New Talent Entry Wine Labels Adapt Color to Temperature

Remember the horse of a different color in The Wizard of Oz? What if you could experience that magical transformation on your wine shelf? Margaret Hughes, a talented M.AD School of Ideas Atlanta student, captured just that in her “Dark Horse” color-changing wine labels. In this New Talent 2024 entry, guided by Professor Hank Richardson, Hughes bottled ingenuity into the “Dark Horse” wine labels heralding a new concept in packaging. Join us in raising a glass to creativity as we explore this unique design.

By: Margaret Hughes

For this project, I was asked to create a packaging design that teaches the consumer more about the product they are purchasing. When I heard this, I remembered a gift that I gave my mom, and my wheels started turning. After much research on wine-serving etiquette, I created a label that helps guide a consumer to serve their wine more conscientiously. 

A few years ago, I gifted my mom a wine subscription box. The service delivered a few bottles of wine along with a card that gave different insights into the wines in the box and how to serve them. One thing that stuck out to me was that all wines were recommended to be chilled before serving. I had not heard that before, and my research found that some of the most popular red wines should be mildly chilled. That was news to me. 

This inspired me to create a label that changes color when each type of wine is cooled to an appropriate temperature. For the unchilled label, I used colors that reflected the color of the wine in the bottle. For the chilled label, I used a color with heavy contrast to make it easy to identify when the bottle was cool enough. That chilled color also matches the foil on the top of the bottle. This makes it easy for the consumer to know what color the label needs to reach to be considered “chilled.” 

I knew the label needed to change color but wanted to avoid creating a singular panel that changed colors. I wanted to create visual interest and thought about ways I could help the consumer learn more about the wine they are drinking through the label’s graphics and color. I researched the appropriate serving glasses for different types of wine and used that shape as inspiration for the graphics on my labels. 

I loved working on this project because it combined two things I already love: wine and problem-solving. The prompt was initially a challenge, but after researching and developing my idea, I found a creative and fun way to execute it.

See more work from Margaret Hughes here.

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Author: Graphis