Landmark Vineyards: it was their label, not mine!

Many years ago I was asked by Mike and Mary Colhoun, the owners of Landmark Vineyards at the time, to redesign their labels. Like every new design process, both the designer and the client define a path forward.   Important questions need to be explored:

  • What are the client’s objections to their current packaging?
  • What graphic elements will be retained in the new design?
  • What degree of change are they looking for? Is this a refinement or an entirely new look?

I left our first meeting with answers to these questions. I also did my homework and discovered some interesting facts that triggered a visual direction. Generations ago, the Colhoun family founded one of America’s most venerable brands – the John Deere Tractor Company. Deere invented the first steel plow in 1837. Their line of agricultural equipment is well established all over the world. To me, this heritage needed to be expressed on Landmark’s face label.

My first presentation featured the Deere icon just above the new letter forms. I recommended executing this icon in gold and silver foil. In addition, it would embossed in high relief. Landmark’s award winning Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs were premium price point wines and the design needed to reflect this category, in my view. I went in to the presentation hopeful that this approach would be well received.

Back to the Drawing Board!

As it turned out, Mike and Mary Colhoun only wanted to “refresh” their labels. Sometimes, it takes the presentation of an entirely new approach to define comfort levels. We ended up enhancing the standing Landmark script icon, adjusting the label layout, adding foil and embossing treatments and changing the texture of the label stock, see left. It was a definite improvement from Landmark’s previous design.

It did remind me to recall the reality of my focus, “It’s the client’s label, not mine.” I have hard drives filled with ideas and concepts that fall into the second category.

Mike and Mary Colhoun sold Landmark Vineyards to Roll Global Company, the owners of Fiji Water and POM Juices. Landmark’s packaging was totally changed which usually happens following an acquisition. There was no reference to the Deere plow on the new labels.