Beer Brand Messaging Through Type Hierarchy

*Phew* that headline’s a doozy. Let’s loosen our tie a bit here.

Almost everything you do is delivering a message and it is up to the receiver to understand what you are conveying. When it comes to a brewery, promoting your brand and beer offerings that message usually shows up on labels, websites, Instagram posts, posters, sell sheets, and much more. I want to dig into the idea of how that message is conveyed with the formatting and style of your fonts and typography. Something so fundamental can deliver a lot of tone and impact to your customer.

We’re all so used to reading advertisements, articles, emails, and other text that the idea of hierarchy is probably not even a normal consideration. When you stop and take a look at how you format your type to represent a brand and deliver a message, there can be a lot to it! I’m sure if you have created a flyer, poster, promotional graphic, you’ve had to consider the hierarchy and formatting of your type. If it is done well, your customers may not immediately pickup on this hierarchy, but should be left with a certain feeling of your brand or brand message. Certainly, they should understand your message with clearly and without a second thought.

Let’s take a look at all the various ways to break down the impact of type hierarchy.


Hopefully when you look at this, you get the feeling of premium quality and substance. The “premium quality” plays the main focus not only in size, but also with the use of a more fanciful font. That is then backed up with a bold “barrel aged” that supports the premium quality focus and makes sure the reader associates those two things together. Having the barrel aged in such bold lettering also lets the reader know that it is of importance. The use of script style lettering for the “saison with peaches” plays off the flow and swirl of liquid beer, old style handwritten lettering, and nowadays is associated with premium/quality/established/vintage. Last but not least is the sort of humble brag delivery of the “GABF gold medal winner.” This is treated as a sort of supporting role, but supporting the overall message. With that idea, the GABF messaging is a bit lighter and spaced a bit above.


You can see how we start to lose the desired tone and readability with this bad example of style and hierarchy. All of the lines are of similar size, so not one line of text stands out as the most important. Your eye doesn’t really know where to go, or in what order. The use of so many serif fonts in the first three lines does not create rhythm or clear differentiation between the lines.


Overall Hierarchy

With the use of spacing, sizing, and choice of fonts, we create a clear hierarchy of three elements or messages.


Hierarchy by Scale

One of the easiest ways to create hierarchy is by the use of scale. Even if you use the same font for all text (which can blend together) you can greatly impact the importance of hierarchy by adjusting the size of various text.


Hierarchy by Weight

Pretty easy one to understand. Something more bold demands more attention and represents importance while something lighter can play the background and be supportive.


Hierarchy by Rhythm

*ba-dum-tshh* Typography has a rhythm that is represented by all of the ideas of typography and hierarchy. The size and spacing, plus weight and style all create a visual rhythm. If that rhythm is off beat and doesn’t create a nice melody or pattern, then your reader is going to struggle making it through your messaging.


Hierarchy by Font Style

The pairing of serif and sans serif is one of importance when creating layouts. It also is another easy go-to when trying to create hierarchy and differentiation. Try to stay consistent with the style of fonts you choose (or using your brand fonts!) but you might also vary the use of serif, sans serif, or script style type to deliver a better message.


Hierarchy by Aesthetic

The way a font is designed can create a feeling on its own. Textured, etched, shadow, heavy, light, swirly, geometric. Over time, many of these style fonts have been associated with certain eras of time, or with certain styles and products.…wow! That was a lot to consider around 4 lines of text containing 11 words.

I hope that this helps shed some light on how important fonts, formatting, and hierarchy can be for creating a strong brand and brand messaging!