Labels & Shrink Sleeves

Published in Packaging World
Snapshots | August 2013

By Kara Dunford

A Stride Towards Premium
Active Series aims to address the needs of the high performing athlete.

Merck partnered with brand strategist and design consultancy firm Product Ventures ( to create product language for Dr. Scholl’s Active Series insoles. The design objective was to achieve harmony between the packaging and product all the while distinguishing Active Series from the variety of other Dr. Scholl’s insoles on the shelf.

The design process was divided into two parts, the insole packaging design and the packaging display. Product Ventures’ industrial and graphic design teams worked together to create a cohesive look for packaging and display. Product Ventures’ CEO Peter Clarke comments on the project, “By having the teams work together, the design aesthetic developed for the insole was translated to both the packaging and the in-store displays, creating cohesive communication across the brand.”

The team considered the color palette, background texture, photography and typography to convey the athletic feel in this premium series. They had to balance the architecture and branding of the Dr. Scholl’s blue and yellow badge with an athletic flare, this resulted in the swooping yellow banner that evokes a runner’s finish line mark.

Merck sourced the materials used in the packaging project, which consists of a clear package with beveled contours that shape nicely to the insoles. Colors used, consist of a vibrant green for the male athlete and a salmon/pink for the female athlete. A halo glow is used along with die-cut windows, so consumers can touch the grips and develop a feel for the parameters of the insole.

Communication of hierarchy is addressed in the package design as three distinct zones are highlighted, the heel, arch and ball of foot.

Southern Charm
Whisper Creek creates a new category with Tennessee Sipping Cream.

The amalgamation of two iconic American designs—the classic milk bottle and the infamous moonshine jug—is described as the inspiration behind Whisper Creek’s inimitable custom glass bottle. The cream liqueur made with aged Tennessee whiskey is marketed using the trademarked term, “Tennessee Sipping Cream,” creating a new category in the spirits industry.

Speakeasy Spirits chief marketing officer Jenny Pennington hand-drew a sketch of what she envisioned the bottle to look like. After an engineered 3-D rendering was created,  Speakeasy Spirits CEO and husband Jeff Pennington began the process of talking to glass manufacturers that could create the design in a quality amber glass; enter TricorBraun (

The Penningtons strove for, “an authentic southern look. Something that was a real classic that could continue to appeal to consumers year after year,” explains Jenny Pennington. A color palette of oranges and creams was selected for the logo to pop against the true amber glass bottle. “We wanted to match the color of cream we used in our logo design with the color of our product.” says Jenny Pennington.

Challenges the Penningtons had to address include: the inclusion of the finger loop on the custom glass bottle and decorating the unusually shaped structure. Jenny Pennington explains, “On most bottles that you see on the market, the handle is connected at the neck and then connects to the shoulder of the bottle.” The Whisper Creek design features a finger loop connected from neck to neck. “The neck of the bottle was actually being weighted down by the handle,” she recalls. A solution was devised by slowing down the process and letting the glass cool longer, as to not compromise the integrity of the neck. Decorating the broad shouldered and tapered waist bottle provided issues; screen printing was not a viable option because of the shape. Not wanting to compromise the size of the Whisper Creek logo, a decaling process was ultimately used.

Topped off with a tamper-evidence seal, paying homage to an old tax stamp with a modern day twist, leaves Whisper Creek with options for potential marketing opportunities.

A Maya Marvel
Rare Yucatán honey receives artisanal design treatment.

Imperial Yucatán Dzidzilche Honey, poised as being one of the rarest honeys in the world, features a production process that dates back to the pre-Columbian era—when the Maya Empire skillfully mastered the art of apiculture. With only an eight-week cultivation period per year, the Dzidzilche (zee-zeel-chay) bush provides a perfumed white flower that completes the ancient Maya process. Such a rarity deserves a package design of equal splendor, enter Marc Balet, principal and creative director, Mixed Business Group (

Crediting his education in art, life, marketing and business to the 11 years spent working in “The Factory” for Andy Warhol; Balet’s credentials include, creative director of Interview magazine and “Andy Warhol’s 15 Minutes” TV show. Aptly qualified to create a packaging design to house the succulent honey, Balet approached the project with the idea of making honey as collectible as perfume or jewelry. The inkwell-shaped bottle, created from an original cast, manufactured in Mexico, by Pavisa ( can be used as a serving dish. Balet explains the design decision to choose glass, “I wanted a heavy glass that really had some weight to it, in a kind of thoughtful way and also an obvious way. That when you held this in your hand it had meaning,”

Copy is silkscreened in white and gold on pack; restructured Maya symbols add, “a hint of where this originates from without beating the consumer over the head with it,” and a sans serif typeface evokes elegance and universality. The bottom of the inkwell-shaped bottle features a narrative depicting the honey’s origin, adding appeal. “It’s a little bit more of an emotional connection, which people have towards clothing and towards fashion and towards perfume and cosmetics that’s what I was looking to do, to get more of an emotional attachment to the product.” comments Balet.

