Graphic Design / Interactive Design / Fine & Applied Arts / Parkland College

GDS 273/274 Illustration I & II
Project 10: Wine Label Illustration


Instructor: Liza Wynette


To develop conceptual thinking skills. To explore the illustration possibilities of hand-generated type. To apply composition and illustration skills to real-world visual communication problems.

Secondary objectives

To utilize the Adobe Creative Suite as an illustration and production tool. 


Create an illustrated wine bottle label for a vineyard and attach it to an existing wine bottle. All major typographic elements on the label must be hand-generated (the fine print can be typeset). You may also add an original illustration if desired, but the art must be compatible with the look-and-feel of the hand-generated type. Please take paper into consideration when designing the wine label.

Since you probably do not want to carry a wine bottle in your portfolio, you will also need to produce a photograph of the actual label positioned on wine bottle. This can be accomplished either by (1) literally gluing the label on the bottle and then photographing it, (2) photographing the bottle first and then digitally gluing the label on the image in Photoshop (see tutorial ), or (3) using a digital mock-up.

You may re-design an existing wine label or make up a client (be sure the name of the vineyard is realistic). You do not have to design the portion of the label that is not visible in the final photograph.

Required elements:

  • Name of vineyard/estate
  • Type of wine (i.e. "Sauvignon Blanc")
  • Year of vintage
  • Fine print (i.e. "Alcohol 12% by volume, 750 ml")
  • Region/country of origin (optional)

Your wine label design must show an understanding of unity, emphasis and balance. When appropriate, utilize rhythm and depth as well.


1. Research for inspiration: Research existing wine labels (be sure to visit a wine store). Scan/photograph your favorite examples and publish your research on your personal process page for critique (be sure to caption each image and cite the source). Be prepared to explain why these examples are successful. 

2. Marketing research:Choose an existing vineyard (or make one up). Write a brief describing the price point of the wine and the target audience (see sample ). Publish your brief on your process page. Have your brief reviewed by the Writing Lab, then email your brief as an attached Word file or a shared Google Doc to (instructions).

3. Incubation: Absorb the information you have gathered and sleep on it. Allow your unconscious mind to make connections for you. 

4. Develop the concept: In your sketchbook begin to conceptualize ideas for this project (see examples of sketches). Make at least 10 sketches of all possible directions you might take this project. Edit your concepts down to your best three ideas and redraw them on 8.5 x 11 white paper using a felt tip pen. Scan (scale/crop in Photoshop: no wider than 1000 pixels), increase the contrast (see tutorial) and publish your concepts on your personal Process Page for critique. Be prepared to discuss how your design fulfills the client's marketing objectives. Also print your sketches for your Process Book.

5. Proof: Based on the critique of the above, use the computer to execute at least two versions of your best idea (present at least one proof with an alternate font choice). Publish one multi-page low-res PDF (instructions) linked from your Process Page for critique. Be prepared to talk about what design principles are utilized in your design. Also print a high-quality color proof for your Process Book.

6. Final critique: Based on the critique of the above, revise your design (if needed), then print a final proof on 11x17 paper for critique (see printing tips). Prepare a presentation to justify your design decisions. Also publish one multi-page high-res PDF (instructions) on your personal Process Page.

7. Grading: Based on the critique above, refine your design (if needed). Submit two copies of your work for grading. One proof will be returned to you after grading. File the graded proof in your Process Book for individual review along with all the preliminary work you did for the project (research, brief, sketches, preliminary proofs, final proof). Review your Process Page and make sure you have an accurate record of your process. Also submit one multi-page high-res PDF (instructions) via Cobra's dropbox. You will not receive full credit for this project if any of the above elements are missing.  

8. Portfolio preparation: If you are happy with the results of this project, consider including it in your portfolio. If necessary, continue to make refinements until you are 100% satisfied with the project. Be sure to back-up all your files for future editing.

9. Extra credit: Submit your project into next year's student show by entering either a wine bottom with your label attached or a photo mock-up mounted to foamcore. Also prepare an archival quality JPEG (see example) (1000px wide, no larger than 200K) and submit your project using the online entry form at Your project may win a cash prize and be published in a showcase of student work on Parkland's website.

Last updated: 8/11/17 ■ Webmaster: Paul Young