various colour palettes work together.
DID YOU KNOW? Green bottles are traditionally paired with black and white labels, whereas brown bottles offer a more muted background for your label and really any colour will work.
Once you have done your groundwork, free design software Canva has templates when you type in LABEL. You can view their template examples to see what works well, and doing the designing yourself can save you serious time and money. Bear in mind that the sample you create may not be the exact right format and size though, so be sure to check with the printer ahead of time so you can nail it the first time.
If on the other hand a good graphic designer who is able to produce label artwork with you offers a great opportunity to collaborate! Leverage your experience and vision for the brew, and add a hearty helping of their design expertise.
TOP TIP: The better the design, the more likely it is that your brew will stand out on shelves so it’s wise not to rush the creative process.
3.Pick your Label Sizes & Material
To avoid having to cut your labels, it’s advisable that you choose an option closest to your ideal size.
TOP TIP: You can determine how it will look by roughly cutting out the shape on a piece of paper to tape to the bottle. If you like you can also get friends and family to weigh in with their opinion.
There are four main options when it comes to the label’s material, namely wet strength paper, polypropylene (also known as PP), kraft, laid or textured papers and finally, gold, silver or bronze materials. Each has a slightly different look and appeal, so be sure to look at examples online or that your printer has done previously, to make sure you pick the right one.
- Wet Strength Paper – insist your printer uses a wet strength paper suitable for beer bottles. It will help your label resist wrinkling or peeling if it gets a little damp or cold.
- PP (polypropylene) is a water-proof material that is ideal for lagers, which will be chilled or even stored in an ice bucket.
- Kraft, laid or textured papers are a great choice to help your product stand out from the crowd. There’s a huge range available but your printer may only stock a selection.
- Gold or silver materials can be used to create metallic shades and effects without the need for expensive foiling plates.
Next up, consider different finish options! Key choices include the below, all of which can really help create a label which is unique and best reflects your brand identity.
- Gloss or matt varnishes
- High quality over-laminates and special textured finishes
- Metallic foil details
- Special shape label cutters
TOP TIP: In addition to the look of the material, the other things to bear in mind include the application you would like and the storage environment of the brew.
4.Find the Sweet Spot for Printing Runs
As a rule of thumb in the printing industry, the larger the order, the lower the unit price. It is therefore beneficial to consider what you would like to produce over the next three to six months and print all your labels at the same time. Printers are happy to accept runs with multiple designs provided that everything is the same size. This foresight will save you in the long run, so be proactive in your creative phase to ensure you get the most bang for your buck!
TOP TIP: Work out the sweet spot in terms of order size and price by asking for a quote for three different quantities, so that you can gauge a better understanding of how this is quoted on.
5.Check your proof carefully!
As the old adage goes, measure twice and cut once!
Your printer will send you a .pdf proof of your artwork. It is your sole responsibility to check everything is correct and as intended, and to pick up on spelling mistakes or possible misinterpretations. Ask a few friends or family members to check it over too to make sure you haven’t missed anything.
If this is your first order, then ask your printer for a “press proof” too. This is a physical print out on the label material of your design(s). In addition to the look of the label, it is handy for checking the actual outcome for the colour. Whilst PeterLynn Labels offer this service for free, some printers may charge a small fee to produce this. It is well worth this extra step to ensure you can see your labels in living colour before committing to a full run of these.
TOP TIP: Labels on rolls, rather than sheets are typically easier to use, cheaper to produce and as volumes increase, it is more straightforward to switch to a label applicator to help you label your bottles faster.
For further free advice and information please feel free to drop me Vicky Waine a line. With over a decade of experience in labelling, I will be able to assist you with any questions you may have in the bottling process.
PeterLynn Labels Limited