Everyone knows that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But what about a wine by its label?
When you’re standing in the wine section of a supermarket, you’re bombarded by rows of images and colors trying to stand out from the crowd.
From simple text on a white background to illustrations heaving with meaning: the wine industry is well aware of the importance of design and innovation when it comes to reaching new and greater numbers of consumers.
Mendoza, the largest wine producing province in the country, is also a hub of packaging and labels. To learn more, we spoke to four Mendozan label designers who are bringing fresh and original ideas to the national design scene.
Mendozan wine label designers
La Compañía: a design partnership founded in friendship
Agustina Romero and María Julia Cavecedo García are business partners and have been friends since childhood. Their studio La Compañía works with distinguished wineries such as La Celia, Doña Paula, Graffigna and Susana Balbo, among others.
For their designs, they pay special attention to the details to make sure that the end product properly speaks to the essence of the clients. “We always strive to ensure that communication with the client is good, so it’s a shared journey,” says Agustina.
María Julia emphasizes the importance of innovation, which is why she’s always alert to the latest trends, be it in illustration techniques or paper supplies. The goal is “for the end product to include ‘everything’, something that sells itself with an innovative twist.”
Sustainability is an essential aspect of their designs: “Wineries have an environmental conscience so they expect us to make suggestions in that area,” says Cavacedo García
Aware of the importance of visual identity to any brand, these Mendozan label designers know that their work must have its own special character.
“The first impression a wine makes is very important. We study the target market closely to make sure we’re doing the right kind of work. And we also concentrate on producing surprises,” says Romero.
Julia Godoy Steindl: innovating to find more consumers
Julia began her career in design with an internship at Bodega Norton, which defined her first steps in the professional world. Afterward, she worked six years at Estudio Iuvaro, where the director Cecilia Iuvaro became a “very important pillar” of her development, creating an all-female environment.
Today, Julia works independently with wineries such as the venerable Finca Flichman; the boutique operation Penedo Borges; and family projects such as Mestizo and Canto del Cielo.
One of the labels for Mestizo tells the story of the Toso Boehler family: “They wanted to talk about their roots and ended up telling the story of their grandparents.”
The design, which is evocative of the tales of Jules Verne, had a family member riding in a different mode of transport in each corner: an aviator grandfather next to grandma on the train, the other grandfather – a wine grower – on a bicycle, and the other grandmother watching their children through binoculars.
“Young consumers notice the details. Once you’ve picked up a bottle, you’re much less likely to put it back on the shelf. The finishes of the labels are great tools in attracting buyers’ curiosity and so to getting the bottle in their shopping cart,” says Godoy Steindl.
She notes that “Mendoza has great design talent, we have all the tools, we know our wines and we’re winning prestigious international awards.”
Victoria Itoiz: the Argentine cutting edge
Before setting up her own studio, Victoria worked in the marketing department at Zuccardi (who are now one of her biggest clients), and went on to Gioia Design, where she got experience with wineries such as Doña Paula.
Later she founded Genoud-Itoiz together with her partner Marcos where, in addition to wine labels, they created graphics and identities for stores, medical centers, legal firms and the Government of Mendoza, among other work.
In 2020, she decided to go it alone so as to concentrate on the wineries of the province, who “really value design.”
Victoria looks upon every project as a “bespoke tailored suit”, in which she turns her back on generic ideas and tries to ensure each has a twist that truly reflects the client. “I try to make my projects conceptual, for them to have something unexpected, to avoid the commonplace. To do that you have to work closely with the clients because they know their businesses best.
“I’d like to work the way the studios do in New York and London, always at the cutting edge – some even make personalized bottles – but we’re not there yet. It’s not just about designing labels but making decisions with the clients and understanding the market they’re aiming for. Social networks are a great help. Now a product has to be well presented, to have a supporting aesthetic, it’s the only way.”
Talent and originality continue to be a distinguishing factor in the world of Mendozan label designers.