Category Archives: Snacks and Bevvies

Yay! More Wine!

Here it comes. The fabulous third installment of very dandy wine labels! I wish I could get paid to do this…

Very clever. From the front this is a very simple design but it works with the over-sized letters and large bar code, but obviously the back is where the party is!

Another simple concept. The labels have nothing of interest separately but the placement is very catching.

Take note, simple is fabulous! These labels are so simple they catch your eye, and again the back is where it get interesting.

These Longview Wine labels were reconstituted labels from the old branding, together the different placement and cropping makes the plain old illustrations very appealing.

Come on, who isn’t an optimist after a bottle of wine? Simple. Simple. Perfect!

We move out of the simple to the simply stunning. It’s hard to even make out that this is a photograph of flood water but I just can’t tear my eyes away from the gorgeous black and white photography.

I wasn’t sure if I liked the feather on the bottle but sometimes it’s the packaging that makes it!

Sometimes it’s the packaging, sometimes it the photography, and sometimes when they’re all together you just want to buy that wine despite the fact that you wont be pouring it the same or that the box will be in the recycling soon. But then again, I guess the bottle will be too.

And how about some really amazing packaging. Again I could care less for the bottle and label design but the packaging is clearly where all the creativity went.

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It was only a matter of time before I turned my obsession with wine labels into something productive!

There is a lonely but giant grape-vine in my backyard that was once dubbed as unusable, so for many years it’s only purpose was to give our Greek, back door neighbour something to make her dolmades out of. My ambitious boyfriend and I decided one summer to make the grapes a useful source of drinking. This first attempt only garnered us vinegar and we’re still waiting for that to be useful. The second attempt was much more successful and with the help of a friend we even got our vine producing more than 3 times the amount of vinegar grapes we had the year previous. Ok, so we had lots of grapes–we still had to harvest them and make wine. The harvesting process showed us why vineyards are made out of acres of short and thin vines instead of a giant bush which is basically what we had to pick through to find not only bunches of grapes but creepy-crawlies of all sorts! We can skip through the next few months of steps with just a short note thanking Ramin and Maria for their helpfulness(sorry for the fruit flies you endured!). And voila, we had our first batch of home-made wine!

Now what goes best with home-made wine? Home-made, hand-painted, hand-stitched labels of course! But this might just be my opinion since my grandmother is perfectly happy with her blank bottles of U-brew wine! But this isn’t just U-brew, it was U-grow, U-pick, U-squish, U-everything! So we practically had to have U-label as well!

But of course there is nothing “had-to” about me and my art! This was definitely a “want-to”. Inspired by the name Diptera, a tiny fruit fly was painted on the textured cloth label and Cabernet Sauvignon coloured yarn was stitched in a crazy and unique flight path on and around the label before eventually heading up the bottle and wrapping around the neck. This flight path is probably a prediction of one’s own walking path if they were to greedily consume the entire 1.5 L wine bottle by themselves.

Scientifically gifted Kasrah came up with the perfect name, Diptera and wrote a fabulously funny description to accompany it. It’s probably important to note here that the backyard vine is situated right next to our pool.

“By the rolling pavement and afternoon sun of the manor, the grapes were grown with delicate hints of chlorine and Dutisch Portanian  essence.  Fueled by passion our winemakers endured countless attacks from the ever present diptera but nevertheless prevailed to bring the best damn wine you’ve ever had (after 4 glasses…).”

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Bottled Water

I’m pretty sure there has always been people pushing tap water over store-bought bottled water, and of course this hype has been super-sized ever since we as a people decided it was cool to be environmentally friendly. Whatever the reason, or the time I think it’s worthwhile, even if just for the designs that come out of it. So first I have to show the one bottle of water that I bought and never drank. It is sitting in my garage along with all the other stuff from school that I don’t know what to do with anymore. They were stacked up on top of each other in a glorious frosted, crystalized iceberg! Of course on its own it’s a bit of a let down as are all the pictures I found of it on the internet. But just imagine…

And while we’re talking about Evian, let’s talk about the Roller Babies! One of the best commercials I have seen in a while. It’s hilarious and doesn’t really make that much sense but it makes you remember Evian–and that’s really the point isn’t it?

 Ok seriously now, there are some nicely illustrated posters I’ve seen around advertising tap water over bottled water. Clean, simple and gets straight to the point.

And even if they aren’t all that simple the graphics can really help you along.

