Designing Beer Labels: Colors and Special Printing Capabilities

The right splash of color or an eye-catching feature can be the key to a successful beer label. Of course, the challenge for a designer is to try and figure out which colors or features make the most sense for the product. Whether you’re trying to decide on the right colors or a special printing capability, here’s what you need to consider.

Choose the Right Color

It’s no surprise that color is arguably the most important factor for a beer bottle label design. Labels are largely a visual medium, so the right color palette can be the difference between your bottle standing out to passing customers or just sitting on the shelf. There are a few factors that play into this decision.


A product’s brand may dictate many of your color decisions. Breweries must find a balance between maintaining a recognizable brand across all their different products and giving each product a unique look. That may mean finding new ways to use a very specific color palette or adding in or swapping out new colors to create a specific look without sacrificing on recognizability.


The right color choices can do more than just pop out to the passing customer; they can help convey a certain personality or feel for your label. Entrepreneur cites that “90 percent of snap judgments made about products can be based on color alone” for some products. There’s a certain psychology to which color or colors you choose, which includes:

  • Red – Passionate, bold, playful
  • Orange – Energetic, invigorating, enthusiastic
  • Yellow – Joyful, optimistic, highly visible
  • Green – Nurturing, safe, strongly associated with different factors (money, nature, etc.)
  • Blue – Trustworthy, serious, confident
  • Purple – Creative, successful, wise
  • Pink – Youthful, loving, feminine
  • Brown – Reliable, rugged, masculine
  • White – Clean, pure, innocent
  • Grey – Mature, accessible, versatile
  • Black – Authoritative, luxurious, elegant

When deciding which colors to use, think about what personality you want to capture which allows you to use your design to help tell a story to potential customers. If you’re designing a label for a classy, more expensive beer, blacks and golds would make sense, whereas a light, fun summer beer would be better suited in reds and yellows.

Colorful beer bottle showcasing color psychology for beer labels.

Text Legibility

While you select a color combination, it’s important to make sure that your chosen colors will work for any text present on the label. A dark-on-dark or light-on-light combination can make the fine print difficult to read. That can be especially problematic for any text that’s legally required, such as the alcohol by volume.

Use the Right Color Model

As a designer, it’s imperative that you choose the right colors for your design. It’s also crucial to use a color model that’s viable for printing. RGB is meant for use on screens and other light-emitting surfaces. CMYK and the Pantone Matching System (PMS) both work with ink, which makes them viable options for printing beer bottle label designs.

Your printing partner’s color capabilities also play a major factor in what colors you can or can’t choose. Certain printing companies may not be able to recreate every color you want to use, which is a huge issue when it’s time to print. For example, Blue Label uses state-of-the-art HP Indigo digital printing presses that use the four CMYK colors and additional hues to 98 percent on Pantone colors. Other printers may only use CMYK or not have the technology to match as many Pantone colors. Make sure to work with your printing company to ensure that they can provide you with the color process labels you have in mind. It’s always helpful if you can provide your printer with the Pantone colors you’d like to match. If they are aware of your end goal, it can make the color matching process much easier.

Embossing and hot foil stamping for beer bottle and can labels

Consider Special Printing Capabilities

Color is a huge part of a beer label design, but it’s not the only show-stopping feature you can use. There are special printing capabilities that can help enhance or protect your design. These include:

Embossing and hot foil stamping both allow you to add a new dimension to your label designs. Embossing creates a raised area on the finished label, giving it a unique feel in addition to a more three-dimensional look. Hot foil stamping presses special materials (metalized foils or films) onto your finished labels, adding metallic, gloss pigment, matte pigment, special effects, and holographic foils that give you additional tools for your design. Finally, UV coating protects your labels from fading, which means your carefully-crafted design will stay intact over time.

Find A Printing Company That Can Accommodate Your Design

No designer wants to hear that a printing company can’t match a color or doesn’t offer a capability that’s a key part of your design. Blue Label has invested in top-of-the-line HP Indigo printing technology to help you turn your design into a fully-formed beer bottle label. Contact us today to talk to one of our experts about printing your labels.