Only a few decades ago, a common belief was that the more contemporary the design of the label, the more mediocre the quality of the wine inside. The legendary luxury wines of Europe remained faithful to the centuries-old tradition of featuring labels with ornate script lettering, fine line engravings of chateaus, gold foil borders and corks sealed and stamped with red wax. Only upstart nouveau wineries in places like California ignored proper wine labeling etiquette by hiring graphic designers to come up with something colorful and stylish.
But perceptions have changed. Fine wines are being sold in supermarkets, online and even Costco. Wines from around the world compete for consumer attention and shelf space. The assumption that bottles with traditional labels contain better wine no longer has validity. Wine packaging and labels are projecting unique brand personalities, and not shying away from presenting a look that is bold and innovative.
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The covers of most university catalogs typically show photos of the campus or students lounging around the quad, or just present a plain typographic title. The covers for the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Extension catalog are an exception to the norm. Since 1990, they have featured the works of several of the world’s best-known graphic designers, beginning with Paul Rand.
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“Enough with the typography already!” My complaint to Kit is that every other story he wants to post in @Issue has to do with type. So, I’m writing this somewhat under duress.
“Humor me,” Kit says.
But the truth is that perhaps more than any time in history, the average person on the street is acutely aware of the differences in typefaces. Thanks to the computer, we can pick the digital font that suits our mood and voice. As a culture, we have become type snobs, sneering at Comic Sans, forming snap opinions about people who make Arial their default font, arguing over whether Helvetica is deserving of its popularity, and ridiculing some faces as “so last century.”
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JWT Brazil let the distinguishing flavors of Caipiroska, the Brazilian drink that is popular worldwide, lead it to the solution for the packaging of Smirnoff’s new beverage. It wrapped each bottle with the texture of the fruit flavor (lime, passion fruit and strawberry) inside and used a diagonal perforation to let customers peel away the outer “skin”. For a select mailing list, JWT even sent packaged Smirnoff Caipiroska sets in wooden produce crates.
The Smirnoff packaging is in the vanguard of integrating textures into print. Today more designers are utilizing the amazing capabilities of dimensional printing and Adobe software to create raster-textured images. No longer do viewers have to imagine the tactile quality of an object, they can actually feel it by running their fingers across a printed sheet. It’s not just movies that are embracing 3-D; the print medium is too.
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Probably more people know what a microbiologist does than what graphic designers do. Undoubtedly your aunt and grandma – and possibly even your mother – don’t have a clue. They’ll look at a printed piece and praise the photography, the illustrations, the writing and sometimes even the feel of the paper, but they aren’t quite sure what role the designer played in this. That’s why we are grateful to the Design Council UK for producing a video that succinctly explains what graphic design is and what graphic designers do. We recommend that you forward it to every member of your family especially just before a holiday gathering, and perhaps selectively to a few clients.