Label Work

Here’s one of the labels I designed for a brewer friend of mind:

Some of you may have guessed, the source material was a poster from the late 1800s; 1896, apparently. You can see the original in this Wikipedia article, which describes the product the poster advertised as a Bordeaux infused with cocaine. Drug use in the Victorian era has always fascinated me, especially advertising for the multitude of opium- and coca-derived products which purportedly treated everything from asthma to infants who cry too often. Here is a pretty decent collection of some of those old posters, including a picture of the original Vin Mariani poster in a larger format than what is posted on the Wikipedia article.

The work I did on the picture is minimal. I removed the original text (though I loved “Fortifies and Refreshes Body and Brain” so much that I decided to re-use it), and brought the peach background in tighter around the central figure. Then I washed out the colors and drew the color for the text from the color of the wine. Finally, after sitting with the image awhile, I decided that the central figure was too skinny and used one of the features in Pixelmator to bulge her upper body slightly. Not that I felt her breasts were too small; I felt a need for more ungainly fleshiness, something more lopsidedly-human. Anyway, there’s a lot of calories in beer.

The final crop of the label is an upright oval which rides close upon the image and the text, so the finished product doesn’t feel nearly as cramped. However I’m not sure I should have pinched image with the text as much as I chose to. Oh well.

I printed the labels using My Own Labelwhich is pricey but reasonable. I will post a pic of a bottle with the label when I next get down to North Carolina to see my friend.


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