I recently read an article where they claimed that the world was running out of wine. Bulshit.
Besides, if this happens by any chance, we are doomed. Portugal has a huge production and investment on wine and wine-related products, not to mention international buyers and investments.
While talking with a friend on that same day, she told me that wine design was actually a “real thing”.
I was intrigued, to say the least. I mean, I know that labels are designed by professionals, but I always thought that they were graphic designers and not necessarily specialists in “wine label design”.
So, I decided to dig a little deeper and found out what is a wine designer and what it takes to design a great wine label.
What is a wine designer?
To be fair, I’m not sure if they are called wine designers, but since there are new terms every day, let’s stick to this one for now.
A wine designer is not necessarily someone who likes to drink wine or any kind of alcoholic drink. However, in order to succeed, he must be an expert on this particular subject and be willing to research a lot.
Besides being skilled in typography, storytelling techniques, illustration, and packaging, he also needs to know everything about the wine industry.
He has to be on top of legal requirements in different countries, the history, dynamics of the market and be comfortable with the specific language and terminology. Eventually, we would benefit from doing a professional course about wine and spirits, which apparently, he can here.
All things considered, you have to be a very good designer but with an emphasis on a particular product. You will have to learn about choosing the right bottle, how to apply labels, how to set up artwork properly and how to choose the right paper according to the environment and branding context.
If you learn all of these things, then you will be on the right track to becoming a wine designer.
What does it take to make a great wine design label?
First, like in any other product, you have to consider the audience. Design something that will spark curiosity, continuity or tradition but keep in mind that it’s impossible to please everybody. Stand out from the competitors and guarantee that the consumer gets the message and keeps getting back to buy more.
Secondly, take advantage of technology and production costs. If you have a nice budget, consider adding some tactile experience with 3D like effects.
If you don’t have a big budget, you can always think of something interactive like ripping, writing or reading. The important thing is, even though you have to incorporate fundamental elements (like name, production, etc), it doesn’t mean that it has to be boring.
Thirdly, focus on the main, central image. People spend more time looking and analyzing images than on the rest of the label. Push boundaries and create a story that people can relate to or want to be a part of.
In conclusion, wine design looks like a very challenging but also very interesting career path in design. It takes a lot of learning but it might be very rewarding to see those bottles coming out of the shelve into someone’s home.
Also, if you like to drink wine, you have an opportunity to tell your friends and family that you have to drink. You now have the “It’s part of the job!” argument. Enjoy!