The global cider market is one of the few industries that has remained largely unfazed by the pandemic. Thanks to eCommerce, the hurdles in the traditional supply chain did not do much damage to retail sales, and people were able to buy their favorite cider products through online channels. The market grew, instead. More people wanted to discover nonalcoholic (or low alcoholic) options for beverages and cider emerged as the perfect replacement.
This healthy growth of the market has given birth to a lot of competition, too. Brands have been fighting for a place on supermarket shelves, and as always, package design has a lot to say about how much activity your brand will see once it’s on the shelf.
Here are the 5 design tips to make that happen.
This can be considered the industry standard, not a unique design tip, but let’s start with this. Highlight different flavors by subtly changing the label design. The trick here is to create a logo that can sustain all these changes. Your best bet is to go with a typography-based logo because the type holds its place well when all the other graphics around it are constantly being refreshed.
Look at both these examples.
Both are type-based logos that remain distinct, legible, and totally in sync with the rest of the design, no matter how it changes.
How subtle or obvious you want the design differences to be is up to you. Both Country Cider and Henderson’s have gone for big changes. Speaking of Country Cider, apart from the logo and a single font style for the entire label, no two details are the same. From the background imagery to how the label is cut out to reflect different fruits, everything on this label is unique.
But label design changes with Henderson’s are even more prominent. The brand has gone all out with its metallic, discotheque look, with intricately detailed design. Every flavor is represented with a unique font, foil color, and the style of the graphics. For example, the toffee flavor is mostly typography while the elderflower uses a shield design to differentiate itself. Spiced cider is a kind of a mix of both with a text ribbon underneath the flavor name.
But each of these labels is unique. They tell you everything you want to know about the product inside
Usually, the back of the label is reserved for technical details that not many people give a second thought to. Retailers and designers follow their lead and not much happens in that space.
But, as a creative designer who understands the value of the prime real estate that’s a product’s label, you’ll want to use every inch of it. That’s what Serpent Cider designers have done.
The entire label, from front to back, tells a story. The story of the local legend Ogopogo, a lake monster that lives in the depths of Okanagan Lake (British Columbia). By using a local legend as their hero on the label, the Canadian cider brand helped people see it as someone who belongs – someone who’s part of the local tribe and inside stories.
The fact that the designers have done a supreme job of designing this monster with such raw beauty is just the cherry on the cake.
But the key message from this topic is singular: do not forget the back. Use the entirety of your label.
Use it to tell a story, share a joke, solve a puzzle, change the world, whatever you want. Just don’t let it go to waste.
So far, we have discussed labels that have a lot going on in terms of design. But cider labels can also be minimal. Illustrations help you achieve designs that can pack a lot of meaning without weighing your label down with details overload.
Brands such as Opre and Shout Brewery have chosen simplicity for their labels so there’s nothing distracting anyone from the brand message. With Shout Brewery, the strategy pays off every dime back. It’s visceral, straightforward, and totally what you’d expect from a cider brand that targets the club scene demographic.
The illustrative design of the Opre label is much more restrained, comparatively. But effective, nonetheless. The hand on the label alludes to the expert craftsmanship that goes into making this local cider plus to the twist-off cap, too, that doesn’t need a bottle opener, just your hands.
To differentiate your cider brand as it sits with others on the shelves, simple, clean illustrations that amplify the brand message often do the job.
Again, when everyone is doing elaborate (or otherwise) graphics, focusing on a singular aspect of design can turn things in your favor. Example: typography.
The Hogan’s brand has a very perky, fun, casual vibe to it. Adding intricate graphics does not work with the overall vibe the brand represents. Solution: funky, upbeat, and folksy typography. It not only keeps the label clean off all the extra stuff but helps enhance the curiosity the brand wants to project with its dark bottles.
The dark bottles are a part of the overall brand strategy. The brand message is to encourage people’s curiosity about proper ciders. With opaque glass bottles, you can’t assume anything about the taste or flavor unless you take the first sip. Also, there are no symbols or graphics giving anything away. It’s just words and some quirky type to lure you to try their cider.
Some pretty badass cider labeling, if you ask me.
We’ve done folksy, we’ve done elaborate, we’ve done visceral. How about we end things on a simple, chic, very-stylish note?
Presenting to you, cider labels by Lillevik Alpine Cider. The entire label is just a single line art graphic, the brand name/logo in a corner, while the name of the flavor underlines the whole thing. It’s pretty low-key, compared to everything we’ve discussed so far. But keeping in mind how unique the bottle shape is, the simplicity makes sense.
When you already have a branding element that separates you from most of the crowd, the classiest way you can achieve that is not to pile more on it. Let that one striking feature become the hero of your branding – the thing that people remember your brand for. Adding more distinctive features to it can reduce its power. That’s why a very subtle, sophisticated, yet fashionable label works here.
The global cider market is currently experiencing a huge explosion. Everyone loves cider and wants to see what else the manufacturers can bring to the market. With such growing competition comes a colossal weight of brand expectations: everyone wants to get as big a slice of this growing pie as possible.
As a label designer, there’s something you can do to help the budding cider makers. Since the majority of the purchase decisions are still based on visuals, try to create as compelling cider labels as you can. Out-label the competition with your creativity and finesse. And it is our hope that this post helps you in your lofty endeavors.
Till we meet again. Keep designing.
Nina Hoffman is a graphic designer and artist with over 5 years of experience in branding, visual design, stationery design, and label design for local businesses in USA. Her favorite part about designing is colors. She loves playing with colors and bringing lines and shapes to life with vibrant color fills.