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19 May 2020

The art of slowing down

By Marios Karystios

Dear passionate winemaker. Imagine that you are in your winery and after reading this post you immediately delete all your social media accounts. You call your ad agency or creative studio to have it stop working on anything they might be doing for you. You cancel all ads, promos, delete your website and cancel your next trip to that big wine fair. Just after you’ve finished with all that, you step outside and take down your lovely sign that says Winery -> 100m.


Giuseppe Quintarelli, the father of Amarone, who uses this way of communication has not only survived to this day, but has one of the most sought-after wines in Italy. There are many examples of this sort worldwide; in Greece, for instance, one is Yiannis Economou. This particular approach is more relevant than ever, today. Communicating in a wise way is crucial for all brands. But, before you rush off to delete your social media accounts or to tell your friend to design your labels with Canva, take a minute to slow down and think this through. 

Studies have found that Millennials, the generation that consumes most of the wine produced, do not take what a brand claims for granted. They are not impulsive shoppers, they like to research, read their favourite blog, use their intuition or ask for their friend’s perception. They don’t fall for the 'hot' lady that holds a bottle of wine and has many K’s of followers. Instead, they search for a wine that speaks to them in a direct and honest way. Modern winemakers bear the core values of the Millennials like selflessness, social engagement and environmental responsibility. This generation of winemakers, sommeliers and consumers have broken the barrier and transformed wine from an unapproachable high art that was enjoyed amongst collectors and connoisseurs to a less serious, less snobbish, more reliable product. These people praise authenticity and creativity.

The creative process is undeniably a significant business force. In the wine business, creativity is fundamental from pruning to the shelf. Nevertheless, the front line though of communication is in many circumstances, the product itself. What’s outside needs to reflect what’s inside. In this situation, packaging design comes to give a solution and demonstrate the right message in the right way. If you want to exaggerate you will probably use bold packaging, heavy bottles and heavy decals. On the other hand, if you want to show an environmentally friendly face, you are probably using a lightweight bottle and perhaps no capsule. When used wisely, packaging can play a significant role in a product’s growth. But, creativity does not stop here. Apart from your packaging, someone can communicate through magnificent architecture. There are many examples to look for, like the postmodernist Petra Winery by Mario Botta or the modern classic Estate Argyros Winery by Alexandros Kapsimalis.

Creativity, concepts and ideas for a brand’s communication, were once brought to life in creative factories through endless meetings of a mixture of copywriters, art directors, account managers, planners, strategists and so on. Today, this pattern has changed and this knowledge can be found in independent design studios and teams around the world. In Greece, we are proud of our designers and design thinkers. Over the past decade, our designers are standing tall in front of fellow giants of communication and design. Just a quick search in prestigious international competitions, press and design-related blogs and you will find many of our talented professionals that have produced work which is admired globally.

We all realize that communication is in a frenzy with social media, influencers and tonnes of useless information. Rushing to jump on the train of the latest trend, very often leads to loss of substance. Professionals in the creative industry today, are forced to produce more concepts in a week than they used to do in a whole year. Thus, the creative process becomes mass production and thousands of hours of work are spent with no quality or long-lasting outcome. Volume and rush have clearly devastated the magic. Brands need to consider what is mentioned above needs to take into consideration the above and must communicate their values at their own pace through a quality outcome.

In conclusion, as everyone has clearly noticed, there are many things to reconsider in our lives. The urge to slow down will soon become a necessity in communication, as in everyone’s lifestyle. 

Let's borrow an example from beer as, unfortunately, the wine industry has no equivalent in its ad history; the Guinness surfer TVC from 1999, a genuine piece of art in communication from a different era. Good things come to those who...


Marios Karystios is a designer based in Paphos. 

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