You Can Make Some Pretty Sweet Wrapping Paper With This Bottle of Mulled Wine By Buddy Creative


By: Bill McCool

For some folks, there’s nothing worse than stressing over what to buy someone for Christmas present, but that anxiety is compounded when they have to find the perfect gift for, say, 100 of their most-valued clients.

Well, if there’s one age-old adage we’ve learned over the years, it’s this — when in doubt, buy booze.

And that’s precisely what branding and design studio Buddy Creative have done going on 9 years now, but this year’s bottle of mulled wine is something truly festive as the wine label can also be used as a decorative stamp. We spoke with Creative Partner David Jones about their annual holiday gift of mulled wine — that spiced, heady brew the Scandinavians call Glögi.

Walk us through the design process that you went through for this project.

David Jones: Our approach to the ‘mulled wine’ project is always to produce something different to our previous year's designs, whilst still conveying a seasonal message to clients and friends. It’s always a challenge to create something different each year, and we work on a number of concepts that explore a variety of ideas and executions, always looking for an idea that gets everyone in the studio excited.

With this year's design, once we were happy with the concept, the real challenge was deciding the best way to achieve the desired results. We worked with FabLab Devon to trial the laser engraving process. Once we were happy with the result and knew that what we wanted was achievable, we contacted Kate Forrester, an illustrator, who was briefed to create the mulled wine inspired repeat pattern.

We added the neck label to include printing instructions, using foil blocking to emphasize the tactile nature of printing. The bottle was then wrapped in printed paper to show how the gift wrap would look once printed.


Do you give out mulled wine every year?

David Jones: Yes, we’re on our 9th year. It initially started as a good excuse to do some self-initiated drinks packaging that doubled up as a client gift. Each year we produce around 60-70 bottles that get sent primarily to clients as well as some industry friends.

What was one of the biggest goals you set out to achieve with the Mulled Wine packaging and how did you accomplish it?

David Jones: Our biggest goal is to create something that gets remembered (for the right reasons), a bottle that engages with the recipient and becomes a talking point. We feel we accomplished this by sending out a bottle that looks and feels different to anything they might have seen before.


What was the most challenging part of this project?

David Jones: It was challenging developing the initial idea so that it would print successfully once laser engraved. We created a few label prototypes which enabled us to get a better understanding of how our design would translate and work as a repeat pattern.


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?

David Jones: The interactive / secondary printing use of the label along with the tactile nature of the rubber.

Share one lesson that you learned while developing the finished product.

David Jones: The smell of burnt (laser engraved) rubber isn’t pleasant.


Bill McCool

Bill McCool is a freelance writer based out of Los Angeles. Though new to the world of design, he has always been a storyteller by trade and he seeks to inspire and cultivate a sense of awe with the work and artists he profiles. When he's not winning over his daughters with the art of the Dad joke, he is usually working on a pilot, watching the Phillies, or cooking an elaborate meal for his wife.

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