When it comes to consumer brands – Alcohol is one of the more congested. With so many choices, it can be challenging for a new brand to stand out. But one recently launched brand caught our attention here at GSM. Not because it was loud or brash – but quite the opposite. Sometimes things are best left in plain black & white.
If we go back to the 1990s and earlier—it was reasonably common to see designers working in one or two colours on print projects. This decision was usually driven by cost—black & white printing was cheaper than full-process CMYK. That is not to say that working with a reduced colour palette is less creative. In fact, it could almost be considered somewhat of an art form. But more recently, the proliferation and popularity of new print technologies, most notably the digital press, has seen limited colour printing somewhat relegated to the back burner. This brings us to Stappa—a superb example of limited-colour work where less really is more.
Wine without Pretence
Stappa was the brainchild of Melbourne-based winemaker Dan Henderson. The concept: to take Australian-grown grape varieties of the ‘lesser-known kind’— and make fantastic, accessible wine without the pretence. Stappa uses such grape varieties as Zibibbo—also called Muscat of Alexandria. This is an ancient vine that produces a sweet, uncomplicated white wine. And Tinta Amarela—a variety used mainly for making Port. But in this case used to create a beautiful, full-bodied red. The company produces two tiers of wine—Dog Town, a premium small batch offering—and a Standards range, selling at a lower price point and unabashedly reflecting current trends and tastes. Being so different was always going to push boundaries—especially in a sector as discerning as wine. Therefore, Stappa was pitched to appeal to a younger market which tends to be more open-minded in trying new things.
Grapes, Dirt & Gusto
Sydney-based Studio ChenChen created the brand and labelling. The brief was to develop a refreshing brand that celebrates a love for craft and quality —but does away with the dogma and pretence often associated with wine. The brand statement, ‘Grapes, Dirt and Gusto’—led the creative team to use charcoal, a material inherently tied to the earth, to create a suite of expressive illustrations as the basis for the brand. The team created these illustrations through a series of group drawing sessions (the sampling of product definitely enhanced their results).
The team developed the typography in several different executions—to be elegant, or playful, depending on the particulars of the individual product. And they designed the brand elements to work in one colour—black. The only addition to the black & white theme was a red band on the Dog Town range to reflect its more premium status.
Labels with Texture
Labelling specialist CCL undertook the print production. Personal friend of the winemaker and Account Manager at CCL’s Melbourne office, Dwayne Pawlak, worked in collaboration with the creative team. CCL digitally printed the labels on an HP6800. The labels also feature a high-built gloss plus embossing. They chose Ball & Doggett Wausau Bright White Felt as stock for the label for its texture, similar to watercolour paper, to enhance the premium feel of the product.
As a quirky twist, the team also produced a special edition ‘blank—sans-illustration’ label for the various launch events. So customers could draw their own masterpiece— a unique take on a unique brand.
GSM would like to thank Olivia Chen, Creative Director @Studio ChenChen (Sydney) + CCL (Melbourne) for their assistance in writing this article.