Wine & Design: The Art of Labels

June 9, 2015 | by Todd Pierce

I want to start of by stating that I am not a wine drinker, nor could I tell you the difference between a Cabernet and a Pinot. (I just know they are both red wines.) However, I often find myself buying wine for either a party, a gift or just because I was asked to pick up a bottle on the way home from work.

What’s the big deal? Purchasing wine seems like a pretty simple concept, right? Wrong. When I stroll up and down that aisle, I’m not at ease. I’m overwhelmed. Have you seen the wine aisle at your local grocer? It’s insane. It’s not just red and white anymore. No. It’s full, dark, fruit, oak, this name, that name, etc. Now that I think about it, it’s more reminiscent of a department store rather than aisle. Bottom line: That’s a lot to take in when you have no idea what you’re supposed to take out.

Wine Bottles

So how do I choose? Seeing that I’m clearly not a wine expert, I rely solely on the bottle’s label design. I’m not saying this is a great or wise decision, but it’s a decision. And if it weren’t for wine labels, I would have no process to follow and, therefore, no wine.

As a designer, I appreciate the artwork I see from shelf to shelf. I find myself perusing and picking based on the label that speaks to me the most. Some days I am intrigued by the simpler, cleaner designs and other times it’s the more exciting, bold labels I’m drawn toward. One thing I have noticed is that the cleaner the label, the more expensive the bottle ends up being. This is probably because people tend to associate simple, uncluttered designs with high-end sophisticated flavors. Thus, more expensive labels have single-color backgrounds with a simple logo, while the more eccentric, colorful labels are usually reserved for the less expensive wines. For me this is a win-win, not only do I get to look at some really amazing designs, I don’t have to bleed my wallet dry when heading to the register. Now if I could only find a way to limit the amount of time spent just looking at said labels.

Here are some of the labels that have swayed me in the past and could potentially be on future purchasing lists. Maybe they will intrigue you as well:

Wine Labels wine-blog-02 wine-blog-03 wine-blog-04 wine-blog-06

So the next time you find yourself struggling to pick a bottle of wine, try to do what I do: let the label be your guide. It may not end up being the best bottle of wine you’ve ever tasted, but you will likely be entertained by the all the colorful and interesting designs competing for your attention.

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