Abbey Creek Vineyard and Winery is a family owned business that originally sold their grapes to other wineries before the current proprietor Bertony Faustin created their first label in 2008. Started by his Haitian immigrant parents, Bertony’s family continues to put their heart and soul into the entire process of creating wine.
I thought Abbey Creek’s current wine labels had a nice, simple design. Though they had an air of luxury, the bottles were far from eye-catching. I took the family-owned aspect into consideration as I brainstormed new ideas for bottle designs. I wanted to capture the homegrown, northwest spirit of Abbey Creek. I tried to explore this direction in some of my early sketches.
I liked the concept of using the label as a map that wrapped around the bottle, forming a river down the side and tried to explore it in different ways. After some critique from my classmates and some quick work in Illustrator, I made a prototype label to wrap around a bottle and see how it looked.
The river looked good wrapped around a bottle, but I wanted to make it look more natural. The original idea of having the Abbey and Creek split across the river wasn’t reading well, so I moved it over to one side. I found a typeface that was very similar and matched the spirit of my theme. I opted to remove the circular logo after some thought. As a student project, I had this luxury. It was my belief that the name “Abbey Creek” stacked on the bottle side was recognizable to returning customers.
I worked further on the map illustration in Photoshop. If I’d had more time, I would have done the label by hand using watercolors. But with my time constraints, I knew I could create a natural effect using the right brushes and texture. I was also able to use layers to place the text and other elements, as well as the cutout shape over as I worked, so I would know where to leave or fill space. I painted a watercolor wash on a medium roughness paper to create a rough look without sacrificing legibility.
Then it was time to add all the elements and move them as necessary. I made a few tweaks to the Photoshop paint file as I did this, so the art wouldn’t obscure anything. Once it was complete, I had the labels cut using a laser cutter and glued them onto the bottles I had chosen for it. The excellent product photography was done by my friend Ollie, though much Photoshop tweaking had to be done to remove fingerprints and white around the edges from the laser cut being off slightly. It seems obvious now, but were I to do this project again, I would have given the file a good amount of bleed so that wouldn’t happen.
I have fond thoughts looking back at this project. It was my first package design assignment that I really enjoyed and it made me realize that there was much you could do with package design if you flex your creative muscles!