Next up is Grass Fire. I’ve tooled around with this project for a long while now, and as I’ve mentioned before it has become a slight love/hate relationship. Love, because it’s such a rich brand idea, with lots of history and creative opportunity. Hate, because I’ve never worked on a wine label before, or much packaging at all, and the learning curve has been steep for me. Package design is NOT simply logos on a box, and I’m ashamed I didn’t have more insight to avoid that mentality. Integration of the brand into the packaging is key, as well as a technical aspect of fitting and resolving issues of proportions and color balance. When you are designing a label for a wine bottle for instance, the color of the glass of that bottle must obviously fit with the palette of the brand. The physicality of the products become just as important in the brand as typographic choices, shape, and spacing. Those thoughts and lessons are ringing through my ears as I continue to develop this actual label. In the meantime however I have resolved the logotype. I’m proud to present the Grass Fire final logo:
Rising typography. I know. It’s not really condoned in the world of type. I would be interested in criticism or dialogue from enthusiasts out there, but the utility is something that I believe can be done, and of course, should only be done when relevant. The brand is about rising from the ashes, understanding their history and appreciating where they came from. That’s where the source of the taste comes from in their fruit, and therefore their wine. This has evolved over a lot of drawing and consideration into a layered cross-section like graphic, but how the typography integrates with that was the challenge.
I wanted the logo to play upon the layered stepped shape like music dances on a staff. And I wanted that dance to move upwards. Typography doesn’t naturally lend itself to this direction and Centaur might not be the perfect face for it, but the care and detail to the swash in this font charmed me to the point of exclusive dedication. It has the delicacy of the sophisticated wine industry, but the sobriety of tact. That, and it exudes both the growth of grass and the flicker of fire without some illustration forcing that quality. The swash IS Grass Fire. Taking the typography a step further though, it’s a rare thing for swash to be set together unless it is designed whole cloth by a calligrapher, something I am not. A playful resizing and puzzling together of the nine letterforms however seemed to be working in my eyes, and in the end, an upward movement made sense conceptually and graphically.
The integration of the typography into this layered back drop evolved from a rigid containment of letterforms within those layers of color all the way to a disregard for the layers’ intervals. In the end, I’ve broken out of considering the layers some form of musical staff upon which the typography is notated. Instead, contextual copy adheres to the layers for support and recognition of the form, but the logo breaks its stiff structure to evoke the playfulness of the brand’s namesake.
I also had a remarkable idea along the way that’s worth noting. At one point I dragged the whole diamond layered back drop out and into the logo itself when the logo was not the label, so that the diamond shape would become a key player in the graphic identity. For instance, when the logo was seen on paper, the letters would have their playful arrangement but they danced around the diamond shape that was included in the graphic; when the logo was on the label, the diamond WAS the label shape and the type existed in its playful arrangement upon that back drop. It’s hard to explain, hopefully the images can show the idea better, but in the end, the typography by itself was too difficult to read, too playful, too illegibly dissatisfying. I wished to arrange the letterforms in a manner that was both the whim of fickle fire and an upward movement. Therefore, I’ve landed on arrangement in slide 11 above.
I’m not entirely sure it will exist in these exact colors. I am working out those color choices currently (with the help of my shy russian blue, Vanish) and I’m highly considering an additional texture like element very similar to this beautiful pen drawing I uncovered by an artist online named Erin Dollar. I think it encapsulates much of my impression of the brand of Grass Fire and although I may not draw from her designs whole cloth, I may incorporate something like it to add a dimension of texture to the background of the label.
Here’s the image of the layered earth, something I was more or less looking for from the start but didn’t know where to find it.
Possible integration of such a texture design overlaying the current label idea: