I have had the chance to work with some amazing people in the beverage industry. One of the most talented people I have met is Paul Morstad… the artist who created the artwork for the majority of the brand’s visual identity and wine labels for the hatch, in West Kelowna, BC. Paul is one of those people who sees the world through a different lens, with a view that you wish you could catch just a glimpse of, if only for a moment. A small sample of things Paul loves are banjos, painting on vintage maps, history, and birds. His work makes me think of the following quote:
“What we learn with pleasure we never forget.” – Alfred Mercier
Cool Fact: Paul’s sister Julie is also a highly accomplished artist. In fact, I had her book “Milk Teeth” years before I ever had the opportunity to work with Paul. Her skills are equally impressive, with a flair for the unique. See her work here: http://www.juliemorstad.com/
I love being inspired by artists like Paul, as his style of creation can bridge many mediums. Working with his art to help tell stories in the BC wine industry was a crazy adventure, as layers of story were peeled away revealing years of history and connection. I hope you will check out his work on the many different labels at the hatch, and listen to some of the stories about why the art is so important to the winery. Of course the art doesn’t stop on the outside of the bottle… the wine has been racking up awards since before the winery doors open, thanks largely in part to Jason Parkes and his Jason Parkes Customs crew.
So buy some wine, check out some art, and listen to some wild stories that connect it all together. Both Paul and his sister Julie are true gems of the BC art scene, and are also well worth exploring. You can see Paul’s work over at his website here: http://www.paulmorstad.com/
In early 2014, I was given the opportunity to work on a very exciting project with Terrabella Wineries. A brand revitalization for an Okanagan winery, on the beginning of the Naramata Bench. Perseus Winery in Penticton BC was building a reputation for making great BC wine, including a number of award winning vintages in some classic BC varietals. However, they were suffering from a self-proclaimed identity crisis. The winery was only a few years old under the name of Perseus, but it had already gone through a number of visual identities, as well as ownership and management teams. Management felt this was causing confusion and inconsistency in the market, which was reflected in overall brand awareness. So it was time for a change, and time to help solidify the image as well as the the brand.
The existing version of the Perseus label, by Townhall Brands, was quite beautiful. A striking blue night sky highlighted by a field of bright white stars, portraying the Perseus constellation. The typeface used for the brand was a Roman inspired type, creating a Mediterranean bridge between the label typography and the Greek heritage of the Perseus name. Embossed on the front of the label, it looked clean, beautiful, and consistent in building a visual identity and name based on a constellation that can be seen here in BC.
The perceived value of a product can mean the difference between taking a bottle home and leaving it on the shelf.
So what was the problem? While the label itself was beautiful, the entire line of wines that Perseus was producing used nearly identical versions of the same label. From the entry level white wines, all the way through the top end big reds. This was most apparent in the use of this label on their flagship red wine, a Bourdeaux style red blend named ‘Invictus’. The primary issue we saw was that the buyer did not have clear visual cues that helped to relate the value differences between the entry level wines and the ‘Select Lots’, beyond a small line of red type on the front label. To a buyer, the perceived value of a product can mean the difference between taking a bottle home and leaving it on the shelf.
Perseus Winery needed to increase their shelf presence.
So there it was… Perseus needed to increase their shelf presence on their main line of wines, and create a stronger identity for their ‘Select Lots’ wines as well as their flagship ‘Invictus’.
The main constellation imagery for the brand was strong, so there was no need to move away from that on the label. The typeface however needed an update. While stylistically it was inline with the created brand story, Perseus management wanted a new font that would help give the label that stronger shelf presence it was searching for. So, we transitioned to a bold version of a more classically styled serif font. This new font was actually designed for showcasing beautiful print, and it offered more impact and legibility for the updated labels. The logo was also updated from the name and a single star to a more flag style version using the main constellation they were becoming recognized for, along with the name in the new font.
Once the labels were finalized, we needed to begin creating visual cues to show the increased value in the ‘Select Lots’ wines, while keeping the visual identity consistent with the constellation labels. We explored many concepts and eventually ended up moving away from the paper labels to a new screen printed design. For this, we pulled the imprint of the stars out of the brand graphic, and created an emblem for the ‘Select Lots’. The emblem border and the stars were all screen printed in silver metallic foil. Custom corks were designed with the winery name in the new font, and a new design was created using silver for the foil capsules as well. As many of these wines were going to be sold in restaurants, thought was put into how these bottles would be viewed in all instances, including lying down in a wine rack where all you can see is the top of the bottle. ‘Select Lots’ screen printed bottle designs were completed for Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as a new red blend named ‘Eclipse’. The emblem was also used on all new custom glassware.
Perseus now had clear separation between the different tiers of wines in their portfolio.
Next up was a new design for ‘Invictus’, the flagship red blend for Perseus. With the same goals of setting this wine apart visually from the entry level wines, it now also needed to be visually elevated above the ‘Select Lots’ wines. After exploring a number of different concepts, we decided on a gold screen printed design of the constellation from the main Perseus branding. The constellation was expanded and wrapped the entire bottle, enticing a buyer to pick the bottle up and interact with it by turning the bottle around. The front of the bottle displayed the name, vintage, and the BC VQA note, with the constellation located in the bottom right, and the love story, wine blend, and legal information was on the back. We finished off the package with a custom printed Perseus cork and a custom printed black foil capsule with gold printing, along with branded wine boxes using the same emblem as the ‘Select Lots’ wines. Magnums and double-magnums were also produced, with the double-magnum tops being hand waxed in gold wax in place of the foil capsules.
Perseus now had clear separation between the different tiers of wines in their portfolio. The design for Perseus ‘Invictus’ also won a Bronze medal in the Label Design category at the 2015 San Francisco International Wine Competition. This was a fun and interesting project to work on. Watch for them in stores and buy Perseus wines online to support the BC wine industry.