You Can Drink Boxed Wine And Still Be Fancy AF

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By: Bill McCool

There was a magical time in a far away realm called the 1970’s and 80’s where Franzia boxed wine was a staple of both BBQ’s and bar mitzvahs. But, alas, we all must grow up and put away childish things, as your parents moved on to greener pastures as they were just trying to save for that fancy liberal arts college education of yours where you minored in the djembe drum.

Which is precisely why you need to drink more boxed wine. But how can you still get the same enjoyment from a nice bottle of cabernet when premium boxed wine sounds like a vintner’s unicorn?

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Wine maker’s like the UK’s When In Rome are looking to change the misconceptions surrounding boxed wine by offering consumers a first-rate experience at a fraction of the cost. Working with independent wine producers in Italy, they’ve released ten different varieties which are now available at high-end retailers like Waitrose and Harvey Nichols as sales for boxed wine have surged in recent years.

So what are the advantages of going boxed over bottle? The most obvious reason, as mentioned above, is the price point, and you might be shocked to find out that you’re paying for less overhead. Bottling, as it turns out, is quite the costly affair, and with boxed you’re using less material when it comes to packaging. But while some wine lovers might be allergic to boxed wine and screw caps, any trip to Trader Joe’s will tell you: no matter how many corks you stick in a bottle of wine, it can still suck.


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On average, you’re also getting about four bottles of wine inside each box, which place less strain on the environment. You have brands like Black Box which are made in fully recyclable packaging, so not only you’re doing away with single-use bottles, but the boxes are easier to stack and take up less space when shipping. Also, because they’re lighter, you’re helping to lower emissions as their glass counterparts are much heavier.

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The packaging has also greatly improved since the heyday of your parent’s ragers. Franzia always has always had the appearance of looking like your trainwreck best pal just poured wine all over you and your glass, but When In Rome’s packaging dials up their artisanal qualities with the look of a premium, high-quality brand. Similarly, Bbox’s packaging features bold texts and playful type, proving that if you throw three or four fonts onto a box, it’s bound to look intriguing.

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And while you might say, OK, I’m getting all of this wine at once, but won’t it spoil? Not at all. Because the wine is in a vacuum sealed bag, it’s not privy to oxidation and it can last upwards of 6 weeks, whereas as typical bottle of wine that’s been opened will turn sour after one week. However, brands like Public House focus and celebrate the communal attributes of a good box of wine enjoyed amongst friends—because if you’re putting one of these down yourself in the span of an evening, you might be Nic Cage in Leaving Las Vegas. They also include ten recyclable cups with the box, making it the perfect picnic companion for you and your friends.

So, the next time you decide to host a soiree (or that drum circle with all of your other unemployed college percussionist pals), don’t reach for the pricier bottles when there’s plenty of tasty and less expensive options in a box.


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Look at more boxed wine packaging inspiration here.


Bill McCool
Bill McCool is a freelance writer based out of Los Angeles. Though new to the world of design, he has always been a storyteller by trade and he seeks to inspire and cultivate a sense of awe with the work and artists he profiles. When he’s not winning over his daughters with the art of the Dad joke, he is usually working on a pilot, watching the Phillies, or cooking an elaborate meal for his wife.

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31 Great Gin Packaging Designs

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We know that for many the holidays involve enjoying a myriad of spirits and cocktails, and in order to celebrate, we picked out 31 great gin packaging designs.


1. Benham’s Gin

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2. OLD SPORT GIN

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3. Archaeologist Gin Celebrates Vintage Motorcycles in a Unique Way

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4. Rogue Society

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5. Gillemore – magical gin

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6. Blind Tiger Gin

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7. 78º Gin

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8. The Crisp Design of Lussa Gin

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9. Go Places Near and Far with Far Reaches Gin

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10. This is a Beautiful Japanese Inspired Collaboration

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11. Noteworthy Gin

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12. Woodcut Barrel Rested Gin: Your G&T’s New Best Friend

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13. Crosby Gin is Bringing The Handmade Feels

