5 Keys On How To Create An Award-winning Beverage Design.

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Create an Award-Winning Beverage Design

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The beverage industry makes up some of the most eye-catching designs. They’re like flagships for eye appeal; everyone wants one when it’s in the impulse-buy section. And, as expected, there are plenty of award opportunities and prestige for the beverage label design category. 

Earth-shattering designs are not always possible (sometimes, clients don’t want that), but you can incorporate good taste and judgment across all design concepts. And while they might not wind up leading to instant accolades and immense riches, they can lead to improved purchase intent on retail shelves.

This article explores five ways to make your drink designs stand out. You will learn what separates the winners from the lowers in the beverage market. We also include real design examples on store shelves, featuring strong drink branding and the most important purchase drivers.

Here are the 5-keys to award-winning beverage packaging designs.

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Make It a Talking Point

A dazzling beverage label design will cause deep and enthusiastic conversations among strangers in the grocery store aisle. “Look at that fantastic label,” they’ll say. “I will immediately purchase this Jammin’ Goji Coolada for its inevitable undoubtedly praiseworthy ‘coolin” and ‘not from concentrate’ properties.”

All right, maybe no such conversation will ever occur (except in Jammin’ Goji Coolada corporate conference rooms). Still, a beverage label design that invariably wins awards will cause the consumer (and design award adjudicators) to discuss its unusual and interesting structure and color scheme.

One also must consider the wording of the label for maximum discussion ability. Labels using eye-catching phrases and amusing word patterns will spark consumer interest. If you can make a customer chuckle, you can make a customer buy. Ask any car salesperson.

While brand identity is essential, beverage labeling must give consumers more to sip on. 

Make It Distinct

We’ve repeated this time and time (and we admit, this is far easier said than successfully done), but a label must stand out from its competitors on the shelf. Swing that pendulum in the opposite direction. If the graphic design on a sports drink pack goes for a super-sporty EXTREEEEEME aesthetic, take a different approach. Try a clean, elegant label or an old-timey “Uncle Hank’s Energizing Tonic Elixir – Good for What Ails You!” look.

Then again, you could always go for an even more exotic label design, like using other senses.

Make It Eco Friendly

Everyone loves environmental responsibility; ensure that your label (and your product) observes the standard sustainability protocol for your particular category. Using recycled materials, natural inks, and paper made of corn will endear you to a nature-appreciating public.

Remember, nobody wants to sip something dirty. Any beverage product (even those in the sports nutrition industry) must appear clean, even if sustainability isn’t yet a consumer concern.

Make It Delicious

The most important feature your beverage label could have (which is why we put it fourth on this list) is the ability to make the product seem delicious. We can achieve this by placing “delicious” somewhere on the label, but many consumers view that as a shortcut.

Descriptions of the natural ingredients are always interesting, as are graphics of the ingredients, provided we derive the flavors from nature. If the marketing team came up with names like “White Blast,” “Typhoon,” or “Power Punch,” we would not lie; deliciousness would be significantly harder to achieve.

If the beverage is fruit-derived juice or an iced tea, play up the crisp and refreshing aspects of the product and the nutritional benefits. Comfort is key for iced coffees, flavored milks, yogurt drinks, or other creamy beverages. Naturally, we must highlight the nutritional benefits or healthful ingredients (I.E., calcium, tofu, and active cultures).

Make It Sexy

Not every beverage label can or should be “sexy” (infant formula immediately springs to mind). Still, for beverages for an adult palate, it’s crucial to give the label alluring lines, graphics, and colors if you will have any appeal. The sex aspect should be subtle; gratuitous cheesecake graphics are only desperate and misguided, although they’ll probably be pretty effective talking points.

We can’t promise you immediate recognition and boundless glory, but we can promise you that award-winning beverage labels have incorporated most, if not all, of the above qualities. When designing a beverage label, it’s necessary to consider the type of label that would cause you, personally, to buy that drink. 

Examples Of Winning Beverage Designs

Let’s look at designs within different CPG categories and see how they leverage these 5-keys to unlock shelf success.

Responsibly Rain

Responsibly Rain Label Design

Plastic bottles are still the predominant seller of bottled water, but attempting to compete in the commoditized plastic bottle market is a bad idea. We see many start-ups entering with glass or aluminum bottles. The easy low-hanging opportunity for marketing is promoting a sustainable design, but how do you stand out when everyone uses the same purchase driver?

Responsibly, Rain’s decision to integrate a raindrop into the recycle logo and place it front and center was strategically smart. CPG brands should note this water bottle design in how they leave plenty of breathing room, allowing us to understand their message.

TreeTop Fruit + Water

TreeTop Fruit + Water Packaging Design

Millennial consumers raising little ones are more aware of juice products and the sugary nonsense they contain. They hope to find a healthier beverage option kids will love. A package design needs to bring excitement to children.

We worked with TreeTop to create a design for their Fruit+Water juice pouch that outperformed the competition with parents and children. The result was 18% greater purchase intent than CapriSun and a 22% increase in preference compared to Honest Kids.

Bizzy Cold Brew Coffee

Bizzy Cold Brew Coffee Bottle Design

Not every consumer is looking to pay a premium for better coffee. Many consumers are looking for a premium product at a fair price. A strategy for this type of product is to attack premium without looking overly costly. An aesthetic that balances premium with price removes consumer’s fear of the product being “too good to be true.”

That’s precisely what Bizzy Cold Brew has accomplished with their coffee packaging design. Without looking bizzy, they place organic in two locations, and the font style matches their caffeinated name. It’s what health-conscious consumers want at a price they can afford.

Energy Drink Label

Alani Nu Coffee Bottle Design

As contrarians to the coffee connoisseur, consumers of energy drinks want more fun from their daily stimulant habit. So when considering how to approach the energy drink label design, boring is out of the question. As a brand known for its relaxed vibe, Alani Nu creates a fun-loving feeling with its electric tie-dye flavor. 

Functional Beverage Label

OCA Energy Bottle Design

Functional specialty beverages are all the craze and for a good reason. If you drink something for taste, you might as well have a good effect for your body. With plant-based continuing to be a ranking purchase driver, OCA leverages this in their natural energy drink. 

USDA organic and plant-based sit side by side, and the brand logo using plant-created words is a supporting element. A great example of how your design can reinforce your messaging. 

Consumer Testing For Beverage Label Designs

Just because a label looks good doesn’t mean it performs well. Just look at the wine bottle section at discount stores. The discounters are littered with beautiful wine label designs, each with its brand expression on the wine label. If you want to perform against the most formidable competitors, you will need more than an artistic look to turn potential customers into actual buyers.

Beverage Packaging Design Agency

Are you a beverage brand looking to create a product label that outperforms the competition? From design to print, we assist CPG brands with brand strategy, packaging design, and consumer testing. Our beverage label designers start with concept designs, which we present in simulated buying experiences with real consumers.

The result is a packaging design that brands and retailers trust to perform on-shelf. Book a time to discuss your project with our team.

The Only Agency To Guarantee A Retail Performance Lift.

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