How To Design a Wine Label That Compels Customers to Pick Your Bottle

Are you tasked with designing a wine label or hiring a designer to do it for you? If so, do you know what you need to do to compel customers to pick up your bottle from the shelf? After all, that’s what designing a wine label is all about: nailing the details that make your wine the instinctive choice.

How much does a label matter? You probably know this already, but…it’s next door to everything when it comes to marketing your wine. After all, when you go wine shopping, after you’ve picked your type (red, white, rose, etc.), your price point, and maybe even your region, what helps you make that final choice? It’s the label, right?

You’re definitely not alone. asked 2,000 wine consumers to choose between a selection of red and white wines based only on pictures of the product. 80% said the label clinched their decision.

Want your bottle of wine to be the most undeniable, jump-off-the-shelves option your ideal customer could ever encounter? Read on! This is our quick but comprehensive guide to getting all the details right.

Consider your Target Demographic

Naturally, all design projects start with this question: “Who are you trying to reach and what speaks to them?” Ideally, you should be able to describe your perfect customer psychographically and demographically — i.e., in terms of their hopes, dreams, and values, as well in terms of nitty gritty descriptors.

Here are a few useful questions:

  1. How old is my typical customer and what does a person this age tend to value?
  2. What’s my customer’s lifestyle? Where and how are they probably going to drink this wine?
  3. What kind of person does my customer want to be and will they see that kind of person reflected in this label?

Include Essential Information

The LCBO, the BCLDB, and the Government of Canada have specific requirements for wine labels. If you want a little more info than we have here, check out this great cheat sheet.

Here’s a quick list of what you need to include on the front:

  • The brand name
  • The common name in both French and English (i.e., “wine/vin”)
  • Country of origin in both French and English
  • Net quantity
  • Alcohol strength in both French and English

Here’s a quick list of what you need to include on the back: 

  • Allergen declaration in both French and English
  • Dealer name and address in both French and English
  • GTIN bar code
  • Lot code
  • Organic claims in both French and English

Your Wine Label Design Checklist

Now onto the fun stuff! Here’s where your creativity comes into play. Thinking deeply about that ideal customer you defined, choose the elements that will come together to make an undeniable wine label.

Wine label close-up photo

Choose Material

When it comes to choosing the right material that your label will be printed on, the most popular choices are a classic natural traditional paper face stock. Some other options are a linen-type paper, a textured stock, and a stock with a velvety feel. The traditional paper material is excellent for adding embellishments to the label such as Foil stamping and Embossing. Keep in mind that wine label materials need to have a high wet strength and be able to stand up to water and moisture while keeping their original look.

From there, you can make fun choices. Clear, so you can see the wine behind it? Metallic? There are probably more choices than you’re aware of—ask us about this!

Choose Colours

First, when you’re choosing colours, remember that a white wine is going to be in a clear bottle, whereas red will come in green. What complements those canvasses? In red, it’s typically going to be deep colours or a white label that has some colours (again, usually deep and rich colours) printed on it. White wine labels, on the other hand, have lighter colour schemes.

Of course, when you’re considering colours, think about your customer above and beyond “what’s typically done”. For example, are you targeting a Gen Z crowd that will value products that aren’t afraid to make unconventional statements?

Choose Typography

With this label, you’re going to pick only one to three typefaces, and you have to consider each one carefully. If your brand more traditional? Opt for serif fonts that look more formal. Is your brand progressive and unconventional? Choose a more contemporary sans-serif font. In any case, you need to pick a typeface that will be maximally attention-getting; you need something that stands out in the design as a whole.

Choose Imagery

This is easily the most creative step: choosing imagery. First, ask yourself: is my audience more traditional or more progressive? Then, how traditional or how progressive? At the most traditional end of the spectrum, you might see elegant drawings. At the most progressive end of the spectrum, you might see bold, quirky cartoons. And, of course, there’s a whole vast range of tones to strike in between these two extremes. Also, letting typography lead and opting for no extra graphics is a perfectly viable choice.

If you need extra help working through these decisions, don’t hesitate to contact us. Here at Great Little Box Company/Ideon Packaging (GLBC), we’ve worked with so many wine clients and we understand what moves bottles off of shelves! Good luck and enjoy your design journey.

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