the Labelmaker

Sofia, Bulgaria,

Design: the Labelmaker
Print: Daga Printing House
Location: United States
Project Type: Produced
Client: Stratsin Winery
Product Launch Location: Global
Packaging Contents: Wine
Packaging Substrate / Materials: Glass bottle
Printing Process: Foil stamping, high build varnish, soft touch lamination

The Project
Picky Magpie is a brand new project for Stratsin Winery. I had already designed two of their wine ranges – Soulmates and Early Birds. This one was positioned below them in price so we were looking for more colorful, emotional and attractive wine label design. I was also commissioned to create a catchy name for this new-born brand. It was a challenging request because we’d already had huge success with my previous designs for Stratsin and now I was about to create something very appealing without competing with winery’s existing brands.

The Name
Name creation is probably one of the most complicated processes in my work. I love doing it but I often feel kind of confused before I get started. Like many other cases in my career we were starting here from the scratch. I was thinking of different stories and situations related to my friends of Stratsin – nice people that I know well and I remembered that when we first met one of their winemakers told me that they pay really lots of attention to their vineyards and grapes. And this is how the funny story about the magpie bird picking the best grape came out. I first wanted to call it ‘Tricky Magpie’ but then I decided to use the name ‘Picky Magpie’ because magpies are very smart birds and they pick only the best for themselves. This is exactly what in Stratsin do – they keep only the best grapes for their amazing wines. In short Picky Magpie is kind of jolly allegory of Stratsin’s philosophy for wine-growing and wine-making.

The Label
As I mentioned in the beginning I was aiming at more colorful, joyful and appealing design. I did not want to look simple but somehow easy and catchy. I first started with the label shape – I did not want to stuck to traditional rectangular shape. I drew a smooth oval curve with my mouse and then refined it an made it very soft and pleasant. I also wanted to use very bright solid background different for each of the wines – that was the easy part of the process. I pick very attractive saturated colors. Then came the bird – I studied dozens of birds photos before I took my iPad and did first sketches. Magpies have very specific behavior when they are on ground. They also use very specific postures – something that I knew for many years but realized it after I finished my study. So I took one of these specific postures and drew my bird the way I wanted it. It came out almost from the first attempt with minimum need for retouch.

When I finished the bird I placed it in my wine label design and added a single grape in its beak – the golden one!

The Result
Picky Magpie wine label was born from inspiration, colors and an interesting story. In my work I tried to get some intricate details by using some special print features. First I started with the soft-touch finish. It made the whole surface of the label very smooth and you really get some pleasant feeling when you touch it with your fingertips. This special finish distracts the reflected light and becomes perfect background for the solid gold oval I used at the center of my design. It shines even more in this environment. Another great advantage is the raised varnish I used on the bird – unlike the matt background this high gloss varnish reflects the light in every direction producing amazing glittering effect on the magpie.

As a result I think I found the harmony between design and print embellishments creating very attractive and unique look for this new-born wine brand. When you see it on the shelf it grabs your attention from a distance and then when you take the bottle in your hands you discover plenty of interesting details and materials that are so appealing that you actually would buy this wine and taste what’s inside the bottle.