The 100% pure, certified organic Yucatán Dzidzilche Honey’s glass bottle is accented with a gold colored screw top lid. The limited-edition, 12-oz. bottle includes a hand crafted wooden spoon, constructed by Maya artisans, and is sold online for $58.

Rebellious Redox
Rebel Coast Winery takes a maverick approach to the winemaking business.

From its heavy-weight glass bottle, to the glow-in-the-dark handlebar mustache graphic, Naked Rebel wine has made its presence in vino culture known. Naked Rebel is the first vintage released by Rebel Coast Winery. The 2007 blend of Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon and Amador Syrah is aged in French oak barrels with only 150 cases made.

Founded by two brothers, Chip and AJ Forsythe, began their winemaking careers as students at Cal Poly, making wine in trash cans and under bridges and then bootlegging the product to fellow dorm room dwellers.

Partnering with Silicon Valley incubator, Boost ( was, “one of the best things that could’ve happened to us,” explains Chip Forsythe. The startup received guidance from mentors and acquired investors with the help of Boost. The packaging design and copy that appears on the back of the bottle was created in-house by Chip Forsythe. When prompted about the quirky name, “Naked Rebel” Chip Forsythe explains, “We wanted to do something that was a name that was easy to remember, fun to say and unintimidating, something easy to pronounce.”

All American Containers ( supplied the hefty amber colored glass bottle. The artwork created by Chip Forsythe, was sent to Monvera (, which screen prints the copy and graphics onto the bottle. The silk screening process was selected over a traditional label because it will never peel off if the bottle is wet or chilled. Chip Forsythe mentions, the cost for glow-in-the-dark ink is a bit more expensive, but he believes the benefits outweigh the price tag.

The copy on the backside of Naked Rebel depicts the personality and creed of the brand to a tee; “I know it’s kind of a drunken ramble and it kind of hops all over the place but that’s kind of the point. When I was writing it I wanted at least every person that read it to be able to identify with two to three different things in the story. I wanted to make something that conveys as much personality as possible.”

Tea Time
Luxury biscuit collection receives packaging design fit for even the most discerning consumer.

When shortbread purveyor, Dean’s, of Huntly, Scotland aspired to introduce a luxury biscuit brand, suitable for gifting, the brand partnered with Edinburgh-based creative agency, threebrand, (, to create a distinct look and feel for Mary Steele Luxury Biscuits.

Test research was performed as the brand and design firm collaborated on the design direction for the packaging, narrowing down concepts. Key colors—black and yellow—are used heavily throughout the Mary Steele collection, with secondary colors utilized to represent flavors, such as, warm spiced ginger depicted as an orange-brown and golden syrup, a warm golden hue. “Target matching, by setting one product/substrate first and then matching against the master helps stabilize any color variation.” explains Campbell Laird, managing director at threebrand. A plethora of materials was employed for the vast collection, including tin plates, card bags, self-adhesive sticker seals and ribbon. Tins and the petit four bags were sourced through Cosfibel (

The majority of print, including tin printing, in the collection is lithography, selected for its capability of producing a high fidelity look.

Mary Steele’s packaging combines both matte and gloss finish with embossing detail, further supporting the luxurious appeal. A library image of a lady and gentleman enthralled in a tea party is featured on the boxed biscuit variety; the tea time design concept is a result of influence from the traditional tea ritual, a key representation of the brand and its values. Categories were crossed by threebrand, for design inspiration, the confectionary, chocolate and cosmetics realms were explored to achieve the contemporary, yet traditional charm the packaging offers.

Healthy Hydration
Ergonomic design promotes active lifestyle.

Vitasnella water brand had modern and glamorous advertising campaigns in the Italian marketplace, when it was acquired by Ferrarelle in 2012. But Vitasnella’s package design fell short of splendor and was misaligned with its target audience, men and women, aged 25 to 45, with a passion for wellness and sport activities.

