DEFY wine

by Alianne Valladares-Prieto on 02/16/2021 | 3 Minute Read

Who says wine has to be pretentious? Move over, glass bottles. Out of the way, boxed wine. DEFY is out to do exactly that—defy the rules and norms associated with traditional wine bottling and labeling.

Taking an appreciation for the metallic hues of a aluminum can, DEFY partnered up with STUDIO AS-CC in order to collaborate on a new, refreshing take on wine packaging. The studio placed notable attention on the recurring motif of a closed fist around a robust bunch of grapes. Alluding to the fact that they do not compromise quality, this symbol serves to further disrupt norms on both the box and label. 

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DEFY is a startup, challenger UK wine brand that produces organic Italian wine in Italy, packages it in the UK, and then sells to the UK market. DEFY was introduced to STUDIO AS-CC by a mutual friend to help with a full rebrand after they had developed a new branding strategy around their purpose, vision, and consumer audience.

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The most important part was the cans themselves. DEFY packages their wine in 250ml slimline cans and we knew they needed to be able to stand alone on the shelf, next to other drinks, and still manage to stand out. We also wanted a strong design aesthetic to be reflected in the work. Leslie, the owner and operator of DEFY, wanted to have something that people would be proud to have shown off in their homes. Since Leslie is launching DEFY both directly to consumers, as well as through other stores and wholesalers, the can is the one constant. Also, part of DEFY's ethos is being direct, honest, and straightforward. Removing all the snobbery and obfuscation around wine to deliver a delicious, high-quality drink in a light and convenient way. 

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What was important to all of us was that we didn't shy away from the design of the cans. We are not trying to hide them. We have designed cans before, and if you are not going to print on the cans, you have roughly two options: sticky wrap-around labels or fully-encased shrink sleeves. The shrink sleeves have a lot of issues with quality on application and the tactile experience because they can often feel 'plasticky'. Which left us with using wrap-around labels. We think the outcome was pretty rad.

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Typically, what you see with wrap-around labels, is designers trying to cover up as much of the can as they are able to. But this feels contrived and obvious. So we wanted to take a different approach and lean into it celebrating the aluminum can a bit more. We ended up deciding on a partial-height label. Which, if you compare it to a wine bottle, is an ode to traditional labeling. Leslie worked with us and with his own printer and was actually able to source paper from a company which makes Italian wine bottle labels. This has a really high-end, beautiful feel to it when you get one in your hands. Success. 

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