The fine art of wine labelling

London consultancy Finlayson Design was an ideal choice to design the branding for a new range of South African wines for the UK market.

Carolyn Finlayson, herself the daughter of a South African vintner, had worked briefly for wine-maker Graham Knox before leaving the country to train as a designer. When Knox’s Savanna estate landed a deal with Laurent-Perrier (UK) to export a range of four still wines to the UK, he asked her to come up with the brand identity, name, packaging and launch material.

The colourful result reflects Finlayson’s South African background in its prominent use of designs by artists from the Cape-based Simunye Arts Foundation, which works with the local disadvantaged and unemployed.

Named Intaba after the Xhosa word for mountain, the wine range combines these four African images with contemporary graphics to appeal to the upmarket restaurant sector.

‘The design had to hold two sets of vital (but potentially disparate) values in positive tension. Intaba is on the one hand “new South African”, innovative, different and contemporary and on the other, familiar, rooted in tradition and authentic,’ says Finlayson.

Finlayson Design maximised the potential of the bottle neck by using the paintings as decorative collars. Narrow horizontal extracts from the collar image are used as strips on labels for the backs of the bottles, where they are combined with information in Bell Gothic type. The front labels carry the Intaba logo in a Fuse font adapted by Finlayson Design.

Intaba is currently being marketed to the on-trade and will be arriving at London restaurants from the end of February, including The Fence in London’s Clerkenwell, which will also be exhibiting the original paintings. Back in South Africa, the Intaba branding project will be used in promotions by the Simunye Arts Foundation to show commercial application of its artists’ work.

Client: Laurent-Perrier (UK) and Graham Knox

Designer: Finlayson Design

Latest articles