“I strive for two things in design: simplicity and clarity. Great design is born of those two things.” – Lindon Leader
Eins, zwei, drei, g’suffa! Yes, it’s a German’s favorite time of the year: it is time for Oktoberfest. So bust out that lederhosen, grab a pretzel and get ready for some fun. This year marks the 185th Oktoberfest held annually in Munich, Germany. Oktoberfest runs from September 22 to October 7 and is the largest beer festival in the world. This 16 to 18 day festival hosts more than six million visitors from around the world and those visitors consume over seven million liters of beer.
All of the beers consumed at Oktoberfest come from six Bavarian breweries that strictly follow the Bavarian Purity Requirements, one of the oldest laws decreed by Duke William IV in 1516. Only water, hops and barley should be used to brew Bavarian beer. The beer can be found in fourteen different tents, six big tents and eight small tents. Each tent has beer and different offerings. For example, the Münchner Knödelei tent is known for their Bavarian dumplings.
Now that you are familiarized with all things Oktoberfest, let’s get to the design part of this blog. The six Munich breweries at Oktoberfest have the most interesting beer labels compared to what we find here in the United States. These Bavarian beer labels have ornate typefaces, lots of gold foil and vivid illustrations. Grab a stein, make yourself comfortable and let’s see some beautiful packaging from our friends celebrating in Munich.
Founded in 1328, it is the oldest Munich brewery. The label for Augustiner’s Oktoberfest Bier is very detailed and the illustrations are quite beautiful. The color pallet is vibrant and the German style blackletter typeface paired with the festive serif typeface. They are showing us a very detailed scene from Oktoberfest 1926 in the illustration.
Founded in 1417 and grew to the leading Munich brewery in the 18th century. Your eyes are instantly drawn to the label for Hacker-Pschorr’s Oktoberfest Marzen. The gold foil on the label and the very Bavarian white and blue colors made this label stand out. The icons at the top and the German style blackletter type are amazing. The illustration shows us another Oktoberfest scene with words on a scroll that translates to “heaven of the Bavarians.”
Founded in 1589 and is one the most important touristic attractions in Munich. Hofbräu’s Oktoberfestbier’s label feels very rich and royal, using lots of warm golden colors with a bright royal blue. The label feels very symmetrical, and the choice of the serif typeface over the traditional blackletter/gothic typefaces is refreshing. The illustration shows us a scene from Oktoberfest and the festivities at the Hofbräu tent. These illustrations are quite detailed for such a small beer label.
Founded in 1883 and known for the lion in the logo. Löwenbräu’s Oktoberfestbier’s label is what you would expect from a truly Bavarian brewer. The colors used are blue, white and gold, there is a blonde, blue-eyed beer maid on the center of the label, and they use traditional blackletter on an elegant ribbon. This label just screams Oktoberfest.
Founded in 1634 in the Paulaner monastery. Paulaner’s Oktoberfest Wiesn’s label has a more modern feel to it. They still use traditional colors but it’s a darker version. The illustration on the label has three plump men enjoying their beers at Oktoberfest. Paulaner’s Oktoberfest Wiesn label doesn’t use a traditional blackletter typeface. Instead, they pair a serif with a script.
Founded in 1397 and known for the spade and initials in the logo. Spaten’s Oktoberfest’s label feels very Bavarian with the festive colors and the golden wheat illustrations. Their label is the only one that has English words and a modern san-serif typeface. With a nice mix of old and new, it is nice to see that they didn’t update the classic illustration of the spade in their logo.