Snapshots: March 2014

Posted: April 8, 2014 by
Kara Dunford

Sweet and Silken
Mistela wine dresses up for the festivities.
“As I am Italian, I’m obsessed with details. Details make the difference,” explains Francesca Della Croce, the freelance designer responsible for Bodegas Antonio Arráez’s Mistela package redesign. Della Croce embarked upon the challenge to liven Bodegas Antonio Mistela.

Playing with the varietal designation, Della Croce altered the Mistela name to Miss Tela, creating a new identity. Typical dress of the colorful Valencian celebration Fallas, the biggest fiesta in Spain inspired the label design. Sparing no detail, Della Croce researched the rich tradition of silk crafting in Valencia, visiting Museo del Colegio Arte Mayor de la Seda, a Valencian museum to better understand the art of local silk crafting. Photos were taken from the original designs by Vives y Marí (, Spanish silk craftsmen, located out of Xirivella.

Della Croce, insistent on fine details, searched for a type of paper reminiscent of silk when the consumer touched the label. She stumbled upon Manter (, a Spanish supplier with a label offering called, Costellation Silk Paper that fit the bill, luxurious feel, yet strong and water resistant. The most difficult element of the design project was the printing process, or finding a printer who could deliver the vibrant floral graphic on the unique silk-like paper label. Della Croce discovered Graficas Varias (, who was up to the printing challenge.

A custom typeface was designed by Della Croce for the Miss Tela label, evoking a hand written calligraphy feel, without competing with the floral design on pack. A small booklet explains the characteristics of the product and history of the package design inspiration rests on the bottle’s neck.


Restoring an American Tradition
Breathing life into hard cider packaging.
“Hard cider has a long history in the United States. Johnny Appleseed was actually on a mission to grow more apple trees for cider, not pie,” Steve Sandstrom, founder and creative director of Sandstrom Partners ( enlightens.  “Eventually cider was replaced by beer as the predominant alcoholic beverage of choice.” Fortunately, a recent interest in the return of hard ciders has swept the nation, introducing American and international brands to the market. Experienced cider maker, David Cortz saw a window of opportunity to put his expertise to work and introduce a quality hard cider to the spirits industry.

Construction of the organic brewery and bottling line in Healdsburg, CA, simultaneously advanced with the creation of the brand identity and packaging by Sandstrom Partners. Product names were inspired by tools commonly used on a farm. “The tools represent old world farming practices, but also the do-it-yourself spirit of the team,” says Sandstrom. With Sonoma Cider serving as the brand name, slightly more aggressive designations were selected for the various flavor varieties: The Hatchet, for apple; The Anvil, bourbon apple; and The Pitchfork, a pear offering.

Custom illustrations were created by the design agency to represent the various farming tools on the labels and cartons. Color choices were inspired per flavor. The colors intend to deliver a pop against the dark background. Metallic gold is harmonious with the color of the cider and evokes a high standard. Four spot colors: black, gray, cream and metallic gold are utilized as a brand standard, with additional spot colors per flavor offerings.

The Sonoma Cider’s logotype was created specifically for the brand and is based on the typeface Gotham. Supporting typefaces include Simple Type and Caslon—a mix of classic, serif and contemporary, sans serif.


Fruitful Flexo
Dried fruit expert enters new venture.
Stoneridge Orchards, The Dried Fruit Experts, partnered with Murray Brand Communications ( to introduce a brand new offering from the well established purveyor. The dried fruit brand desired a packaging system for this new venture that would emphasize that the product offering is quality whole fruit enrobed in premium dark chocolate and Greek yogurt, opposed to the jelly-filled candy sold by competitors.

The Murray Brand Communications design team presented Stoneridge Orchards with five package design concepts to select from. “I think they selected this design direction because it really communicated immediately the idea of enrobing the fruit in the chocolate [and yogurt]. The whole pieces of fruit splashing into the big pool of chocolate [and yogurt] was such an immediate visual story that the consumer could get exactly what this product was, without even reading anything on the package,” comments Scott Knudsen, Murray Brand Communications director, brand strategy and project management.

