Carling brings back the Black Label

BrandOpus has redesigned the beer brand’s packaging with a graphic black label device to the fore

Carling packaging Brand Opus
Carling packaging by Brand Opus

If you’re a British lager drinker you will already have some pretty strong associations with Carling as a brand. Older readers will no doubt recall the days of “I bet he drinks Carling Black Label” and the brilliant advertising that went with it.

For younger ones, perhaps it’s the association with football that is more immediate. Or the ‘It’s good but it’s not Carling” line? I suspect you will struggle to recall any of “Dylan and Jon’s latest antics in their pursuit of the refreshingly perfect pint of Carling” which forms the current campaign though.

Previous Carling can design by Echo, 2011
Previous Carling can design by Echo, 2011

It’s always been an unpretentious, ‘pint of lager please’ choice – and now it’s had a refresh, courtesy of BrandOpus.

The new packaging restores the Black Label – this time as a slanted black rectangle with a peel-back corner in red. A new uppercase typeface has angled crossbars on the A and G (presumably to link to the black label above) in a kind of pseudo-stencil style. The different angles of the A and the label device will no doubt infuriate many CR readers though.


Gone is the crest (a reference to the brand’s origins in Burton) and the strange script typeface in which the word ‘lager’ was previously inscribed. Unlike, say, Guinness, Carling, perhaps, feels that the authentic, heritage language of such devices is no longer an important element for its drinkers.

Overall the new look is pleasingly strong, contemporary and graphic and fits with the prevailing trend toward cleanliness in drinks packaging that we have noted before.


One of Carling’s most significant relationships is with the English Premier League. Carling even has a Carling Premier sub-brand that carries the Premier League branding created by Design Studio last year.

The Premier League logo sits much more happily within this new Carling identity than the old one, which makes you wonder if there was any consideration of that in the design.

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