Creating a custom wine label is a clever way to personalize the gift of wine. However, how do you get started creating a label and what should you consider?
- How does one come up with a great wine label concept?
- How does one go about making wine labels?
It doesn’t matter if you’re a design-newb or if you live on adobe cloud, designing your own custom wine labels isn’t easy. Why? Well, because a wine label is an emblem of your style as well as a tool to communicate what’s inside the bottle. Fortunately, we’ve come up with some clever ways to think about these problems.
Design Your Own Custom Wine Labels
As a wine expert who also happens to be an experienced designer (read: I’ve already made most of the mistakes in the book) perhaps you can benefit from the tips below. If there’s one thing I know about a great design it is that it starts with a great concept and you don’t have to be a designer to come up with that!
Where to Get Your Wine Label Ideas
For inspiration, the best place to start is to understand the 4 basic types of wine label designs and mimic or expand upon them.
Pick a Theme For Your Wine Label
Whether you are making a wine label for a wedding or as a corporate gift, a great way to get started is to identify your theme:
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- Classic: Think traditional, prestige, elegant, regal and dignified. Wine labels model traditional label styles.
- Fun & Silly: Think casual, laid back and valuing personal experience over prestige. Wine labels can be hand drawn, whimsical, and often include animals.
- Modern: Think state-of-the-art, advanced, other worldly and visionary. Modern wine labels play with negative space, typography, minimalism and focus on the materials on which they’re printed.
- Old Timey: Think handmade, natural materials, and honoring the past. Old timey designs use classic typography, illustrative designs, and vintage artisan techniques
Believe it or not, each of these themes pertains to a style of wine too!
Classic Wine Labels
Generally speaking, classic wine label designs are found on wines from classic wine growing regions. This includes Bordeaux and Burgundy, France; Piedmont, Italy; Rioja, Spain; and Napa, California. Expect wines from these regions to use traditional winemaking techniques including blending wines and aging them in oak.
Fun & Silly Wine Labels
This type of label is found most commonly in wine regions that cherish the act of drinking with friends just as much as the wine itself. These light-hearted labels can be found everywhere from Beaujolais and southern France to Australia. The label is often found on wines that taste fun and are easy to drink. This is a great option for affordable quaffing wines.
Modern Wine Labels
Spain and Australia lead the way with some of the most captivating modern wine labels in the world. Modern labels imply that the wine inside is a step away from tradition, perhaps the wine is a unique variety, like Mourvedre, or a unique style, such as Vin Gris.
Old Timey Wine Labels
A great example of an old timey wine label is a bottle of Madeira, which is hand stamped with ink. Old timey labels are found on wines to imply there is something handcrafted about the wine inside. Perhaps you can find a wine that is made by a small producer who bottles each wine by hand.
How to Personalize Your Wine Label
What’s your heritage? What are your power animals or favorite pets? Do you have a family crest or an old house in your family? The aforementioned questions are great places to start searching when designing a wedding wine label. The great thing about family crests or personal symbols for weddings is that you can combine both of your symbols to create a new bonded symbol to represent your marriage.
If you are making a custom wine label for a business or corporate event, you can look to the city, street or buildings where your business operates. Perhaps there’s a local landmark that manages to encapsulate what your business represents. Or maybe there will be some sort of motif around your office that you can pull an idea from, such as plants, shag carpeting, bicycles, or steel rivets. Try to resist just plopping your logo in the center.
Things to Include on Your Wine Label
Most wine labels include some important and useful facts about the wine on the front label. While you’ll be appending your own creativity to this, it’s a good idea to add the following useful tidbits:
- Your Wine’s Name and/or Dates
- Your Imaginary Wine Brand
- The Actual Variety or Wine Blend
- Credit to the actual winery, wine and vintage
How Big Should it Be?
Since you’ll be covering up someone else’s wine label, your label should be bigger. You can demo a label size by cutting out pieces of paper and placing them on the wine you choose to see if they’ll work.
- For ‘feminine’ wine bottles, go 4.25×3.25 inches or larger
- For ‘masculine’ wine bottles, go 3×5 inches or larger