Design: Studio AS-CC
Location: United Kingdom
Project Type: Produced
Client: DEFY
Product Launch Location: United Kingdom
Packaging Contents: Organic wine
Packaging Substrate / Materials: Aluminium cans, paper labels, cardboard boxes
Printing Process: Litho print on labels, digital print on boxes

DEFY is a startup, challenger UK wine brand that produces organic Italian wine, in Italy and then packages it in the UK to sell to the UK market. DEFY was introduced to STUDIO AS-CC by a mutual friend to help with a full rebrand after they had developed a new branding strategy around their purpose, vision and consumer audience.

What is important was the cans themselves. They are packaging the wine in 250ml slimline cans and we knew these needed to be able to stand alone on the shelf, next to other drinks, and still stand out. Not only that, but we, and Leslie (owner and operator of DEFY) wanted a strong design aesthetic to be reflected in the work. He really wanted to have something which people would be proud to have it shown off in their homes. Since Leslie is launching DEFY both direct to consumer as well as through other stores and wholesalers, the can is the one constant. Also, part of DEFY’s ethos is being direct, honest and straightforward. Removing all the snobbery and obfuscation around wine to deliver a delicious, high-quality drink in a convenient way.

What was important to all of us is that we didn’t shy away from the cans. We are not trying to hide them. We have designed cans before, and if you are not going to print on the cans, you have roughly two options; sticky wrap-around labels or fully-encased shrink sleeves. The shrink sleeves have a lot of issues with quality on application and also the tactile experience; they can feel ‘plasticky’. So that left us with the wrap around labels.

So with the wrap around labels what people try to do is cover up as much of the cans as they are able to. But this is obvious, and we wanted to lean into it and celebrate it a bit more. So we decided on a partial-height label. Which, if you look at it, is kinda a nod to traditional wine labels.

Leslie worked with us and with his printer and was able to source paper from a company which makes Italian wine bottle labels. This has a really high-end, beautiful feel to it when you get one in your hands.

One of the other important pieces to this is the mark we came up with for DEFY. Well, there are actually two, the first and the word arch, but the fist is what we think creates that dynamic, slightly rebellious tension. Because DEFY is straightforward and honest, no fuss around it, the label needed to reflect that and so did the fonts we used. On top of that the tasting notes Leslie wrote for his organic white wine were so perfectly short and to the point; ‘TART’, that it automatically creates a minimalism and almost sparseness of the label. Having the fist mark helps to bring that tension back into the brand in a subtle way, while still giving a direct nod to the contents of the can; wine.

The last piece was the shipping box for the online direct to consumer sales. Leslie decided on 4-packs so we worked on a standard-sized ecomm mailer. We also put all the printing on the inside of the box. It was important, after Leslie had done some research, that we did not talk about the contents anywhere on the outside to reduce the chances of theft in transit.

This obscurity around the contents, regarding packaging led us to design the last piece, the branded take. For this we went with extra-wide paper-based tape in the primary colour of the can label. We used a repeating pattern of the brand name ‘DEFY’ and the fist icon. Still reinforcing brand recognition but not mentioning the contents of the box. Also, the way it is applied to the box is another nod to the off-set can label.