The Soundtrack

Eduardo del Fraile

  • Studio
  • Eduardo del Fraile
  • Client
  • Vermú Arlini
  • Year
  • 2016
  • Techniques
  • Embossing dies
  • Full colour
  • Relief
  • Stamping

Eduardo del Fraile is recognised for his markedly conceptual visual approach. His works are defined by their formal simplicity, his taste for objects and his exploration of the physicality of communication, as well as the power of the message, which comes to life in memorable brand names, many of which he himself has created.

Accustomed as we are to a language of minimal, forthright gestures, to a search for the symbolic and the material, Eduardo’s label, which relies on a diaphanous narrative code, comes as a surprise. Vermouth Arlini introduces itself with a scene depicting local customs and manners, with an ornamentation and level of detail that “are an honest match with the product’s origins and context”. The impression is that we are looking at a film set seconds before the camera starts to roll. According to Eduardo, the printer’s contribution helps to compose the soundtrack of this hypothetical film. It’s a fascinating idea.

Where did the idea of reflecting an image that so clearly identifies bar culture and the tradition of drinking vermouth come from? I remember my grandfather Antidio, who would often go out for a walk and buy everything needed for a good aperitif and nibbles. He showed me the usual places and took me years back in time. Then we’d head back home and enjoy the olives and pork scratchings, and from time to time he’d give me a sip of vermouth, with its strange, bitter taste of wormwood. The reusable swing-top bottles, the bars where there were no mobile phones and no Wi-Fi, places where people would socialise around the ingredients of that day’s special nibble. It’s part of a culture, something valuable with a history to it. I’ve tried to do my best for the product with all of that and a lot of love.

The Arlini label is very ‘Spanish’. To what extent is the Hispanic imaginary of traditional customs a valid wellspring for visual creativity? Is it possible to renew this imaginary effectively in order to avoid the risk of stagnation, repetition or being outmoded? Outmoded or traditional? In the early 20th century, Spain experienced an era of tremendous visual riches, which gradually faded after the Spanish Civil War. It is interesting to reclaim elements and to convey them at particular moments. They are part of our culture. I don’t think a Japanese person would see this as outmoded; he would regard it as authentic.

The label almost looks like a comic strip. We can imagine people passing in front of or on the other side of the bar windows, in what could be a possible marketing extension for the brand. Yes, it leaves a world open to many possibilities, as many as a receptive and astute client is capable of understanding…

Zoom in The Soundtrack
Vermouth Arlini introduces itself with a scene depicting local customs and manners. The impression is that we are looking at a film set seconds before the camera starts to roll.

The label almost looks like a comic strip. We can imagine people passing in front of or on the other side of the bar windows, in what could be a possible marketing extension for the brand. Yes, it leaves a world open to many possibilities, as many as a receptive and astute client is capable of understanding…

With regard to packaging and label design, it seems there is no stopping its evolution. On the contrary, at the very moment when many lines are looking exhausted, other forms of visual expression are coming strongly to the fore. What is your vision of the state of packaging design in Spain? Do you keep an eye on what is happening elsewhere in the world? What’s your view of things? I think that all of us like to receive a well-wrapped gift or a well-presented delicious meal. It’s as simple as that, ultimately. This is a very old art that is not being forced out by technological advances. I have been reading and listening to the same guidelines on packaging ever since I started to study design in 1992, including the importance and sense of being environmentally friendly as a product value. Every year you spend working on packaging, you learn more and you gradually acquire more interconnections that enable you to generate new finishes and combinations. Fortunately, the packaging market is a big presence in society, and if you are observant, it is ‘easy’ to understand what’s happening in a global environment.

Where do you think this field of design is heading? Will the market impose a ‘return to order’ or is there still room for creative freedom? A few months back, I wrote in Neo2 magazine about the ‘super’-information that exists in supermarkets, the glut of products that promise too much and the exhausting supply on offer in those endless aisles. I reckon getting back to nature wouldn’t be bad for us. In my case, I’m obsessed with getting back to the origin of things.

If we look at the formal aspects of the Arlini label, the level of detail achieved in the printing is very good. What were the requirements that you asked of the printers at the start of the production process? There were several conversations about finishes, about the use of a wood-like texture or not, the paper and the possibilities it offered… This dialogue is also part of the creative process: a wise decision on the printing materials has an impact on a good label and hence the final impression it conveys.

What difficulties and opportunities cropped up during the printing process? First and foremost, the issue of the reliefs and ensuring the paper didn’t tear, as it is quite delicate. We had to adapt various details on the fly on the day we did the printing, but in the end the result was very positive.

What did the printers add to enhance your graphic solution? A love of doing a good job and a highly motivated team keen to offer the best. In short, seriousness in their approach to a very old craft, the art of printing. In all honesty, I can’t imagine producing this label at another printer’s.

In general, what do the printing effects – from the printing itself to the reliefs – add to building and boosting a drinks brand? Films need the resonance of a good soundtrack, and the printing makes a label resound and draw the eye. Through the senses of touch and sight, it transports us into the world due to its love of detail. A label is the wine’s skin and we need to pay attention to it.

A wise decision on the printing materials has an impact on a good label and hence the final impression it conveys.