In the competitive wine market in Argentina the need to communicate concepts through the label design is essential. On the shelves, labels have to capture the consumers’ attention and, what is more, seduce and convince.
Argentine wine is known throughout the world by its high quality. However, twenty-five years ago, the local market was very different and so was the social recognition inside Argentina. Nowadays there are many kinds of consumers, and a wide variety of price ranges, from entry-level to ultra-premium wines for the most exigent drinkers.
In order to have a better understanding about the changes that the market has suffered lately, it is important to know about its history. Wine is part of the Argentine culture and has always been present when family and friends get together. Twenty years ago choosing a bottle of wine was a simple task, as there were only red or white wine, and big bottles of 5L (known as damajuanas) were very popular. At that time, wine was usually diluted with sparkling water, so the quality of the product was not very important for most consumers.
The market has evolved remarkably in the last few years when a wide diversity of varietals, such as Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay wines were launched. This segment is well established and today it is stronger than the classic red and white wine. When wine became fashionable, traditional consumers learnt more about wine tasting. Moreover, there was a massive interest in wine from new consumers that were more open to new varieties.
The graphic style of the Argentine wine labels has always been influenced by the heritage of the Old world wines, coming from European tradition. The presence of classic typography and sober designs is their most remarkable characteristic. The traditional and conservative style has given way to a contemporary graphic language. In that sense, the Argentine wine market is rather conservative compared to other new world producers.
Consumers have become more selective and careful when choosing wine, thus the label message needs to be very clear and precise, since the graphic design conveys its values. Nevertheless, if a label design seems more expensive that its actual price, it could be considered deceitful. It happens exactly the same when a wine is more expensive than what its label communicates.
In the cases when a brand does not have a story, it is needed to create a BrandStory. That means to create a story conceived to fulfil the brand strategic objectives. Having defined the BrandStory, the next step is to find the most suitable concept and graphic universe that will help to tell that story. Design is the one that will translate graphically what the brand wants to convey. Every detail needs to be conscientiously thought; typography, colour, paper texture, metallic foils, gloss spot and emboss. Every design element must be applied to make a bold and strong brand statement and to achieve shelf impact.
Bodega Privada means "Private Cellar" in Spanish. In this case we were inspired by the idea that these wines are part of a private collection. A kind of club that keeps its secrets locked away. To enter the cellar, the consumer should find the appropriate key. In each label all keys are orientated to the right or left, but there is always one that is in the opposite direction. Its textured paper contrasts with the relief and brightness of the shinny gloss spot lacquer, highlighting the artwork of the twelve keys that were specially designed for the collection. In every label the keys are combined in a different way. This supports the idea that each wine varietal is unique.
Ricordi is a tribute to the founder of the RPB winery. He was an Italian immigrant, who arrived in Argentina with little more than his dreams, and thanks to his vision, founded a thriving business. The label design should be both emotional and respectful. Italian stamps transport us back to the times when postcards were the only way to be in contact with relatives who remained in their home country. The engravings represent the high quality craftsmanship of the wines and the signature highlights the personality of the founder. The textured paper conveys a warm and nostalgic feeling too.
When creating the brand identity and label design for "Callejón del Crimen" (Crime Alley) Tridimage´s challenge consisted of conveying the particular attributes of the brand. For the "Evidencia" (Evidence) line, a fingerprint in silver ink becomes a subtle reference of the brand`s mysterious story, based on real facts that have taken place near the vineyards. For the ultra-premium "Misterio" (Mistery) line a chiaroscuro communicates the brand story.
Wine labels are not only elegant logos and nice graphics. Wine brands are built on their values and on the way their consumers feel connected with them. This is why it is so important to define an own BrandStory, a concept that defines the product. This is the key for the brand development, to make it be authentic and stand out among the others. The absence of concepts leads to a generic label, a graphic template with no personality, without direction. It is not possible to design a wine with personality, without having a clear idea of the brand message to convey.
About Guillermo Dufranc
Guillermo Dufranc is Graphic Design Coordinator at Tridimage, a leading Latin American Branding and Structural & Graphic Package Design agency based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Since 1995 Tridimage has been helping shape world-class brands by working close to their clients on award winning design solutions.