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14. This Scottish Gin Captures The Spirit of the Sea In a Beautiful Way

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15. Boodles Gin

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16. Crafters Gin

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17. Ginabo

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18. This Stunning Gin Comes Straight From A Scottish Island

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19. Check Out This Gorgeous Conceptual Gin that Celebrates South African Nature

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20. Aussie Agency Designs Gin Bottles Inspired By Land and Sea

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21. Gin Rawal

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22. Superfantastic Pink Pepper

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23. Henry Oliver Gin

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24. KAAVA, When Gin Meets Sparkling

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25. This Pink Gin Comes With A Funky Factor

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26. Aeijst Styrian Pale Gin

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27. Durham Gin

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28. This Gin’s Packaging Combines the Gorgeous and the Grotesque

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29. Winchester Gin Celebrates English History in a Gorgeous Way

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30. Something Wicked this way Comes with Mayfield Gin

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31. The Dieline Awards 2017: The Newmarket Gin

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Bringing Heritage to Today’s Trendiest Chocolate, Compartes

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As an entrepreneur, you’re in for a lot learning by doing. Turning to other business owners and learning about their experiences, though, can help you on your own journey. In this final part of a 4-part series, Jonathan Grahm, owner of Compartes, reflects on the challenges he’s encountered, mistakes he’s made, and what’s in store for the future of Compartes.

Read part 1, part 2, and part 3.

If you could go back and do anything differently in this process, what would you want to change?

Jonathan Grahm: I wouldn’t change a thing. Every single thing is part of the evolution of the brand, of me personally, as a businessman, chocolate maker and as a human. My whole journey has led me to where I am today and I couldn’t be more proud of the brand. It’s so rewarding working with chocolate (dream job) and that people love the work that we have created. It brings so much happiness to so many people.

Did you make any big mistakes during the first few years you were in business? If yes, can you share one or two?

Jonathan Grahm: I don’t believe in mistakes; I see everything as a learning experience. Everything we do leads us toward the future. Nothing can be considered a mistake, because everything in life plays out the way it’s supposed to. As humans, we are where we are at that very moment because of what we have gone through. Compartes, is where it is today because of each experience, and I am so proud of where we are, good, bad, plus or minus.

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What is your main advice to other entrepreneurs who would like to start their own company?

Jonathan Grahm: Stay true to yourself and what you’re trying to create. Don’t look to outside influences or outside validation. Take what you love and try to put as much of yourself and your passion into your product. When you create something from a true genuine place, people can see that. Compartes is full of heart and I think you can tell that in our end product.

What’s in store for the future of Compartes?

Jonathan Grahm: Compartes has been in business 67 and i think it has over 100 more to go…200! It’s a brand and a product that will stand the test of time. I really believe that Compartes is one of the world’s greatest chocolate brands. It will only get bigger and bigger. I’d love to bring it to more cities across the world. We have 2 locations in LA. One of the most unique chocolate shops in the world (Our Westfield Location).

We currently have 6 stores in Tokyo Japan—and will be expanding to more selected cities soon!

Since we are small everything I do is thought out, I don’t rush into anything and that is part of the whole process.

We’re currently working on a book, more retail shops, tons more chocolate bars in our future!

We’ve got Frozen Hot Chocolate which has been a phenomenal success, and I would love to launch more chocolate products soon. (Hot) hot chocolate will also be in our future.

And we’ve got really delicious amazing valentines selections (as always).

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What do you think has contributed to the success of your business?

Jonathan Grahm: I think that Compartes success lies in our heritage and history.

Our purposeful attention to detail—I’m such a perfectionist when it comes to flavor profile—down to the design of the bars and to the retail space.

Again, I am constantly challenging myself to do better, I wake up and ask myself, “What I can do better?” I always want to propel the business forward; I am never satisfied.

Also, making sure I dont expand the business too quickly all my moves are thought out. I am not in a rush or hurry to turn Compartes into the next Pinkberry.


Margaret Andersen
Margaret is a freelance graphic designer and writer based in Los Angeles. She received her MFA in Graphic Design from the California Institute of the Arts. She writes for AIGA’s blog Eye on Design, and is currently designing futuristic things for USC’s World Building Media Lab.

