Wine labels

This is to show some graphic design work I’ve done. My design work can vary enormously: whole rooms, murals, screens, chandeliers (which Graham makes, although the best chandelier he has made he designed himself, which I will post later), furniture ( ditto), letterheadings and wine labels. Whatever it is, after an initial meeting, I present a selection of drawings, and/or watercolours and a client chooses from them; or, they can have very definite ideas, and I, in my capacity as artist, have to realise them. This requires flexibility on my part: thus, in this instance, I regard myself as a tool. Sometimes they need to see an image first before discarding it, so I must not get too precious about my drawings.

About 12 years ago I was approached by a friend, a viticulteur, to design a label for her wine. Her story is fascinating enough, but ,” bref “ as they say here, she is a Norwegian lady, who lived in Paris, a (horse) showjumper by profession. She decided to give it all up when she realised she would not become top of her profession ( this shows her single-mindedness). She then took herself to viticulteur school, and emerged ready to run her own vineyard, which she has been doing ever since. She runs the whole business alone, pruning the vines by hand, then ( with help in this case) picks the grapes, again, by hand. The grapes are pressed in batches, the juice is stored and fermented in giant steel vats. She then decides the mix of grape, using her knowledge and fine tastebuds, to better enhance the flavour. Next she casks them up in oak barrels to lay for a couple of years, ( they have to be turned once a week). I hope I have got that all in the correct order. Then they are bottled and labelled, which is where I come to the end of my long convoluted explanation of how I came to design the label.

You would not think so, but I did many , many sketches, until this the final and simple label. The result was this:


K enlarged

Two years ago she approached me again to design another label. This time her idea was to theme butterflies, the brief was for a sketchy butterfly or butterflies, single or many, not decided; colour: ivory background, so just a need to see some drawings. It was not urgent, and I cannot tell you how many drawings I have done in the last 2 or more years, because once I get an idea on paper the various alterations to a line or a change of shape, angle, colour or size of space become infinite, especialy when each of those is so dependant on the other. I include a few of the huge numbers I have done here:

 A B D pap10

1-many buts

pap4 pap5 pap6 pap7 pap8 pap12 pap14








bdx on white2-text


Indeed, It’s a bit like chemistry, or maybe cookery: changing the mix: a little less here ..a little more there etc.

These are still only sketches , so once the background colour and the shape of the butterfly was decided, I refined those, even then the exact colour had to be chosen:labelC-p labelA-b2

As you can see, we have been through many computations, it was really destined to be an ivory background, until I showed a drawing with a Bordeaux background, because I was beginning to tire of the same colour, and she positively lept on it. We are now on to the final stage. I have provided the finalised watercolour background and the butterfly, the label is now at the printers, it has undergone quite a metamorphosis. Here is the final version:

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 08.49.45

a few miles away from the original thinking. The butterfly is smaller and the cuvée K bigger than she wished for at one point in the proceedings. My thoughts?…. I would have preferred more space, less writing,  and the swirl, which I felt gave it movement. However, the important consideration is it has to stand out from the rows of other wines on the shelves, and the final decision will have been made by checking that out……..I can fully recommend this organic wine, by the way.

Here is another label, not my design, but the painting is mine. It was a commission for a portrait of a 6′ white rabbit. The painting is 6′ high, (2m), and I had to get Graham to pose for me, leaning on a bar, drinking a glass of wine. People say it is a fair likeness!


Sorry about the dribble, hic!

12 thoughts on “Wine labels

  1. Beautiful work, Liz. There are any number of designs there that could have worked. I would have gone for the wonderful loop idea myself, as I think it has such dynamic, and sense of whimsy too. But the finished design, though more sober, is very handsome, and the colour is mouthwatering… which should help sales!

  2. Liz, Thanks for sending on stories about what you’re up to. I don’t always respond sometimes because I don’t feel like it or maybe because I don’t know what to say. But I like your generous sharing and the occasions when you and Graham work together on a project. If there is ever some kind of contest where there’s a prize for two peoople who can do anything anyone wants done, you guys have my bid. And you’d better not lose, damn it. Fred

    • I have a little more time now to say: I don’t expect you to comment every time, although it’s nice when you do. It is simply just a way of keeping family and friends informed of what we are up to, I am lousy at keeping in contact , and this seems to be the best way. It all started with the puppet challenge, because I didn’t want to clog up friend Clive’s blog with my contributions, but I have carried on with it partly because it is quite interesting, for me, to have a visual diary, and partly because of the positive reactions of those who read it. My greatest fear is of boring people, so that is a challenge in itself! The happiest result is that I am far more in contact with people who I normally don’t converse with from one year to the next, but I do think of them lots. XL

  3. You’re doing fantastically. This is a wonderful window into your world, and it puts you into a community of like-minded artists. When I post your Puppet Challenge work at the Artlog, I’m sure even more people will visit you here.

    • Thanks , Clive, I really appreciate your support on all that I do, it means a lot me. You are probably knee-deep in puppet challenge curating right now, so I appreciate the time you take to write and encourage me.
      I am currently on site, waiting for a paint sample to dry, and sneaking a brief chance to answer your comment. (It has drawn forth a wry comment from Graham, ” ah, watching paint dry are we?” !!) xxL

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