How The Details in This Beer Packaging Captured The Spirit of the Yunnan Province in China
In packaging design, sometimes it's all about the details. Wind Flower Snow Moon is a perfect example of how details in packaging can transport you to a time or place, and in this case, the place is the heart of the Yunnan province in Southwest China. We spoke with John Hughes, Creative Director at Design Bridge Singapore about how their design has captured the landscapes and heritage of Yunnan.
Walk us through the design process that you went through for this project.
John Hughes: Wind Flower Snow Moon is a premium, regional beer brewed and sold in the heart of the Yunnan province in southwest China. The brand was being repositioned as “The taste of Yunnan”, mainly to target domestic and international tourists, but the client felt that the original bottle label design, which was strongly Chinese typography-led, did not reflect this new positioning.
Working closely with members of our team familiar with the region, we came up with our creative idea, which is all about encapsulating the poetic Chinese idiom of the brand’s name - which describes the romantic natural landscape and culture in Yunnan, but also has a double meaning of a Casanova’s love for women - into a visual form.
During the development stage we delved into the world of Chinese calligraphy to seek out an expert to work alongside us, selecting a well-respected master who hails from Yunnan and whose style fit with our design aesthetic. Working closely with the calligrapher, our illustrator and client, our idea was brought to life.
What was one of the biggest goals you set out to achieve with Wind Flower Snow Moon packaging and how did you accomplish it?
John Hughes: The Yunnan province is scenic and culturally rich, and we wanted to capture the beauty and aesthetics of the region within our design.
Our inspiration initially came from Yunnan’s snow-capped mountains, its highlands blossoming with azaleas, and the beautiful reflection of the moon on the Erhai Lake. You’ll discover all 4 elements of the brand name in our new design - delicate snowflakes, abundant flower blossoms and wisps of wind, all within the silhouette of a full moon. These elements combine as a playful visual illusion, injecting a layer of discovery on pack.
We were also inspired by the indigo-dyed textiles of the area, and we decided to pay tribute to this special indigo colour in the design.
What was the most challenging part of this project?
John Hughes: Our biggest challenge was to successfully combine the many elements of the composition, as well as stay authentic to the region. To achieve this we worked as a very close-knit team, particularly when crafting the illustration to arrive at the perfect composition.
How did you express culture and a sense of place through the packaging design?
John Hughes: Everything about the design is rooted in the Yunnan province where the beer is brewed and sold, with each element carefully crafted to reflect this. The illustration, for example, references traditional Chinese watercolour paintings, and our collaboration with a master calligrapher from Yunnan injected an extra layer of local craft and artistry into the illustration.
If you could pick one aspect of the finished design that you like the most or feel especially proud of, what would it be and why?
John Hughes: This new design is a large step up from the previous design, and we managed to evoke a sense of playful discovery within the composition while still staying true to the aesthetics of the region.
The new Wind Flower Snow Moon packaging has received an amazing response from consumers and media, and it has had a positive impact on our client’s business, too. There has been an increased demand to distribute it outside of the Yunnan province, although due to its current small-scale production, it’s likely to stay in the region for the time being. Nonetheless we are still immensely proud of how far the brand has developed.
Share one lesson that you learned while developing the finished product.
John Hughes: This project had a very fast turnaround, which meant that it needed to be a truly collaborative effort between the client and us. We tapped into the client’s expertise and knowledge within the region, and in return we were given the freedom to create, making this project thoroughly enjoyable and, of course, a success for our client’s business.