August 5, 2006

suddenly... [new stormhoek labels]


I've started designing the new Stormhoek wine labels, which like I said earlier, should be hitting the shelves by Christmas. This is one of my first efforts, an updated version of a cartoon I drew back in 1998.

To me, wine and the human condition go together like two peas in a pod. So I want the designs to explore that relationship.

Could you imagine something like this on a wine bottle? More specifically, a wine bottle you'd actually take off the supermarket shelf and place into your shopping basket? Yes? No? Maybe?

N.B. This project is still very new. Virgin territory. In terms of label design, I don't claim to have all the answers. Heck, I don't even claim to have a tenth of them. But this is one steep learning curve that I am thrilled to be on. Watch this space.

[UPDATE: To see the new lable designs as they're being rolled out, go here. Thanks.]

Posted by hugh macleod at August 5, 2006 1:49 PM | TrackBack

your labels will be "social wine-wear"! - God even Thomas can't cut that! I tell you what will happen - the interesting people in the supermarkets will buy these wines. Sounds pretty sound to me.

Posted by: James Thomson at August 5, 2006 2:28 PM

I hope you're right, James... thanks for the kind words.

Here's an interesting stat: If a person picks up your wine off the shelf to check out the back label, there is a 50% chance that she will put it in her shopping basket [This is true, by the way, I'm not making this up].

ALL wine- including the liquid, the label, the bottle design- should be reversed-engineered from that one simple action by the shopper in the supermarket, methinks.

I see the lables as no more than wee conversation starters...

Posted by: hugh macleod at August 5, 2006 2:50 PM

Hi, I'd say put the cartoon on the other side of the bottle (in place of the usual boring description). I don't think this works as a label, at least by itself. But I guess the label would have something else on it too?

Posted by: Jukka at August 5, 2006 3:33 PM

Jukka, we're working on the back labels as well... but we don;t want to give too many secrets away ;-)

Posted by: hugh macleod at August 5, 2006 3:38 PM

If you put a drawing like this on the front of a wine bottle I'm fairly sure your 50% statistic would drop pretty quickly. You still might sell a lot of wine though.

Also, I would say you're missing an important step in the see/read/buy-the-bottle cycle. At some point the bottle will find itself on a table and there not everybody will want to see a little square of gapingvoid goodness. Many people find comfort in those heavily seriffed fonts and ostentatious paragraphs although they are not likely to be reading your blog.

Posted by: Alex at August 5, 2006 5:26 PM

Curious to the misspelt 'lable' everywhere. Not a dig.. I have a few words I consistently type incorrectly, but everyone seems to have different ones! According to Google this is one of the most common :) Anyway, that label theory seems sound (the 50%).. bring on the color and quirkiness on wine!

Posted by: Peter Cooper at August 5, 2006 6:05 PM

To me cartoons on labels give a fun, easy-drinking vibe (but dare I say 'downmarket' image) - or they have done in the past. Perhaps you could make them peel-off so people could collect the whole set?

Posted by: Andrew at August 5, 2006 7:18 PM

I think if I drank alcohol I would certainly buy wine with labels like this for myself. As it stands, I think I would buy it for friends of mine who do drink. In fact, I have one particular friend in mind who this label would resound well with.

Posted by: Rachel at August 5, 2006 9:27 PM

Are these wines available in Canada? I still haven't tried them - but would like to suggest them to some friends with a B&B/restaurant...I just love your cartoons so much!

(I have posted them on my silly blog twice now, noting your copyright of course. It is and my "outlet"...not revenue in any way...a mommy blog...yikes - refer back to your "A Lot of Women". Hilarious.)

Go go Hugh. It is getting hard to decide which cartoons are best! Thanks for the entertainment.

Posted by: dawbie at August 5, 2006 9:33 PM

I would! But only because:

1) I'm not a wine type so every other bottle looks the same to me. If one stands out and amuses me I might just pick it.

2) I'm a artist type so this kind of thing attracts me.

3) A cool wine bottle I bring to a party would just make me look cooler.

Posted by: Alvin at August 6, 2006 5:21 AM

The wine is sadly not available in Canada, sorry.

Alvin, most people are not "wine types", though a lot of the wine trade is in denial of this ;-)

Posted by: hugh macleod at August 6, 2006 6:35 AM

I think Rachel has picked up on something Hugh - these labels may well be picked for "other people" - i.e. as gifts, or something to take TO a dinner party if you're a guest (as Alvin also suggests) - mainly because they're NOT the same old seriffed label.

