Grape, Dirt & Gusto: Studio Chenchen’s identity for Stappa is fitting for the no-nonsense winemaker
Located in West Melbourne, Stappa sources interesting and obscure grape varietals from across Australia to make delicious wine “without the baggage.” Inspired by the authentic and refreshing approach of the brand’s founder, Sydney-based Studio Chenchen have devised an equally engaging brand strategy and identity to match. Working collaboratively, the team identified Stappa’s niche and conjured a no-nonsense brand concept; ‘Grape, Dirt & Gusto.’ Using the comparison of the late Anthony Bourdain’s passionate yet unpretentious approach to food, Stappa celebrates craft and quality without the snobbery or dogma. With two product lines, the studio altered the visual language to help differentiate the labels without sacrificing the opportunity for cross-selling and brand connection.
For Dog Town Edition – smaller batch and top-tier limited wines – a more refined aesthetic was required. Pangram Pangram’s elegant serif Eiko was therefore a perfect option as the logotype. In addition to this, Founder & Creative Director Olivia Chen explains, “for the Dog Town Edition label, we used the red colour to differentiate further from the Stappa Standards, besides the different logotypes. The red is a good touch to pair with the overall black and white design, it is classy and jumps out from the label.”
Stappa Standards, selling at a lower price point, adopts a more ‘lo-fi’ appeal. Following a more cheerful route, the studio selected heavy-weight blackletter typeface Pariah for the range’s logotype. Across the whole range, however, Studio Chenchen maintained Stappa’s unique character through their typographic choices. Pangram Pangram’s Editorial New was selected for the body copy, and to bring boldness and character, atipo foundry’s all-caps display font Chaney was chosen for the name of the wine, and their futuristic sans serif N27 for the year and religion. “We added an element of randomness by illustrating the different ‘a’s in Stappa’s logotype; they are used randomly,” Chen adds, “cause there is always a little element of surprise in the process of winemaking, it is a proper lab experiment in creating the taste!”
To bring the brand’s story to life, Studio Chechen delivered a deck of rough, gestural, charcoal illustrations – an organic homage to Australian soil and terroir. Much like the typographic direction, the illustration style reflects the personality of the two price points. Explaining this further, Chen notes “the illustrations for DTE have more fine art, inspired by the drawings of the old-master such as Goya; while the illustrations for Stappa Standards are more modern, cartoon-like and light-hearted.” These illustrations also aim to reflect the taste and mood of the wine, “for example,” she adds, “ we have a surfer for Zibibbo Col Fondo because it is a sparkling white, great for the summer; and for red wine like Grenache, we gave the illustration a more mature tone by drawing a fun caricature of the ‘wine connoisseur.’"