Michael provides so much more than deep design and production experience – he also has superb marketing intuition and savvy. As for Michael's palate, well, that's going to take some work...
Ben and Gaye are veterans of the Washington wine movement and masters at producing beautiful Bordeaux style wines from Red Mountain. Unpretentious, they look only to make high-quality products meeting exceptionally strict tasting and aging profiles, and their brand needed to reflect their unassuming approach toward winemaking.
Their first decade saw an expansion of their product lines, increasingly high regard among serious wine aficionados and critics, and the planting, harvest, and pressing of grapes from their own vineyard. This first release of their Cara Mia Vineyard wines seemed the right time to retool their packaging and began with the development of a new mark. Rebranding the company then extended to letterpress business materials, wine list communications and eventually trickled down to winery related products (like bike jackets for Team Cadence).
The second decade earned consistently stellar scores and a broader reach of loyalists, looking for long-term cellared wines. All of the labels were fine-tuned to form more cohesive sets — reserves in white with the Cadence scroll deeply embossed, the vineyard wines in the traditional blue/black scheme, and Coda in a wraparound label with 10pt letterpress characters completing the message.
Before developing a common motif to build the company's brand around, we took a clinical look at their history, projections of where they'd like to be in 5-10 years, their relationship with wine media and loyal customers, and most importantly, themes close to the owners. Ben and Gaye are musical (huge fans of Classical) and crazy about biking, the visual metaphors we played with tended to revolve around strings, instrumentation, motion (playing off a literal 'cadence'). We finally resolved on a violin scroll as the best visual representation, and metaphorically appropriate since it's the tuning part of the instrument (plus it's beautiful).
Packaging retail products are similar to designing posters, each label conveys an immediate graphic impression and then has to impart varying pieces of hierarchical information. The goal is always to keep visual emotions running high and close to the company message while having text and secondary graphic elements support that initial visual pop and fill in the technical side.