Olssøn Barbieri embrace restriction in their thoughtful identity for vineyard Château Picoron
Challenging the prestigious Bordeaux winemaking region’s tradition, Oslovian design studio Olssøn Barbieri have developed a playful identity for organic vineyard and winemaker Château Picoron. Representative of a ‘New Bordeaux,’ the winemaker seeks to take on the snobbery and self-imposed regulations that are both excluding wine from a younger generation of drinkers and putting the future of the region’s Merlot produce at risk.
Playfully taking on the challenge, Olssøn Barbieri’s identity and bottle design for Château Picoron makes reference to Bordeaux and Merlot’s storied pasts, whilst firmly cementing them as future-focused. This becomes prominent in the naming of the Château, as well as the subsequent illustrations made in response. With the name Merlot coming from the story of local blackbirds – ‘Merle’ – feeding on the original Merlot grape, Olssøn Barbieri opted for ‘Picoron’ due to its historic origin. Meaning ‘to peck,’ the name references both the blackbirds and those drinking the wine; not only strengthening the wine’s link to the region but also birthing the Château’s blackbird mascot.
Collaborating with French artist Jochen Gerner, Olssøn Barbieri elegantly crafted the vineyard’s Blackbird alongside a range of other informative and fun illustrations. “We chose Jochen for his clean yet playful and timeless style,” Co-Founder Henrik Olssøn tells us, “we also felt that his drawings capture a certain Frenchness while being inclusive and fun,” he adds.
Surrounding Gerner’s charming illustrations are the identity’s thematic response to the notion of restriction – the driving force behind Château Picoron’s avant-garde attitude to winemaking. Olssøn Barbieri found the spirit of the brand in-process and limitations; developing an approachable and earnest identity led by their striking choice of typeface – Bureau Brut’s Bourrasque. With the ability to slant both 45° and -45°, the sans serif family provides the identity with flamboyancy and a unique voice.
Further conveying a sense of sophistication is the monochromatic colour palette. “It feels cultivated, offering a good contrast with the playfulness of the naming,” Olssøn remarks, “it's also adding an additional constraint,” he notes. “which the concept is all about.” This also physically manifests in the printed matter of the brand, with the studio opting for black foiling and semi-translucent paper stock for the wine labels, allowing light to bleed through the debossing. This gave Olssøn Barbieri the opportunity to play with scale; debossing the name at a larger size and therefore giving them real estate to play with.