Boy oh boy Lovelies, I have been chomping at the bit to share this custom project with you!

Several months ago, I was contacted by the delightful Ashley about designing custom wine labels for her San Francisco wedding. Ashley and her fiance, John, were providing bottles of California Cabernet as (amazing!) favors for her guests, and they wanted to apply a personal touch to the gifts. In addition to reflecting the style of their art-deco inspired wedding, Ashley also wanted the label to highlight their geography – she was born and raised in San Francisco, while John hailed from New York City. (John christened the wine “Both Coasts” – how sweet is that?!)

Art Deco Wine Label Inspiration

Ashley booked the ridiculously gorgeous & fabulously deco landmark, the Hamilton, for their urban garden reception. Talk about inspiring! I loved the crisp black geometry of the patios and the strong vertical lines in the building’s architecture. Together with the wedding palette (silvery blue & blush) and a few pieces of label inspiration, we were off to the races.

Because the design from this era is fairly bold and graphic, I thought urban silhouettes might be a nice addition to the label.  San Francisco and New York skylines were an obvious choice and after sketching for a bit, I also created a sweet little silhouette of the Golden Gate Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge, reaching out to join each other. With all of this in mind, I designed a few rough concepts:

Wine bottle favors for a wedding with custom labels Custom designed wine bottle labels for wedding favors

The first concept, with inline type and bridges, is probably the most art deco of the four. It also reflects the striking design of the Hamilton. In the second concept, the design becomes a little more modern and the lettering picks up a bit of a San Francisco streetcar vibe.

Custom designed wine label for wedding favors with 1930s wpa look Black and pink art deco wine label custom designed for wedding favors

The third concept was designed around the look of 1930s WPA posters – very clean and simple. Of course the fourth concept is the simplest of them all, with a full bleed black background and stylized blush type. As striking and sophisticated as this last concept was, it didn’t make the first cut because I felt it was a little too dark for Ashley’s bright, silvery wedding. (My husband thought it looked more like a book cover than a wine label – I’m inclined to agree!)

Ashley & John adored the first concept. We tweaked the design just a bit more with color & typeface edits, and made a few subtle changes to the kerning of the inline type. (I didn’t like how the B & H were hugging the border in the rough design.)

custom designed wine label for wedding favors in blue and black

(Did you catch how the notches in the border pay homage to a compass rose, pointing North, South, East and West?)

The labels were printed with non-smearing wax-based pigments onto a nice & smooth, 25% cotton mid-weight paper. Just luscious!

All printed up and waiting to be sliced & diced:

Custom Art Deco Wine Labels waiting to be trimmed

Ashley was a total DIY rockstar and applied the labels to each bottle with a secret-vintner formula… Whole milk! The casein proteins make an excellent adhesive, believe it or not! A light coating on the back of each label is all it takes to bond paper & glass. The technique works best on beverages that can be dry-chilled in a basement or refrigerator, rather than quick-cooled in ice… The milk “glue” stands up well to bottle condensation but when soaked, can release from the glass.

Custom Art Deco Wine Label Wedding Art Deco Wedding Wine Labels

Don’t the graphic labels really pop off of the dark bottles?!

Custom designed wine label

Let’s all raise a toast to Ashley & John… Congratulations and salut you two lovebirds!!!


  1. says

    This, my lady, NEEDS to be featured on If you don’t submit it, I will!

    Your type is to die for, seriously. And I get totally jealous that you can come up with such awesome concepts…

  2. says

    Great work !
    Thank you for showing your design process, it’s always nice to see how other
    designers approach their project. Like the treatment with the borders, looks great on the bottles !

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