Recently I attended a conference for designers and marketers to discuss design trends and tendencies in the world of wine.
The wine market is saturated so being visible and different is vital if a wine is to succeed. Each wine label has to tell a story that is authentic, unique, visually desirable that together stimulate a reaction on a space that measures on average 15cm x 10cm. A complex task.
Most producers focus too much of their time, energy and resources on the wine. That may seem a strange thing to say but if you think about it is just as important to give the consumer a reason to pick the bottle up for the first time.
How can this be done? Top design teams have to understand all aspects of each process from the how the grapes are grown to how the wine is made and also how the bottles and paper are made. Thoroughly researching the market is also essential. This knowledge is the basis on which to build a story.
I was amazed at how the visual impact can be enhanced by the use of different typography paper, which may not be that surprising given that conference was organised by Avery’s, who make paper for labels. The range of papers with visual effects is vast. One label I looked at had five different colours of white which gave the effect of depth, texture, tone and opulence.
Design teams then look at what is unique about the wine in terms of people, location, local history and climate, For example a label designed by Mario de Paolo of Spazio Dipaolo from Italy, for a wine called Palmetto Constanzo from Mount Etna in Sicily has a colour and texture of the volcanic soil from the vineyards where the grapes were grown.
A good story has many elements. If the winery has a long heritage, such as Marques de Caceres Rioja Gran Reserva, this has to stand out on the label which can be done using colours, textures and very importantly different typographies. Nowadays, many of the most well known traditional wineries are investing time and money to the story on the label.
In this age of ‘Instagram’ a strong visual impact has never been more important, if you want to reach new consumers. On display was a wine called Machoman from Bodega Casarojo in Jumilla. The image is of a big, bald, man with tattoos. It is a caricature of the owner who is also the winemaker. The name suggests that that the wine is big and powerful. Once you see the label you don’t forget it, the wine is very good indeed, which will would make you want to share it with others. By the way, when you meet him he is just like the image!
At the end of the day I asked Ivan Bell of Stranger&Stranger, a leading design company from the UK, how long it take his team to design a label. He replied that the minimum was three to six months, which, if you think about it, it is similar to the time it takes from bud burst to harvesting grapes. It takes time to ripen grapes just like it takes time to create the story behind the wine.