On pack, a medallion system was created to call out product features, such as, 70% and 52% cocoa on the dark chocolate varieties, and the tagline, Rich & Creamy, on the Greek yogurt varieties. The medallion incorporation and installment of a dotted graphic line were both details inspired from premium chocolate packaging. A modified script font was utilized for copy such as, dark chocolate and Greek yogurt, evoking a high-end appeal. “It’s nice to have a cohesive look, instead of having three or four typefaces, that can kind of feel jumbled and not as elegant,” explains Murray Brand Communications design director, Brad Berberich.

Cranberry, blueberry and Montmorency cherry images were created by hypo-realistic illustration. Fruit images were captured via use of camera and then retouched in Photoshop, adding layers of detail and embellishing with highlights, providing a hypo-realistic feel. A clear flexo-film package supplied by Sierra Converting ( features a small window on the back, for consumers to see the actual enrobed whole fruit pieces.


Flavorful Fashioning
Essential oils add flavor to food packaging sector.
Aftelier Chef’s Essences, an array of pure essential oils developed by Mandy Aftel, award-winning natural perfumer and author are adding flavor to shelves nationwide. 

The package design venture completed by Cult Partners ( makes use of illustrations focused on botanical ingredients and large numerals to help identify the variety of flavor offerings. Inspired by vintage cocktail bitters packaging, Cult Partners strives for an authentic feel on pack with sophistication that appeals to an affluent consumer seeking a new specialty food product. Vintage flavor cues via use of illustrations and various colors are used effectively to differentiate flavors amongst the family of oils. Color selection intends to be indicative of the flavor, green serving as basil and yellow for lemon.

Cult Partners’ Mike Hester, partner, creative director details the organization process of such an extensive collection, “With literally hundreds of flavors in her assortment, it was necessary to create packaging that was as much a cataloging system as it was packaging,” Dingbats are incorporated around the brand name, as well as a crossed fork and knife graphic to provide a simple design flourish. Custom illustrations commissioned from a local artist depict key ingredients and serve as a prominent primary display panel for consumers to easily distinguish flavors. A simplified version of the ingredient illustrations appears on the vial, allowing differentiation once in the consumer’s pantry. The outer package is a coated cardboard solid bleached board and the inner vial is composed of glass with a plastic screw-top lid.

Typefaces utilized include: Latin, Brandon Grotesque and a custom type, all lending to a vintage, yet polished appearance. Hester reports that the most challenging task at hand during the package design project was the small size of the box and vial, “getting all the relevant information to fit, posed a slight challenge.”


Steepable Sustainability
Tea purveyor serves up environmentally friendly package design.
Named for the region in Northern Bangladesh in which its organic teas are harvested, Teatulia is a brand fully committed to distributing its flavorful offerings in the most environmentally and socially conscious manner.

Every single component of Teatulia’s packaging is constructed from a certain percentage of post-consumer waste, of recycled and recyclable materials. From soy ink, Kraft paper canisters and seals, natural water based sealant, to non-bleached paper teabags and corn silk pyramid teabags. Teatulia director of marketing, Chris Olsen, discusses the package materials, “We’re kind of at the mercy of what exists out there on some of the inputs, but we’re also creative with the other inputs, using them in unique ways that have never been used before,” Olsen says.

Embarking upon the featured exclusive Target store 30 count package offering, Teatulia received label layout assistance from principal, founder, creative director and lead designer Chuck Hibbeln and the team at Denver-based Blacktop Design ( The label is a litho-printed coated one-side recyclable paper, with gloss on one side that holds the soy ink well. Teatulia, staying true to brand objectives, selected a medium/high barrier protection over foil. 

Custom dies for the canister size and tooling was made specially for both the canister and lids. The inside of the canister is lined with a water resistant stock, made from paper, to provide an extra layer of protection from moisture.

Each tea variety is given a personality, this is achieved by distinct Pantone colors, and tasting notes on the front of the pack. Olsen explains future improvements to the tasting note inclusion, “We’re working really close with a wine sommelier to help us describe our teas better.”