RSS Feeds

Advanced search

You are in:


SPECIAL REPORT: Self-adhesive labels

As increasing numbers of people around the world are discovering a taste for wine and exploring the immense choice of styles now available, never before has label design had such an important role to play. Felicity Murray investigates the design and practical advantages of purpose-made self-adhesive labels.

Today’s ‘new generation’ younger wine drinkers may be more open to creative and imaginative design, but they are equally discerning about the quality. Packaging communicates all there is to know about the product inside, so wineries need to consider their choice of bottle, label and closure with as much care and passion as they do the wine itself.

In a crowded marketplace it is the visual presentation that gives a brand stand-out and invites the consumer to select the bottle from the shelf, feel it, and read the label. All these sensations influence the buying decision, which research shows, is taken in a matter of seconds.

Making the right label choice
For a winery, making the right choice of label can be daunting, and requires technical advice. Which, for example, is more appropriate – wet glue, self-adhesive or sleeving?

The functional qualities of a label are as important as its looks. For example, with self-adhesives, many different functions can be combined.   The printable label material could be a wet-strength paper; the adhesive could be 'wash off' for returnable bottles, or extra-clear to partner a transparent film label when a ‘no-label’ direct-print look is desired; and the choice of release liner, the third part of the self-adhesive construction, can help a winery respond to the needs of high-speed label application equipment for long runs of, for instance, a high-production wine.

The Fasson-brand dedicated self-adhesive wine labelling range from Avery Dennison, for example, offers a wide choice of brand differentiation options, both papers and films, providing designers with the broadest possible 'canvas' and a global product range.

Wine and label – partners in artistic performance
Francesco Graziani, creative designer at Firenze and Düsseldorf-based international wine and spirits graphic design agency Doni & Associati, which has some of the world’s most demanding wineries on its long and impressive list of clients, believes both the wine and the label are equally ‘art-requiring’ .
"In this market", says Graziani, "‘more and more customers want to touch and feel the product, want to be impressed… and we want it, too."

The agency has recently designed the labels for the whole range of Tenuta del Buonamico wines. The Tuscan winery was one of the first in Italy to produce quality wines from the now internationally known and grown grape varieties. During the 1930s, its white wine was considered the one of best in Italy and was served at the wedding of the last King of Italy.

"We redesigned the brand identity from logo to labels," explains Graziani.
"The wine range is divided into three levels – a base line, a medium line and a the top level line – each with a different look, and requiring a different labelstock. 

"The base line comprises four wines, one red, two whites and one rosé, so for this we needed a wet strength paper. We designed a stamp-shaped label, printed screen process and offset on Fasson metallic paper. The print was so accurate that the result is really amazing.  

"For the second level wine, Cercatoja, we wanted something more traditional but, at the same time, modern. We decided on a simplified version of the Montecarlo skyline (Montecarlo being the name of the small village in Tuscany were the vineyard is sited), printed with a black glossy varnish that jumps out from an ultra-matt black foreground. The chosen paper was a Fasson Valloné Blanc.

"‘The top-line wine, Fortino, required something interesting and significant in a balanced and clear composition. The result was a label with a small image of a fort tower printed with a gold matt foil on a screen-printed gold, and enhanced by the clear surface of Fasson Alinea Blanc.”

The label’s integral rôle in branding
The wine label plays an integral role in delivering the desired branding and imagery. Graziani cites two more examples: Amantis Iperione, a top level 100% Sangiovese, and a rosé wine called Pepe Rosa (pink pepper) from Tenimenti Luigi d'Alessandro.

"On the Sangiovese bottle, the soft and grainy surface of the Fasson White Cotton label gives an extraordinary tactile feeling, exalted by a dark bronze colour in the bottom part of the label. Fasson material has always given us great satisfaction where the paper surface has a predominant role. A paper label can be luxurious:  it involves not only our visual sense, but also our sense of touch, and nowadays customers are increasingly geared towards a multi-sensory communication experience. We love the tactile sensation of a paper surface," he adds.

For the rosé, however, the designers wanted to create the suggestion of a pepper box, with the pepper represented by the rosé wine inside the bottle. By using a frosted glass bottle and a Fasson PP Light Top Clear film label screen printed in a matt white ­with ‘window’ areas left unprinted, the rosé can be seen only through the transparent areas on the label.

Graziani explained that while film-based self-adhesive labels give designers more options in shape and expression than paper, and sleeves offer greater creative freedom, the final feeling is modern, which does not always work with more traditional or high-level products.

Specifying the self-adhesive labelstock
When specifying a self-adhesive labelstock, Doni & Associati  designers select a ‘mix’ of face (printable) stock, adhesive, and release liner to meet the needs of that particular application. But before deciding on a new label design, a number of important factors need to be considered:  the type of wine (is a wet-strength label required?);  the colour and technical characteristics of the bottle;  and the way the labels will be applied.

"This is very important, not only in the choice of the paper surface or colour, but also so we know if we can use a transparent label, if we can have sight through the bottle, if the adhesive is clear, if we need shape memory or not, and which is the best area on the bottle on which to position the label without risk of misplacement, and so on," explains Graziani.

The Fasson Wine Label Style Guide
Alynn Bourinet at the wine label development and prototyping agency, L’Atelier Daedalus in France, concurs with Doni & Associati’s Francesco Graziani that Avery Dennison is providing an exceptionally helpful service to designers and producers in the wine trade. She cites the new Fasson Wine Label Style Guide in particular. "It’s a very useful tool." she says.

The Fasson wine label style guide is grouped in three specialty selections – Rich, Cool, and Pure –  which contain printed face stocks that illustrate the effects that can be achieved to suit a variety of different consumer groups. 
"The three booklets are based on three different themes and these help us to pre-select a 'direction' of paper to fit a client's brief," explains Alynn. "If, for example, the brief is for a very shiny and trendy product, we would go straight to the Cool booklet." 

The guide demonstrates all the traditional printing processes on an enormous range of standard face materials — textured and plain papers, films and metallised facestocks, as well as stocks for digital imaging technologies, which are popular for short-run and limited edition wine labels. 

In terms of adhesives, options for the wine trade include wash-off qualities for returnable bottles and ice bucket performance for chilled wines.

Both paper and film release liners are available, according to the producers’ needs for automatic label dispensing – and the most environmentally-friendly choice is a PET liner, which is easily and successfully recyclable.

1 February 2010 - Felicity Murray