Labels, Packaging and Design

Label Design Guide for Cideries

Cider Label Design Guide 

There’s one key reason cider makes tremendous annual strides in the alcoholic beverage industry: in an increasingly wellness-oriented marketplace, it represents a healthier alternative.  

Once claiming a fairly miniscule share of the market, cider’s growth is steady at an annual 4%, with many forecasters declaring it the “next big thing”. To capitalize on this growth, creating labels that reflect what attracts consumers to cider is essential.  

 And what attracts them? According to Mintel, cider releases in recent years outperform beer on key measures like taste and refreshment. Also, its reputation as a “natural” alcoholic beverage gives it an edge.  

cider label design bottles on concrete infront of vehicle

So, how can cideries keep confirmed fans coming, while attracting more mainstream drinkers to the delights of a delicious, refreshing, beneficial cider? Creating the right label is a tremendously important part of the equation. How is it done?  

As the labels and packaging partner of several cidery clients and a member of the Northwest Cider Association, we have answers. We’ve thought carefully about how to make more strategic branding and manufacturing choices when it comes to making cider labels. And now we’re happy to share what we’ve learned. Here’s our step-by-step process for designing an undeniably effective label for your cider brand.  

cider label design can with blue background

First, what are the labeling requirements?  

Of course, there are some choices that have already been made for you. As with all other products, there is key information you are legally bound to include on the label. By starting with this information, you can be sure your final design will work within the required parameters.  

Here are the essentials:  

  1. Brand name
  2. Class (e.g., hard cider) and any type of designation
  3. Alcohol content (e.g., 7% alcohol content)
  4. Name and address of the company that bottled it
  5. Net content
  6. Ingredient, nutrition, and allergen listings
  7. Various declarations
  8. A government health warning statement

Second, what cider label trends are out there right now?  

Next, the fun part: design. As with any creative process, inspiration is essential. Bearing in mind that taste, refreshment, and status as the “healthier alternative” are cider’s key benefits, what trends best capture them?    

Here’s what’s going on in the world of cider design:  

Heritage Aesthetics  

Research shows that consumers highly value heritage when it comes to alcoholic beverages and cider is no exception. Even more than beer, cider is associated with old-fashioned, wholesome traditions, and oftentimes labels reflect that, with vintage illustrations and traditional fonts.  

Clever Sub-Branding 

Differentiating flavours and approaches in a line of cider is all in the design. Labels can highlight the varietals they offer by keeping branding consistent but changing just one element. For example, you can use different colours for different flavours but otherwise, keep the label identical.  

Emphasize the Natural  

Cider’s competitive advantage is in its perceived “naturalness”. That’s why designs that emphasize nature make so much sense. Think romantic illustrations of orchards, or visuals that highlight the timeless appeal of a well-shaped apple.  

Surface finishes 

As with other sectors of the alcoholic beverage industry, surface finishes can give your label compelling tactile qualities. Gloss, embossing, hot foil stamping, and matte all offer different ways to give dimensionality and intrigue to your label, driving sales.  

Bold Colours 

A pop of bold, bright colour on a cider label triggers the same delight as a perfect red apple hanging in a leafy tree. Cider label design that explores the potential of colour is attention-getting and easy to appreciate. Cider drinkers love the freshness of the beverage—evoke that quality with clever use of colour.   

Third, how do you create a functional label that applies well?  

You’ve got the required information laid out. You’ve got a design that hits all the marks in terms of consumer interest. Now, you have to ensure that your label is going to be functional (e.g., adhere well to your bottle or can). It’s an important stage to execute well, and here’s what you have to consider.   

Material choice is key  

Most cider labels are printed on uncoated paper or types of plastic. That’s because condensation could otherwise damage them. Matte paper on bottles is also an option but plan this approach carefully with your printer.  

Get the right applicator for the job 

Using the right applicator makes all the difference in the world when it comes to the look of your cider labels. Consult with your printer to make the right choice. Are you using a custom-shaped label? Is it full wrap? There are actually a surprising number of factors to consider.  

cider label design bottle on wood overlooking scenery

A few final words of advice  

What’s your story? 

This goes for all products: your story should be the foundation of your brand. And what do we mean by “story”? This could mean the literal story of how and why your cider came to be. It’s also a set of values (e.g., “return to tradition”) that can be expressed through imagery, word choice, materials, you name it. Why should people connect emotionally with your cider brand and how can your label deliver that connection?  

Encourage collaboration between designers and printers  

The best, most functional labels are created when designers and printers are working together closely and early on in the process. By facilitating collaboration between these key players, you’ll make better choices at every phase. Get the most out of your investment!  

Questions? We don’t blame you! This cider label design guide is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to planning a truly outstanding cider label. Please reach out to us if you want to learn more, or if you have specific ideas you’d like to bounce off of an industry professional. We appreciate the creativity and dynamism of the cider industry, and we love nothing more than talking to the leaders who are pushing it forward.

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