Of course not all bottled water is bad. You can bottle your own tap water and that makes everyone happy. The Water Bobble is interesting to me simply because it’s black and how many people do you know that want black water? It doesn’t seem to fit the clean, clear fresh ideas that you want with your water. But it comes with a filter which is the coloured part and most importantly it photographs wonderfully!

So I’m catching a theme here, if you’re going to bottle your own water the bottle should come with a filter. Hmmm?… 321 Water has a very unique looking filter which could trick you into thinking you’re drinking glacier fresh water instead of that regular stuff that came out of your tap.

And last but not least, a water bottle for fine dining! It’s really genius and bold. Not  hiding the fact that this fancy dinner party is serving you that tap stuff again!

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More Dandy Wine Labels

I think I would have a drinking problem if my local liquor store had all the beautiful wine labels that the does! This is just a sampling of some recent labels that have made my mouth water.

The bubbles in this label really get me. Of course the nice chunky numbers going up the bottle pop first, it’s the playful bubbles that keep my attention here.

This wine is locally made so I will be keeping my eye out for it. First of all, the name grabbed me. Who hasn’t wanted to start a couple grape vines in their backyard and turn it into a year-round supply of wine! On closer inspection, the detailed vines and leaves are amazing. I especially like the little can watering the vines and bring the wine to life!

This mulled wine is such a great idea, I wish I could have given them to all my friends for Christmas! The concept was apparently “The more you drunk the merrier the message!” The gradations on the bottle indicating how many glasses of holiday cheer you’ve consumed is a neat gimmick as well.

The Neige ice wine bottles are nice enough, but the packaging is what is really dandy. I appreciate all the detailed “neige” aspects of the entire bottle, cork, label and packing. The name of the wine might be more clever if it wasn’t produced in Quebec where the name is just snow. Wow, big concept there for an ice wine. At least they didn’t call it “glace”.

And finally, this is a very dandy concept for wine. We all give wine as gifts, it’s easy, everyone likes wine and there’s not much thought that has to go into it. Hmmmm, does she like red or white?! But this is wine that takes thought! Or at least it took a lot of creative though for the designers of Toast-Its. These bottles can be ordered online and selected for just the right occasion: house-warming party, get better soon, congrats on the baby/graduation/promotion etc. Definitely check out all the labels on . The designs on some of these bottles are definitely worth it, I really like the “bottoms up” label.

This last one I’m not sure what to make of. It’s a good concept, really it is. Go green! And I’m not a wine snob-but I just don’ t think I’ll ever appreciate a wine out of a box. It is a nice looking juice box though. Honestly though, if this wine box was sitting on the shelf next to the exact design on a bottle wouldn’t you pick up the bottle instead? The concept was yellow + blue = green, as in organic wine in recyclable containers. Oops, was I not supposed to be recycling my glass bottles all this time?!

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How to choose the right wine

The way I choose my wine is by the label. I can feel the eyes of the liquor stores’ employees on me as I wonder out loud which label is “prettiest”. I know they’re thinking I’m too young to be drinking and certainly too young to be enjoying wine if the only thing I take into consideration is whether or not the label amuses me. Sometimes I want to turn around and inform everyone that I’m a graphic designer and that I have certain appreciations for packaging that other’s do not have. In my opinion, if a company doesn’t have enough money or pride to enlist in the help of a designer then the wine definitely isn’t going to be worth buying and drinking.

And it’s not only the “pretty pictures” on the labels that I judge by, I’m judging the whole package. The bottle, the name, the way the label looks and feels are all important factors in choosing my wine. The following wines are all wines I found on or wines I have personally bought. And just in case you were wondering, I’ve never bought a wine by the label that I haven’t enjoyed!

Newspaper WineNewspaper wine

ribbon wrapper

The wine below intrigued me because who would buy a wine with garbage cans on the label? I read the creative brief on and found out that in Australia it’s common to refer to batches of wine by the bin number they were made in. In England, bins are garbage cans so an English design firm decided to take advantage of this fact and find bins around England with the house number painted on them to identify their wine. Very clever, very dandy.

Bin wine

This wine wouldn’t stand out to me in the store, and I probably wouldn’t buy it however the “brown” bag that the bottle is protected by mirrors the design on the actual bottle. And it is this bag that earns this particular wine a spot on my dandy blog.

intricate paper bag

This wine just reminded me of Dr. Seus with it’s whymsical characters and the topsy turvey way in which they are arranged on the bottle. Being especially interested in identity work, I’m not sure how happy I would be if it were my logo being covered up by these doodles.