Ferrarelle approached P.E.T. Engineering ( to restyle Vitasnella’s image. The brand set goals to transmit a more up-to-date aesthetic and iconographic codes to match Vitasnella’s promise of promoting a healthy lifestyle through proper hydration. Ergonomics of the packaging, to better suite its target audiences’ healthy lifestyle and consistency with the consumers’ perception of quality were all key objectives. “The light-weighting of the bottle, and more precisely, the modification of the handling make the bottle more ergonomic and easier to use. This innovation is really relevant because the brand Vitasnella can highlight its own positioning,” explains Gabriele Monda, brand manager of Vitasnella.

The feeling of being fit was translated to the PET bottle, featuring a tapered shape. This new harmonious design was achieved by altering the proportions of the upper and lower parts of the former bottle. P.E.T. Engineering removed the previous design’s complex decoration and inserted a graphic garnish, starting at the shoulder of the bottle, flowing sinuously along the body, to evoke water entering the body, to achieve lightness. The graphic garnishing serves a dual purpose, adding structural strength to the grip area for enhanced ergonomic performance.

A plastic wraparound label features the Vitasnella name surrounded by water in motion and an icon of two figures in red and blue representing an active lifestyle.

Vino Vanity

Winery approaches package redesign with the same care as aging its product.

Justin Vineyards & Winery, Paso Robles purveyor of ultra-premium wines, based on the Bordeaux grape variety recently revealed a package redesign created with the same care and attention to detail as their prized varietals. The new custom bottle for the 2010 vintage Isosceles, was developed in collaboration with glass packaging supplier Saver ( of France and aims to elevate quality perception and deliver something innovative, proprietary and contemporary to the market.

The in-house packaging design group at Justin spent nearly two years perfecting the Isosceles redesign. A silk-screened label, which is adhered directly onto the custom-molded bottles using organic inks and real gold detail for Justin’s logo was developed. The internationally recognized Isosceles triangle logo was one element the designers kept from the previous label. David Bowman, vice president of marketing at Justin, explains the significance of the triangle design, “The triangle has been synonymous with Justin Winery & Vineyards for more than 20 years. It was something that the winery’s founder, Justin Baldwin, introduced in concert with the flagship Isoscles wine to denote the three Bordeaux varieties used in crafting the wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot).”

Silk-screening was selected over a paper label because of its durability properties. The organic, water-based ink is baked into the surface of the glass and is extremely robust, as well. Precious metals add to the luxurious feel of the bottle. Isosceles’ capsule is made from a black matte metal, and logoed with ISO in gold embossing. The tin capsule is also fully recyclable and consists of a water-based paint. Corks were hand selected to complement the bottle. Natural cork is sustainable and coveted for its breathability.

Design goals included presenting a clean, understated presence that mirrors the elegant, hand-crafted nature of the wines. “The decision to update the design of Justin’s iconic packaging was not made lightly, as reflected in the two years we invested in this effort,” says Bowman. “The success of Justin Vineyards & Winery is deeply rooted innovation. With these new, progressive designs we are preserving important links to our history while honoring this commitment to evolve.”

Fun Fizz
New offering from Honest Tea offers up bubbly package design.

Honest Tea set sights on introducing a soda line, unexplored by the tea connoisseur until now. Honest Fizz, a naturally sweetened soda with zero calories and zero sugars is available in four varieties: Root Beer, Professor Fizz, Orange Pop and Lemon Limey.

Honest Tea approached Beardwood & Co. ( to assist with the package design of this new and uncharted territory for the brand. Collaborative goals included, creating a design that has strong shelf impact and would ignite trial. Honest Tea’s brand personality of, energy, delicious taste, simplicity, and a fun and playful attitude needed to shine through. Beardwood & Co. conquered the lofty task of differentiating Honest Fizz from the rest of the Honest Tea offerings, while drawing the customers’ attention to the zero calorie benefit and distinguishing the four individual flavor varieties.

“After selecting the top groupings, we began to develop illustrations and worked iteratively back and forth to make sure the graphics were on brand and the communication hierarchy met the communicative goals of a zero calorie soda, a completely different offering from the Honest Tea brand,” says Sarah Williams, partner and creative director, Beardwood & Co.

The sleek 12 oz. aluminum can, sourced through Ball ( is printed in-house by Honest Tea’s high-resolution, photographic quality Eyeris technique, producing quality images on pack. Williams describes the design elements and custom illustrations incorporated, “Bubbles were always a key part of the design to communicate carbonation,” she explains.

Celebrating 30 Years!

Exciting News: Product Ventures is acquired by CPG private investor group led by Sean Bisceglia