Fine Vines & Great Grapes

A sneak peak into the early process of designing a new brand

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Recently I was asked to work on the branding for a proposed new international e-commerce website selling wine. The brief was extremely open, with just a loose guide to the type of consumer that the site would be aimed at.

Brief: Consumers purchasing from the site would be working professionals, with some wine knowledge, and aged between 30 and 55. The site is aimed at mid-high level earners who have disposable income to spend on specific bottles (as opposed to bulk or discount purchases). The site must be high-end, modern and clean. [… additional details omitted.]

An open brief might sound attractive, but in reality it makes for a much harder job pinning down your brand. With an open horizon of possibilities it’s often easy to feel a bit overwhelmed. To make matters worse, a business name had not been decided upon – I’d have to use placeholders or suggest my own ideas.

The project itself sadly did not get off the ground, but I thought it might be fun to take a look at the initial logo concepts I was working on.

Note: I have of course omitted the research, competitor analysis and other work that goes in to the creative process of building a new brand, just so we can focus on the early logo drafts.

Concept 1

I started with some simple sketches that I digitised and cleaned up. At this stage, of course, all fonts and colours are purely arbitrary.

wine-logo-01

The name ‘Barrel, Bottle and Cork’ did not resonate well with everyone who saw it – it is a bit overlong and wordy. However I picked it because the old-fashioned triple-barrel felt authoritative and assured. When recommending wine on a high-end site the users need to trust your judgement – and if they they’re spending money it’s unlikely they’d buy if your name was ‘Plonk’ or ‘Glug’ or ‘Slurp’.

wine-logo-02

I felt that the hand drawn style had some mileage – here we see it with a quirky font and grainy texture to give it that boutique-y bespoke feel.

Concept 2

I created a couple of more geometric shapes for the second set of concepts as a counterpoint to the hand drawn style used before. The grungey style made another appearance with a faded ‘stamp’ type motif.

wine-logo-03

‘Most Drinkable’ is a bit more unusual as a name but I think it had promise.

wine-logo-04

Concept 3

With wine you have an abundance of imagery to work with – bottles, barrels, glasses and grapes being chief among them. Grapes were particularly fun to work with – as you can see with these next two:

wine-logo-05

I added a little shading into the grapes themselves which I think, along with the strong purple, makes for a memorable impression. Not quite as sure about the fonts, however.

wine-logo-06

Concept 4

Painstakingly hand-drawn, this set of logos were probably my favourite. I returned to the triple-barrel name (mainly to complement the illustration), and drew these partly by hand before digitising them and carefully editing them to adjust line thicknesses and position. I tried full colour, but felt the greyscale added to the boutique quality I was looking for.

wine-logo-07

A little spot colour helped lift the logo a touch – but any more looked like overkill.

wine-logo-08


 

The next phase of this branding process would be to elicit client feedback on the above concepts – mainly looking at style and general feel (over things like wording, fonts and colours). This initial logo presentation is normally accompanied with notes on the suitability of a logo mark and its use across different mediums (print, stationery, and so on).

Creating a successful brand can be a long process with difficult decisions along the way. I believe any one of these marks could be selected as a potential starting point but would undergo many more revisions before being selected as a chosen logo for the company. The logo is of course only one step – colour palettes, fonts, style setters and stationery all form vital parts of a final brand identity.