Dr. Sues Wine

This next bottle is tequila, but this is how I would choose tequila. By the bottle! It’s not the label, although the label choice is perfect, small, out of the way and completely bland. You don’t need to over do the design of the label when each bottle is hand blown glass.

hand blown glass bottle

The next wines are some of the ones I have personally bought because of the label.

The name is what drew me to this wine but Joe Blow stands out because it really does look like your next door neighbour who makes wine in his garage took his sharpie out and wrote out this label. Perfect for the look and feel they were going for. I encourage you to go to the website to read the story that goes with the label.

Joe Blow

This next wine label isn’t especially interesting, but the name is dandy because of the picture that accompanies it. In this case, it’s marketing over design, but it’s still dandy!

Tall Horse

And last but not least, the name and sort of careless nature of this wine is what grabbed me. Feel free to drink this wine and then scribble on your own walls!


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Starbucks Ads

The new Starbucks ads do not seem typical Starbucks to me at all. They have a textured background and look like they have been screen printed onto the material using limited colours. The background is very fitting because it is the right texture of a burlap sack, which coffee beans were traditionally bagged and shipped in. The images and text are obviously not actually screen printed on the burlap but just Photoshopped in which is how they can achieve the sharp, crisp lines but they have done a nice job of faking it, seeing the texture through the letters. The only thing that really bothers me is that some elements haven’t even been fake printed, they’re just small images that are smacked right on top without any further consideration; the faritrade logo below for instance. I can see the need to want to get the logos recognizable and keep the integrity of them however, the Starbucks logo is so recognizable that I think making it seem more like it was screen printed onto the bumpy material would be so much more natural and not at all hard to interpret. The logos are the eyesore of an otherwise dandy looking ad.


This latest look to the Starbucks print material works well into their new “shared planet” earth friendly scheme but the sayings printed onto the ads juxtapose this friendly nature. Very edgy for a company that prides themselves on the fact that the customer is always right. I like the edge, it just seems way off norm for the usual Starbucks look and feel of their stores, products and advertising. The ad below is maybe more egotistical than edgy.

Cheap Coffee

Egotistical yes, but at least this one ties in with the nature of any coffee to leave an after taste:



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Coors Light Summer Campaign

A few months ago I started noticing some cheeky ads from Coors light. The first one that caught my attention said in bold letters on the side of a Coors Light can “Colder than a certain unemployed ranger”, being a Kokanee drinker myself I thought this wasn’t right. Then I saw a Coors Light can stating that it was “The venti of ice cold beers” this one got my attention because I was working for Starbucks at the time. It was then that I realized they were brilliant billboards. Using the consumers knowledge about other products- even competitors products and turning this knowledge against them. You only understood the ads if you knew about the other products first, but it makes you think about Coors even if it’s in a bad way. I didn’t like that they were making fun of the Kokanee ranger but I did tell lots of people about it. And once I saw these two ads, I started noticing them all over the place with quotes that were even cheekier even either played off of other products, or played off scenarios that probably have happened to a friend of yours. Slogans like “Colder than Jenn when you called her Susan” and “Colder than an NHL franchise in Hamilton”.  the brilliant people at Coors decided to have some more fun with their slogans and get their consumers to finish the line “Colder than…” If you log onto www.coorslight.cayou can make up your own slogan or vote for other peoples. Of course after this,  it was the controversial “Colder than people in Toronto” billboards. To me, these ads were of the same caliber as the others ones, just this time a whole city took offense. But really, if the Starbucks and Kokanee ads were funny to you, you shouldn’t have any quams about people making fun of you. Tit for tat. Any even though Coors eventually took down all the Toronto-offending ads, they got a ton of free advertising from the media. So cheers to Coors, and one hell of a dandy ad campaign.

Coors had always had cheeky ads, so why the fuss now? Take a laugh at a few from over the years…

dont shrink

dance with girlfriend

people from toronto

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Kokanee Crankworks Can Contest

My favourite beer, Kokanee always sponsors the Crankworks week-long celebration of mountain biking held each summer in Whistler. As much as I love Kokanee and Whistler, I’ve never been to the festival.

Kokanee is holding a contest right now that will combine my great loves, beer and design, how can you get any better than that? I just looked into the contest and only have a couple days to design something but I will get it done!

Check out their Facebook page to see the cans already submitted, some are very cool. Kokanee Poster

My design will be up here soon.

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