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This Healthy Cannabis Brand Believes You Don’t Need Sacrifice Your Body for a Buzz

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Pot brownies and gummy worms are perfectly fine, but it doesn’t change the fact that they’re still junk food. Pura Vida is a line of cannabis-infused superfoods that embrace healthy eating and lifestyles. Redesigned by Brewing Creativity, they updated the packaging to look more contemporary and relatable for today’s consumer, as well as showcasing the mouthwatering flavors.

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Before & After

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“We got to re-brand and design all the packaging and marketing collateral for Pura Vida Health, a cannabis infused superfood product line that has granola, trail mix and seed mixes, and protein bars.”

“We didn’t want to draw away from the elements they already had—palms, leaves and the tropical vibe, but we definitely wanted to make it more modern, more delicious looking and appealing.”

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Designed By: Brewing Creativity

Client: Pura Vida Health

Country: United States

City: Los Angeles, CA

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This Tattoo Care Line Is Directly Imitating Art With Its Packaging

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LEBLUME. imitated art when designing this eye-catching tattoo care packaging for Rufner Supplies, a Spanish brand that specializes in tattoo supplies.

“The cosmetic family is composed of different products for tattoo care, so the potential consumers are tattoo studios and professional users.

The main idea was to have tattoos drive the packaging and design a line of products according to this particular sector. For that, we used a very recognizable code of Japanese-style tattoos.

On the other hand, we focused on unifying all the products to create a strong brand identity and obtain an image that stands out.”

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“For this, we have had the help of the illustrator Antonio Bravo, who digitally developed the illustration of the Japanese carp. This illustration is the background of all the products, so we developed a geometric shaped code to create a difference between the packaging and house the text.”

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Designed By: LEBLUME
Client: Rufner Supplies
Illustration: Antonio Bravo
Location: Spain

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These Conceptual Pills Come With A Simple Yet Effective Look

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Urszula Krasny designed the simple yet effective conceptual packaging for Apotheke, a line of pills that aim to help consumers with a variety of needs.

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“Apotheke comes from the Latin, apotheca (‘storehouse’), from Ancient Greek ἀποθήκη (apotheke, ‘storehouse’). I wanted to create a contemporary look with a bit of nostalgia. The design is strongly based on the composition.

Each label consists of black elements that are shaped after pills, tablets and capsules. These elements are used for the die-cut parts on matching boxes.”

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Designed By: Urszula Krasny

Location: Czech Republic

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The Handcrafted Modern & Slender Design to Säde Schnapps

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There’s no mistaking it: Säde is Nordic-inspired, through and through. Designed by KOOR, these flavorful schnapps don’t use a bunch of artificial ingredients but instead turn to nature for their unique, fresh flavors. It only makes sense, then, to have packaging inspired by nature as well. We spoke with KOOR to get more info on the meaning behind the name, the effort spent on handcrafted details, and more.

Walk us through the design process that you went through for this project.

KOOR: Säde has a bit longer story behind its “birth”. Säde’s origins are rooted actually in a restaurant called Umami—owned by two wonderful guys (both foodies by nature), award-winning sommelier Kristjan Päeske and head chef Janno Leppik. Their idea behind this restaurant is to offer exquisite high-quality food using fresh and seasonal raw materials. They play around with interesting ingredients and match their drinks for it.

Sometimes it means they need to create their own drinks to match the characteristic of their food.


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Their homemade liqueur got pretty popular in the restaurant and Kristjan and Janno saw a strong case to sell it in retail. A few years passed and their paths crossed with us in KOOR in their search for packaging design. Our team clicked from the first heartbeat as we were also consumers for that drink and frequent visitors of their restaurant. As first we agreed that the brand, packaging, naming has to reflect their ideology how they do things—purity, high quality and freshness—with a small twist.

So we chose the name Säde (“spark” in English) for various reasons, a major one being as the fruit gave it’s “last spark of life” to become the drink.

