Why Packaging Design is so Important for a Wine’s Brand Identity
The Importance of Packaging Design in Forming a Brand
From the casks, wine can be packaged in several different ways, such as glass bottles, cans, or boxes. The package in which a wine is sold is more than just a container, but it’s also part of the brand identity, and can greatly influence the perception of the beverage inside.
The most popular packaging solution is still the traditional wine bottle and label combination.
Like the container, the label also serves as both a functional and marketing tool. The label should not only present relevant information about the wine, but also give it a historical and personal context. It should be visually appealing and make the bottle stand out from the rest of the competition on the wine shelf.
There are many different customer journeys that lead an individual to purchase a certain wine. For a more seasoned oenologist, it might be through word of mouth. To a wine enthusiast, it may involve some more research in order to decide which wine is the best investment. However, for the majority of consumers, this decision is made while shopping based on the information they can gather from the label and its image.
To choose a wine, most people will consider the name or brand, the packaging, the grape varieties and the price. Usually, the criteria that people use to analyze these factors, and that will ultimately lead to the purchase, is level of familiarity. This familiarity may be because the name rings a bell, because the brand was recommended, because they recognize the region, or simply because one of the visual elements caught their eye and sparked their curiosity.
The Wine Label: The Heart of the Packaging Design
Packaging design is a key element to forming a visual brand identity. And, for wines bottled in traditional glass bottles, the label is perhaps the most important element of the packaging design.
The style, color scheme and the imagery used on wine labels can vary a lot between price points and can greatly influence the purchase of a less experienced wine consumer.
We tend to equate the use of illustrative and organic imagery with lower-priced wine, whilst higher-end wines rely more on typographic and elegant ornamental labels.
When it comes to the use of color, black and navy are popular choices with high-end wines, to reinforce the idea of a premium brand. Gold accents are prevalent through all price points, although more so with premium brands, whereas vibrant colors over light backgrounds tend to be more associated with lighter wines, usually targeted at a younger or a more inexperienced audience.
The treatment and placement of type can also affect how the consumer perceives the wine. Serif fonts tend to appeal to a more conservative consumer and are used by more mature and established brands. Sans Serif fonts are linked to a more youthful and modern image, appealing to a younger and more experimental audience.
The History of Wine Branding
The wine label started as a bit of parchment paper tied with string around the bottle’s neck. Later, a wine’s region could be identified through the carvings on the bottle’s pewter stand. In 1798, lithography was invented, allowing for the mass printing of wine labels – which also brought winemakers the possibility of customizing their wine’s visual identity. As winemakers became prouder of the quality of their wines, creating the perfect label to show it off became a necessity. Elaborate designs and the use of color became increasingly popular.
Historical Wine Brands with Noteworthy Branding
One of the most sought after, prized, collected, and prestigious wine brands of all time is Mouton Rothschild.
The long-standing tradition of the extraordinary quality of the wine was surpassed only by the early marketing techniques used to promote the brand, applied by the founder’s great-grandson, Baron Philippe de Rothschild.
In the 1920’s, selling wines with beautiful labels was one of many ambitious marketing tactics employed by Philippe de Rothschild to propel and modernize his family’s winery.
Philippe hired only the most important artists of their time to create original designs to enhance the marketability of the wines by making them more exclusive and desirable. This became a permanent tradition of the winery in 1946, and it has only been broken a few times ever since for special commemorations.
The Versailles Celebration collection that sold for a total of $2.7 million across 3 auctions.
Image source: Decanter.com
Since 1974 certain Vietti wines have been decorated with exclusively designed original works – lithographs, xylographies, etchings, silkscreens, etc. – inspired by the wine of a particular vintage.
The print run is the same as the number of bottles produced, and the first hundred labels are signed by the artist responsible for those labels. Each work is only used once, just for the wine of that vintage.
Image Source: Openingabottle.com
Another very successful branding story is the one of Mateus Rosé. The creation of Mateus Rosé goes back to 1942, when Fernando van Zeller Guedes created and launched this entirely new concept – a wine with a strong personality and unique taste, presented in an unconventional bottle.
This unusual bottle was inspired by the hipflasks used by soldiers in the First World War, with a peculiar shape that stood out in a row of tall bottles. The label, elegant and innovative for the period, was an ode to its rich Portuguese background.
Mateus Rosé’s popularity peaked in the 60s and 70’s, when even Elizabeth the Queen of England and Jimi Hendrix enjoyed having this wine available in all the parties they went to.
Image Source: Mateusrose.com