Fine Vines & Great Grapes

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


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.


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’.


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.


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


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:


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.


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.


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



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.