“Making a good vintage, a little vintage.” Simple’s rebrand for winemaker Penley gets nostalgic
“How do you rebrand a winery?” Australian studio Simple asks. The answer? “Start with a lovely red and blend delicious yellows, blues and pinks.” Keeping things delightfully tongue-in-cheek, the team created a brand language that takes cues from the past for the audience of today. Formerly Penley Estate, Penley is a family-owned winery based in Coonawarra, South Australia, a region famous for its red wines and strip of terra rossa aka ‘red soil.’ As part of a brand refresh – moving away from the self-centred industry stereotypes – Penley and Simple have redefined how a modern wine brand behaves.
Rather than focusing on “the winemaker, the region, the vineyard, the barrels, the history,” Simple opted for a direction that blends wine and lifestyle together, talking more about the drinker and the occasion than the wine itself. Much like the brand’s tone of voice, the visual language is bold, progressive, fearless and full of character. “Through research, we came to learn that Penley’s core audience was somewhere in the 24 to 40-year-old age range,” Studio Manager Taylor Martin explains, “so we decided to lean right into the 90s and create a nostalgic, emotional connection with these people through the brand.” When it came to seeking out visual references, Martin continues, “we turned to iconic Australian publications from the time – things like Women’s Day, microwave cookbooks and TV Week (basically anything we could get our hands on) – to find inspiration.”
This playful amalgamation bleeds into the typographic direction, too, as Simple searched for a primary typeface that was elaborate and expressive, alongside a secondary that was more subtle and grounded. This led to Editorial New Italic as the primary choice, sitting alongside Helvetica Neue Condensed Oblique as the secondary. Resulting in a confident pairing that leans into modernist design aesthetics.
Sitting alongside the prominent wordmark on the 100% screen printed label is an equally eye-catching illustration. Each of them, Martin tells us, was conceptualised and finalised by the talented in-house team. “We loved the idea of finding fun ways to visually show small glimpses of the wine’s attributes – like a girl wrapped in a scarf for a cool climate Pinot Noir,” she says, “or someone walking a tightrope for a nervy and bright Cab Sav – though we needed to determine an illustration style that would lend itself well to the screen printing method. And so the style and system were born.”
Helvetica Neue by Max Miedinger and Edouard Hoffmann