@Alex - it only needs one person at the table to notice it and it would get shown around to everybody else

Posted by: Ric at August 6, 2006 1:19 PM

Andrew thinks 'downmarket' - I'm not so sure. Another cartoonist created a label for a high end malt whisky that is now a collectors item and you'll need £300 or $500 bucks to pick up a bottle - view here

the same guy did labels for the winery Bonny Doon in Santa Cruz CA - as did various other illustrators - there's plenty of it about although, to my understanding, there's only one Hugh!

A very revered Single Malt Scotch club also has been using cartoons in all its marketing - - so I would say its in good taste, in good company and, with that uber-Hugh pzazz, is a goer

Posted by: James Thomson at August 6, 2006 2:53 PM

As a 40 year old woman who recently separated, I find your sense of humor regularly resonating with me and I liked this label instantly.

You can laugh or cry about things that happen and I would rather laugh. This makes me smile and would always be a fun conversation starter, IMHO.

Posted by: deannie at August 6, 2006 3:09 PM

in vinum veritas (my latin sucks)

yes, it is the label that makes the difference for that first bottle, then once uncorked, it is the stuff in it...

i should get drunk more often. then my life would make sense...

Posted by: cairo otaibi at August 6, 2006 3:52 PM

I can't wait to see the labels in a shop nearby! (I live in Cape Town.)

Posted by: flightless at August 6, 2006 4:32 PM

Using the cartoons on the labels is a great idea, completely in keeping with the Stormhoek positioning of "good wine at a good price" (I know that's not it exactly but it is how I remember it). Intuitively, I think folks buying at that price point will be attracted to the cartoons. They'll like some of them, they won't like all of them (law of averages) but they'll be more likely to try the wine regardless because the difference of the cartoons made them pick up the bottle. One step closer to going in the cart.

Specifically, I very much like the "complete sense to her" one, and I suspect the "fat" one will resonate with all sorts of buyers.

Posted by: Susan Getgood at August 6, 2006 8:04 PM

I love this label. I enjoy wine but am not a "wine person" and I would definitely grab this bottle off the shelf. I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on why "wine and the human condition go together" so well. Do you talk about that on this site or anywhere else?

Posted by: Mike at August 7, 2006 5:44 PM

Hugh, at first I agreed with Andrew's comments (5 August) about a set to collect off the bottle. But then considered that a) people might hang back from buying a bottle of your wine today if they already have that cartoon (I know they'll like the wine and will want it anyway, but they might just wait until tomorrow in a different store) b) the supermarkets aren't going to easily cater for stocking the "variety". So, why not simply put unique refs on the labels (electronic coupons) that people can enter online together with some personal details, in exchange for which they can be sent the cartoon of their choice. If they want more of the set, they simply buy more of your wine. Whilst it doesn't stop ubercheapskate from copying down numbers from bottles on the shelf, I reckon they will be too few to care about. Meantime, you get to build up info on who your customers are and begin a dialogue with them.

Posted by: John Wilson at August 7, 2006 11:53 PM

If comment numbers are an indication, you have a winner here. Congrats!

Posted by: dawbie at August 8, 2006 12:39 AM

"ALL wine- including the liquid, the label, the bottle design- should be reversed-engineered from that one simple action by the shopper in the supermarket, methinks."

Boy, I'm glad you are getting a piece of the action. That's a really, really, really smart way to think. You watch: This is going to be effing huge. Good for you, Hugh.

Posted by: Harry Joiner at August 8, 2006 4:40 AM

Differentiation is the key to branding. Go, Hugh!

Posted by: Jack Yan at August 9, 2006 11:35 PM

Terrific concepts. Do you want some wine to go in the bottles, Do you need a UK distributor, or Austalia too for that matter, where I think the branding will be even better received. Love to explore the possibilites

Posted by: John Eustace at September 8, 2006 8:20 AM

My husband and I make our own wine just for our own pleasure. It is made from fruit we pick in the field as well as fruit from the garden. Some store bought fruit has also beem used. So far I've made up my own labels but they are far from decorative and it would be nice to be able to jazz them up. Any ideas would be real helpful as to how to go about it.
Thank you
Robin Downing

Posted by: Robin Downing at September 9, 2006 11:13 PM

Hi Robin. My family makes our own wine as well and my uncle has crafted some pretty nice labels for the bottles Email me and I'll get you his email address so he can give you some more info.


Posted by: janelle at September 22, 2006 12:20 AM

hey, ur art is awesome, love it, keep up the good work,
love always becky

Posted by: becky at November 9, 2006 7:11 AM

please contact me as I would love to use your cartoon on my business cards.....

Posted by: cathie at November 20, 2006 11:27 AM

wine is good but i like vodka

Posted by: at December 5, 2006 4:24 PM


Posted by: at March 23, 2007 12:43 PM