The restaurant’s food (and indeed drinks) are produced using Nordic ingredients and in the increasingly popular and recognised nordic culinary style—so we wanted to reflect this nordic purity and freshness and applied a fitting stylistic and personality to the art direction. It was fitting that the natural element of the product was proudly portrayed in a way that reflected the artisanal nature of the product.

This inspired the naturally derived prints that feature of the packaging design as representative of the handcrafting that goes into producing every small batch of the drink. Additionally, there is extensive copywriting, so we decided to call it schnapps instead of “berry liqueur” to avoid category preconceptions, and to tie further into nordic drinking culture.

What was one of the biggest goals you set out to achieve with Säde packaging and how did you accomplish it?

KOOR: We wanted the packaging to represent the natural and pureness of the drink whilst giving a strong indication of which part of the world this drink was from through its Nordic influenced stylistic. The leaf and wood motifs were created from carefully crafted ink prints and digital photographs, taken from the very trees and bushes the fruits were grown on. Some of the trees were damaged during a storm and we thought it would be a good idea to “capture their last spark (Säde)” in that way.

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How does the nordic influence make this product unique, and how did you try to express that in the packaging?

KOOR: Design from the north of Europe and indeed Nordic style—it tends to be about purity of form and clarity with an edge toward minimalism and a modern look. We wanted to inject this into the product, with the pure white base offset with styled black prints and typographic and layout choices that take cues from nordic design. It was important to make this product feel contemporary and fresh—shrugging off the more classical and traditional approaches with similar products in the category. We felt the purity of design language fitted the drink very well—due to only natural ingredients being added.

What was the most challenging part of this project?

KOOR: The most challenging part was actually a bit technical as it was very hard to find a stock 350ml bottles in such a small volume, and we had a very specific bottle in mind as it had to look very pure and natural in it’s form: modern, tall and slender.

Also the hours crafting the leaf and wood motifs took considerable care and attention to detail to get the result we wanted. Many photographs and ink prints were made, leaving a lot of inky hands at the studio!

If you could pick one aspect of the finished design that you like the most or feel especially proud of, what would it be and why?

KOOR: How we have taken something very old fashioned as a drink and made it something contemporary, fresh, and relevant, which we feel suits the product very well. It was also our utmost passion to  bring this great product into the limelight and open up its larger market potential through a considered and logical design thought processes. The fact that the sales vastly exceeded the client’s expectations makes us very happy, as always.

Share one lesson that you learned while developing the finished product.

KOOR: Go out, talk to people, take interest in how they really think and how they approach their business, and you can achieve amazing results.

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These Beauty Products Are Backed By Science

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QNY Creative designed the glitzy packaging for BeautyBio, a brand that aims to bring science and beauty together. A minimal approach to the design paired with gorgeous rose gold elements allows for a luxurious beauty line that shines against the rest.

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“In anticipation of a nationwide retail launch, Jamie O’Banion took the opportunity to unify her two HSN performance skincare success-stories: Beauty Bioscience and the award-winning GloPRO tool. As the founder of both skincare companies, she asked QNY Creative to redesign both lines and bring them together under one brand, BeautyBio. The 30+ SKU skincare line was designed with Science and Beauty in mind. The sleek grid, specially designed molecule and GloPRO microneedling dot pattern, and hints of silver foil allude to the premium quality and scientific DNA of the brand. The signature BeautyBio Blush and rose gold foil softens the look, making it more approachable and familiar for their core consumer. Part of this design challenge was transitioning the brand from an HSN-exclusive product, which is often assisted by elaborate sets and brand representatives, to something that could speak for itself on a retail shelf and convey a clear message of performance beauty that is ‘backed by science.’”

