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Types of Beer

Foamy fonts, lager letters and ice-cold iconography




Effective logo design is often an exercise in reduction, stripping graphic elements to their simplest (and most quickly recognized) forms. But, within the discipline of logo design, there exists a niche particularly resistant to this philosophy: the beer label.

Beer label and beer can designs usually comprise attractive headline fonts paired with colorful graphic elements, such as a fearsome lion or a regal stag. The best designs are very intricate, with detailed illustrations and very complex, custom-made typographic elements.

Beer can decoration has more in common with billboard and sign design than it does with its more streamlined logotype cousins.

When I was a kid, beer can collecting was popular and my collection introduced me to hundreds of beautiful labels. Designs from all over the world, encompassing many decades, influenced the way I judged good design. The more intricate the can, the better the beer inside must be, I imagined.

I can trace my interest in typography, and ultimately my love for signs, all the way back to the beer can labels pictured here. 

And intricate beer can design continues. The recent growth of the craft beer segment has ushered in a new golden age.


Though digital technology and current typographic trends have updated the way beer can designs are created, the basic principles underlying these designs have pretty much remained intact. The designs of these cans are from the ’60s and ’70s, but many of them would still look at home among today’s best designs.

Given the choice between a bold, colorful can with an engaging graphic, or a more drab and generic offering in a cooler full of ice, which would you choose?



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