Graphis Gold Award
Design Annual 2018

“I knew pretty early on I wanted to work with Kitemath on a wine label. To me, a wine label is just as important as what’s inside the bottle. In an oversaturated market, consumers need to be instantly drawn to the package. For the Practical Matter project, Kitemath was able to incorporate eye-popping color and modern design, while still hugging the line of classic and innovative. With label design being such a critical part of the retail buying experience, Kitemath knocked it out of the park.”

– Steve Sullivan, Route 101 Wine Company

Steve, the owner of Route 101 Wine Company, likes a good mystery. And the rolling hills and valleys up and down the West Coast have a tale or two to tell. Intuition, insight and secret handshakes are all tools of the trade when R101 is on the hunt for a wine-producing location. A special spot able to provide juice amazing enough to become Practical Matter. So what is it that R101 is searching for? Those special, overlooked places that combine two parts philosophy, one part science, and a splash of magic. For the Practical Matter line of wines, R101 believes that those mysterious formulas can be teased out of a location’s unique combination of natural elemental forces. And that you do so by partnering with master winemakers who have the skill for extracting those unique blends and creating wines that transcend simplicity and manifest the extraordinary.

We took our cue for the Practical Matter brand from the ancient alchemical study of the four classic elements: Sun, Wind, Water and Earth. The art for each label visualizes the mysterious interplay of these elemental forces – forces that join together in producing unique combinations and flavor profiles. Striking, stylistic representations of hypothetical “formulas” for each wine varietal create graphically bold, artistic and engaging visuals. The labels are overprinted on silver paper with select areas allowing the metallic quality to shine through and highlight the elemental forces within. The system was designed to be modular, interchangeable and expandable so that a variety of visual formulas could be developed from a common vocabulary.

We loved working on this project and the only regret is that we are slowly drinking through our limited supply of portfolio pieces. Suffer for your art indeed.

Logo Design (above): For the logo we wanted a flexible system that can be condensed into the smaller “PM” logo mark or extended into the full “PRACTICAL MATTER” logo type. The tracked out, all caps typography gives an old-school monospace feel of a hand-typed scientific label. The lines flanking the top and bottom of certain letters are a nod to the periodic table of elements and create the impression of constituent parts combining into a greater whole. This idea extends beyond the logo and into other copy components such as product names. Finally the hot pink drop becomes a bright focal point reminder that the purpose of this brand is to produce bold and unique wines. The family is rounded out with a yellow/gold variant for when the brand ventures into white wine making.

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Icon Development (above): To further define and connect the 4 elemental forces to the wine, we created custom icons – each one created from the wine drop shape used in the logo. We combined the icons and the logo drop into a simple formula that expresses the core brand concept. Label Design (opposite): Practical Matter Red Varietals.
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Photo Credit: Kelly Allison