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Designed By: QNY Creative
Creative Director: Ezio Burani
Art Director: Samantha Clemente, Iker Iza
Lead Designer: Madeline Knuepfer, Hsiao-Han Chen
Client: Jamie O’Banion / Beauty BioScience
Marketing Director: James Ferranti, Anna Urban
Project Manager: Gisela Borrageiros
Location: New York, USA

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Chobani, America’s Favorite Yogurt, Redesigns Their Packaging

By: Bill McCool

Chobani is now the country’s biggest yogurt brand—not Dannon, not Yoplait, not Jamie Lee Curtis’s prized Activia. In the great battle royale of the yogurt aisle, Chobani has reigned supreme. Not bad for a brand that’s been in business for just over a decade.

They’ve also completely redesigned their packaging.

So, why now? If ever there was a time to rest on your laurels, isn’t this that moment? According to Chobani, absolutely not. In fact, it’s precisely the right point in time.

“It wasn’t so much just a packaging redesign, it was actually a rethink on the positioning of our company for future growth,” says Chobani’s Chief Creative Officer Leland Maschmeyer.

“Most people do this when they’ve fallen behind or fallen out of relevance, so they tend to rebrand from a position of weakness which I think causes some hastily-made decisions or for people to not achieve what they could have from a position of confidence. The fact that we are in a leading position makes it the best time to do it. It’s much harder to build on your successes and stay in the lead than just coast on them and fall behind.”


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As the leaders of their category, it’s only natural that their competitor would try to imitate them. On your most recent trip to the local grocery store, you maybe thought that yogurt aisle looked more like a yogurt-cloning factory.

But it was also a back-to-basics moment for the brand, one where they could go back to their essence of being a company that sells wholesome, organic products. Chobani sees themselves as part of a much larger food movement, one that in recent years has focused on the supply chain and just where our food is coming from.

“It’s expected that food should be natural, simple, and good,” Leland says. “It’s now moving to a conversation about how we experience food beyond just consumption and nutritional value. And that fundamentally is a question of experience. We wanted to bring design to the food category and reshape the way people experience products so that we could better align with where food is going in the next 10-20 years.”

Inspired by the folk art of the 19th century, their bright and vivid hand-drawn illustrations of fruit look as if they were lifted from a calendar straight out of the American Folk Art Museum. They clearly stand apart from the competition.

“Chobani has this really wonderful creative tension within it,” Leland says. “On one hand it’s democratic, traditional, and accessible. On the other hand, it’s modern, contemporary, creative, and innovative. Trying to find the meeting points and the overlap between those two is definitely a big challenge. But that tension is ripe for creative potential. Rather than find something new, we wanted to find creative inspiration within a visual vocabulary that came before us, a visual vocabulary that had a lot of the same characteristics that our brand has, and then try to reinvent and build on top of it.”


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So much of the brand is about people and community, it’s about doing things the old way, the simple way. And those are a lot of characteristics of folk art. At the same time, 19th-century folk art, if you look at it, actually looking like Bauhaus artwork and it predates it by 50 years.

That sense of modernity and tradition are on full display with the redesigned packaging by Chobani’s newly assembled in-house team. But don’t just say it’s a redesign and call it a day.

“This was about evolving the brand,” Leland says, “rather than changing the brand. We see it as just an improvement and re-articulation of what we’ve always been.”


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Bill McCool
Bill McCool is a freelance writer based out of Los Angeles. Though new to the world of design, he has always been a storyteller by trade and he seeks to inspire and cultivate a sense of awe with the work and artists he profiles. When he’s not winning over his daughters with the art of the Dad joke, he is usually working on a pilot, watching the Phillies, or cooking an elaborate meal for his wife.

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book signing at karen walker

Gooood morning, good morning! As you can see I am doing my final book signing for the year this Saturday 2nd December, from 12-1pm at the Newmarket Karen Walker store. I am pretty bloody excited to be doing it with such amazing people – Megan May of  Little Bird Organics, Eleanor Ozich from Petite Kitchen and the incredibly creative Sam Stuchbury to name a few!

If you haven’t bought a copy of Coming Unstuck yet I would really encourage you to come along as it is looking like stocks of the book will be selling out around Christmas and I don’t want you to miss out…and I haven’t decided on a second run yet, so it may be your last chance ever!

Haha – anyhoo, that’s it for my big sales pitch – come and say hi, I’d love to see you there…

 

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