Interview with HP Becker (New Cat Orange)
Bettina Schulz
NOVUM+ 10/2014

Latest news of the upmarket creative studio New Cat Orange: Its new corporate identity for wine-growers Weingut Wick is refreshingly differ-ent and füll of character. We interviewed HP Becker about this unusual project, one that has already garnered a European Design Award and a red dot.

Weingut Wick, for New Cat Orange, was effectively fresh ground. How did you get involved?
Thaf s correct, Wick is the first wine-grower on our books. The gratifying thing is that that is precisely why these clients came to us. They wantedto breakthe mould, and it didn’t take them long to find that we offer really fresh thinking – in which values still matter.

One factor, I suppose, may have been that the clients’ own positioning is a bit special …
Yes, indeed, Weingut Wick are pioneers: Jochen Wick has been established in organic wine-growing since 1986! Working with nature and total respect for it – which means seeing its fruits as a gift, not a right – are key elements of the brand philosophy. The plan for the new Visual identity was that like the wines themselves it should be »reduced to simple basics« and yet have its own dis-tinctive signature.

… a principle you interpreted literally …
We did. We use real handwriting in the product texts. The names of the spe¬cial edition wines are done in Indian ink with a brush and an elegant flourish – by Martina Wick personally of course. We decided to avoid the usual hot-foil printing altogether, and that enabled us to reduce the new labeis to es-sentials… definitely no artificial flavourings, as they like to say on food pack-aging. We thought it important to bring the product and the producer closer together, and to give the design as a whole a convincing, authentic presence with plenty of personality and character.

What about the client Cooperation aspect? Were Wick receptive to your ideas?
Cooperation between ourselves and the client was just about as good as it gets. After we’d been recommended to them, Weingut Wick asked if we would take on the label design needed for the new vintages. We held an initial meet-ing, then realised pretty quickly that it couldn’t really begin and end with the labeis. We accordingly submitted a proposal that included things like prelim-inary research into the brand values, then rebranding and so on. What hap-pened next, in spite of a good mutual rapport, was that they said no, it was too dear. But they didn’t shut the door, they asked would we not be willing to do the label designs only We were still not going down that road, but we went to some effort to set out our reasons persuasively. Two weeks later, another dis-cussion took place – and this one saw the Cooperation agreed. All this created a very solid basis for mutual understanding and trust.

And how much did you learn about wine?
The remarkable thing, really, is that we didn’t have the first clue about wine. I find, personally, that sort of blank sheet is often in fact an advantage, because you approach your project with an open mind, free of preconceptions. And yes, we did learn quite a bit about wine-growing, and how they make organic wines in particular. But if you mean developing a nose for those subtle notes in the finish – well, we’re still working on that…

Download the magazine article as PDF: Novum+ 10/2014


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