Offline Design Inspiration: Wine Labels (Hic!)

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mollydookerI have to admit, one of my fantasy design jobs would be to design a series of wine labels. There’s the challenge of designing for a small area; there’s a certain austerity and sense of history surrounding wine-making; and it’s also a product I’m always interested in sampling.

Wine labels were found on jars of wine in the tomb of Tutankhamun in Egypt, who died in 1352 B.C. The labels contained information on the contents of the jars. Zooming on a couple of thousand years, in the 1700s, hand-written labels became more commonplace as glass bottles replaced casks for holding wine. By the late 1700s, lithography had been invented allowing the mass printing of labels.

Today, the requirements for wine labeling vary from country to country. In Europe, labels must show, the producer, the bottler, country and region of origin, vintage year, bottle volume, alcohol content and in some countries, a health warning. So that’s a fair amount of information to consider before designing a label.

While this blog is generally about web design, it would be extremely short-sighted to look for inspiration only within this industry. Good design is good design and it comes in many forms. So now for your viewing pleasure and design inspiration, here are ten interesting wine labels.


The graphic design work for this wine from Winery Arts is by Moruba, a Spanish design company.
Colourful handprints with lots of white space from Argentine designers Ballester/Milia.
Hand-drawn labels by Hanna Backman of Swedish design group Lulu.

The design for the Bins range started as a joke by UK based packaging designer Dare and features photographs of refuse bins outside people’s houses. It was based on the idea that many Australian wines use the specific ‘bin’ number to identify their wines.


Simple but clever labels designed by Watts Design, Australia.


Beautiful Karadag wine label by Nadie Parshina. The illustrations on the labels show the disappearing breeds of animals and birds which live in karadag.


Turk wine label design by Austrian company Bauer.
The Sibling Rivalry labels were created by Canadian design company, Insite Design.

The Molly Dooker design by MASH, with no computer generated fonts, all type was hand drawn. Inspiration came from antique books and old advertising illustrations.


And to finish, I’ve never actually seen this one in the shops here, but the web site is cool, and the label made me laugh. I would buy this wine for the label.

Have you come across any nice labels in the off-license or bottle shop?
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Jennifer FarleyJennifer Farley
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Jennifer Farley is a designer, illustrator and design instructor based in Ireland. She writes about design and illustration on her blog at Laughing Lion Design.

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