Wine Brands: the History behind the Label

Aug 30, 2019 | Uncategorized

Wine Brands: the History behind the Label

The required Symbiosis between Brand and Designer

Materializing a client’s vision into a graphic creation that pleases the client, a creation that is not only visually pleasing but also able to clearly communicate what the client and the brand want to communicate – that’s a challenge that every designer will often face in their professional life.  

Collaboration and cooperation methods are developed in order to simplify and streamline this process, but the balance and proper functioning of this work relationship mainly rests on clear communication between client and designer. 

In fact, communication is what’s really at the heart of the matter: the client communicates their ideas and history regarding the wine to the designer, the designer finds a way to translate that history into a wine label that not only communicates the wine’s historical context to the consumer but that is also able to form a connection with them, and on top of that also answers any questions they might have about the wine they are planning to purchase.  


Tyto Alba

Companhia das Lezírias is one of the greatest and longest-running agrobusinesses in Portugal, it was founded in 1836 in the Santarém district.  

Despite having numerous businesses within the agriculture and livestock industries, it has also assumed an educational and conservationist role as an institution. It frequently collaborates with universities and other conservationist initiatives focusing on the Portuguese fauna and flora found on the Companhia das Lezírias territory. 

 One of these projects is called TytoTagus, a project set on studying and preserving a particular species of owl with a declining population: the Barn Owl. Not only were efforts made to analyse these birds’ behaviours and assure they had all the necessary conditions to reproduce, a symbiotic relationship between these majestic nocturnal birds and the Companhia das Lezirias also flourished.  

Companhia takes in and looks after the owls, the owls in return protect the wine crops from pests and plagues in a sustainable and environmentally safe way.  

This was the story we chose to tell, both with the concept behind it and the name given to the wine: Tyto Alba.  

To create the stylized and mysterious image for this wine, similar to the Barn Owl, we based our design on one of its most striking features – the heart-shaped frame around its face, with its contrasting gold and white.  

The wooden boxes where the wines are kept are inspired by the nesting boxes used in this conservation project – and they can be used for the same purpose once they are done transporting wine.  

This way, the symbiosis between Companhia das Lezírias, their vineyards and the barn owl is reflected on the branding and packaging of the Tyto Alba wine. 



Álvaro Martinho, born and raised in Covas do Douro, became involved in the winery business of the Douro region very early on. In 1997 he was part of a team of agronomists responsible for modernizing and streamlining the viticulture of one of the most emblematic brands in this sector – A Real Companhia Velha. 

His wine patrimony is in Cumieira, made almost entirely of ancient vineyards with an excellent location. 

Maquia is the name of one of his wines – this word means profit or pay. Its production is extremely limited, and it reflects the unique character of this terroir wonderfully. An extremely smooth and elegant wine, that could only come from one of the oldest and most famous vineyards in the Douro region. An entire life fully committed to wine, elevating it at his own expense. 

 For such a genuine and sumptuous wine, made with such dedication and the commitment of a true veteran of Douro’s wine production, the wine label had to translate that uniqueness and closeness, both to Álvaro Martinho and nature. 

We used the texture of the vine leaf, and we gave this tactile attribute to the paper used in the wine label to reinforce the connection between the wine, its nature, its origins and history. The typographic work is sober, with reddish metallic nuances so the intensity of the words written on the label isn’t lost. 

Cooperativa Vitivinícola da Ilha do Pico

The Cooperativa Vitivinícola da Ilha do Pico is formed by 250 wine producers that, as the name suggests, have their wineries in this Azores island – where you can also find the highest mountain in Portugal. This union has aided the Lajido vineyards in conquering a prestigious place in the wine industry again.  

These wines have a very distinct terroir; it’s uncommon to find a wine cultivated so close to the sea, but at the same time shielded from the harsh Atlantic winds by the volcano hillside it grows on – making the best of the unique soil conditions created by the volcano and the moderate sun exposure. 

 With this wine label we wanted to rekindle that sense of pride, the pride in joining forces and creating a brand of unique wines – a brand that carries within itself all the tradition and recognition of this island, which is also considered a Unesco World Heritage. 

Each one of these labels, on each one of these bottles, shall too carry the history of adversity and overcoming obstacles through working together. These wines shall carry with them the name and the image of Pico throughout the world.   

We translated this pride into and illustrated version of this great mountain surrounded by clouds, to better illustrate the peculiar origins of this wine.  [Quebra de Moldagem do Texto]Most bottles were accentuated by red detailing in the framing of the label and other elements, with the exception of the 10 year old D.O. Pico, where the white typography was placed directly over the dark, nearly opaque glass used for the bottle.

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