Got the bottle: new wine trade catalogue design for Maisons Marques et Domaines

While I’m fervently of the belief that ‘print will be back’, there’s no denying that this past year has been tough on that side of our work. Clients have had doubts if printed brochures and catalogues have enduring value when face-to-face handover opportunities such as meetings or conventions aren’t possible. There’s also an irksome trend to saving print budgets as everything or anything can be emailed or downloaded.

This decline is something I’ve been thinking about a lot and as it happens, I don’t think that it is a trend that’s going to last. My reasoning is that the charm of the physical object will never ebb. How else to explain why booksellers have had their best year ever?

Yet, for now at least, while we’re stuck in a digital download world, the ethos and design values of print echoes through our work. It’s evident, I feel, that the wine trade catalogue design for our longtime client, Louis Roederer’s UK trade arm Maisons Marques et Domaines, is intended to be read as a book, as spreads. It’s an interesting approach: ‘print design, just without the print’, that is captured in a nutshell with this project.

Our brand extension of the Maisons Marques et Domaines logo to mark their 35th anniversary

A thirty-five year vintage

For Maisons Marques et Domaines, 2021 marks their thirty-fifth anniversary. At a time when finding something to celebrate, an excuse for any sort of joy, should be seized with the greatest urgency, they decided to consider this milestone as the starting point for the brief of this year’s wine trade catalogue design. But first, Christine, MMD’s marketing director, wanted to find a way to enhance their branding for this special year.

My idea was to devise a form of type which works alongside and complements their minimal, rectangular logo. We didn’t devise the original MMD brand, but I went right back to the beginning, resolving to embrace its design. To do this, I applied their brand typefaces and inverted the colours on my new elements, so the logo was primary. The next step was a set of layouts which ranged from the very simple to a more involved bold combination of numbers. It turns out that this latter sort of eye-catching graphic was just what they wanted, so I prepared both an email signature for everyone at the business during this special year.

The idea extended further and I’ve applied the ‘MMD 35’ to the cover of the new catalogue, which looks terrific. If only it was printed! I imagine special brand colours and a spot-UV varnish wrapped around a perfect bound (square-edged, magazine style) booklet. I’ll have to be patient on that count.

However this digital-first approach did have one unexpected outcome – deep creative freedom.

The cover of our wine trade catalogue design for Maisons Marques et Domaines

Brand reserve

As with every project, budget drives design brief. That’s particularly true of printing something like a wine trade catalogue where a lavish high-end finish would be unlikely at the best of times. Frankly, the idea of giving every section a massive opening image and then as many pages as it needed for the story of the vineyard and airy, easy-to-read tabulation of the wines available (as my 2021 design does) is deeply unlikely. Yet, at the risk of being contrarian to my earlier remarks about print, going all-digital gives us massive freedom in the ability to let the detail that Maisons Marques et Domaines wanted to see truly breathe.

Further, I’d say it gave me a chance to let loose. Free of the constraints of specific pagination, I applied a rich, beautiful use of type over the incredible photographs that every vineyard that supplies MMD had provided. I used each image in a consistent layout, but chose the best shot I had each time. The result was that the catalogue gained an authority, embracing and showing love to its subject. And I think it’s this unexpected end result, an expansiveness, which has made this catalogue such a success.

The finished piece feels considered, enthusiastic and confident. In this way it echoes the passion the team at MMD have for their vintages. They live and breathe the choices of wine they make, so it makes sense their annual catalogue would be an expression of this.

My great hope is that as we return to print, ideally on the 2022 edition of this wine trade catalogue design, that this attitude will completely permeate every aspect of the design we create for the company – and that you (and I!) will be able to hold it.

We have deep experience working with the wine trade

We love elegant layout work and believe now’s the moment to consider both digital and print approaches to high end commercial marketing projects such as wine trade catalogue design. So why not get in touch to discuss a wide range of different approaches? We can work on designs from the simple to the sensational, depending on your brief and budget.

Call us on 020 7351 4083 or email us direct.

Discover more of our work in wine trade brand and retail design