Intense black

Íñigo Jerez

  • Studio
  • Extra!
  • Client
  • Torres
  • Year
  • 2012
  • Techniques
  • Embossing dies
  • Full colour
  • Relief
  • Stamping

Íñigo Jerez’s ideal job blends intuition and vigour, freedom and technique. To his wine labels, publications, identity and communication projects, and especially the typographical design that has won him many awards, he always brings a fertile conceptual restlessness, a desire for balance and a responsibility to the profession and the receiving public.

Together with José Bellés, a partner at Extra! Estudio, Jerez has designed packaging projects for various clients from the wine and spirits industry. His many labels for Bodegas Torres are marked by well-managed graphic experimentation, which together with the printing house’s collaboration results in firm proposals that are very effective as elements of brand construction. We see some of them here under the title “Intense black”, anticipating the importance of that conceptual and technical search.

When you develop a packaging project, what do you ask the printing house for? The most important thing is that there is an atmosphere conducive to dialogue with the designer to respond to an essential issue: how to transform our design into a perfect original and ultimately into a label with an impeccable finish. Other requirements are technical knowledge and the willingness to innovate, improve and take on the complexity of the project to turn it into a differential value.

How did you begin working with Vidal & Armadans? It started in 2004 through a client, the winery Clos Montblanc. While designing its new labels, we insisted on going to print. We really wanted to control the printing and were obsessed with making sure that the dark background turned out very black. The printing house soon got involved, devoting time to us and opening its doors to us so we could test it on their machines. And that’s how it continued in later collaborations.

Your labels for Torres are some of the most significant for your studio. Some of them even represent key moments for the client, as is the case with Celeste. Celeste was the first wine that the Torres Group created outside Catalonia and its label became critical. This was firstly because of its aesthetic approach, outside the traditional scheme of the brand, and secondly because it brought visibility to a turning point, a before and after. All of that required perfect resolution.

What was your main technical problem? Achieving an intense darkness on the gradient background. After many photomechanical and printing machine tests, we came up with the solution by applying two spot colour gradient overlays. We solved the printing of the stars with a stamping set with silver ink with two finishes: one matte and another, glossier one.

Another example marked by light and contrast is the label for Eterno olive oil. There we wanted to achieve a very intense background without burning it out and we wanted the image of the olive tree to maintain a clean chiaroscuro. We tried out many plates to get what we wanted: a very dark black and a clean image at the same time.

How important is innovation in these projects? It is fundamental for a brand to differentiate itself and stand out. In the case of Salmos, for example, the client asked for light to “enter” into the label and we achieved this by applying Iriodin varnish that was both translucent and glossy at the same time. Iriodin is an iridescent pigment developed for the automotive industry. The manufacturer introduced a version for printing on paper and Vidal & Armadans was one of the first printing houses to use it in its lines of production.

Clos Montblanc. The search for a very dark background black.
The involvement of the printing house and its availability to run tests with the machines enabled us to achieve the required black finish.
Celeste. Two gradient overlays to achieve an intense darkness.
The stars on the Celeste label were printed with stamping and silver ink with two finishes: matte and glossy.
Eterno. Jet black background with a clean chiaroscuro in the image.
Salmos. Incorporation of light into the label through an iridescent pigment.
An innovative pigment employed in the automotive industry was used to introduce light into the label.