Jeffrey Caldewey and Chuck House are the cofounders of Icon Design Group, an internationally acclaimed design and marketing firm specializing in brand development of wine labels. They have clients on five continents and have designed labels for numerous wineries, including Château Montelena and Frog’s Leap.
Icon: Art of the Wine Labelby Jeffrey Caldewey, Chuck House, Jeffery Caldewey
The wine label is a powerful icon of modern civilization; it is a precious object of art that symbolizes and disseminates the cultural and spiritual values of the land where the wine is grown. Wine label design has undergone a renaissance where art meets marketing in the most powerful way, penetrating the subconscious, and using the power of suggestion to imply
The wine label is a powerful icon of modern civilization; it is a precious object of art that symbolizes and disseminates the cultural and spiritual values of the land where the wine is grown. Wine label design has undergone a renaissance where art meets marketing in the most powerful way, penetrating the subconscious, and using the power of suggestion to imply flavor and quality. Jeffrey Caldewey and Chuck House are acknowledged masters of the new designs and they have created designs for some of the world’s most sought after wines and this book is a collection of their most important works. Beginning with a short treatise on some of the philosophical aspects of modern iconography, this book documents 100 wine labels and bottle designs with complete descriptions of the genesis and thought behind each design concept. This book will become a classic in package design and essential for wine marketers and those who collect label art.
- Wine Appreciation Guild, Limited
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- 8.00(w) x 13.00(h) x 1.30(d)
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ICON - the embodiment of spirit, matter, and time. In Einsteinian terms, ICON would be the equation that sums time, space, matter, and ideology. ICON is a tour de force, a signature piece representing the extensive body of work by two of the wine industries brightest stars, Jeffrey Caldeway and Chuck House, package designers. One once told me that the contents of a barrel, brown bag for a label, sans introduction, sipped from a coffee cup in your kitchen, will defy distinction by most and keep both the wine and the consumer most honest. But we of sophistication desire more than honesty, and more is ours in ICON. To the vast universe of wine, the package brings order to chaos, diminishes chance, dispels mystery, stamps a caste, creates distinction, and strokes your ego and those of others. We assume the package as an intimate expression of Self, much in the same way one would don a designer creation. Albeit, a label does nothing to alter the wine. In this treatise of wine package history, we are reminded that necessity is the mother of invention. Order to chaos produced the first labels. Labels of origin, distinction, and personality followed. It wasn't until recent times that ego drove the package, and Ego is the stuff of ICON. This book reveals both Jeff and Chuck as modern day alchemists, intently stirring their witches brew of ego, dream, soil, anxiety, money, sweat, clone, ambition, microclimate, and desire, distilled into an amalgam of glass, cork, paper, and ink which will transform total of Past into the largesse of Future . . . a responsibility from which all but the most tempered would shrink. And whom amongst us do we charge with this lofty responsibility? It must be entrusted to those select few who have the creative talent, skills, will, and ability to lift mere grape juice to the pedestal upon which it currently resides. Package designers must do for others what they are incapable of doing themselves. Jeff Caldeway and Chuck House are gifted Iconoclasts, challenged with creating an artistic expression which will herald not only the product but, moreover, the totality of the person, the sole of the winemaker, the beast that lies within. We find the authors delving into a very intimate and complex process of discovery. Needs. Wants. Values. History. Family. Dreams. Hopes. Fears. Stuff. From all this they must derived a package that projects not only the person and the product, but also an expression that potentially becomes a fulcrum on which success and failure balance. Drawing from ancient beginnings, Jeff Caldeway and Chuck House have successfully bred charm and aristocracy into the great wines and spirits of present day, inscribing pedigree after pedigree that will endure. Page after page brings to mind another example of success that can be directly attributable to the profound influence their package had on the wine selection process. The depth and breadth of their body of work clearly place Jeff and Chuck at the forefront of the wine package business for more than three decades, leaving a legacy most others could only hope to achieve. ICON secures their place amongst the elite who's creativity exceeded all those before them, who's work will not soon be eclipsed. Art, beauty, and finesse abound. ICON elicits something that is deeply satisfying, much like a well-turned ankle or great music. Printing, inks, paper, photography, binding are all first cabin. ICON is a calling card, a testament, and an example of excellence that the authors expect from themselves and deliver to others. We are blessed to have such a fine compendium to grace our lives, the likes not often achieved. It is a gift, a reference, a history, a conversation maker, and a commanding centerpiece for any lover of wine and art. I would recommend you add ICON to your collection and see how long it stays on your coffee table! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Share it with a friend.
By Bill Marsano. This perplexing book is beautifully produced and generously proportioned. The publisher has given his all (not without hope, however, of getting it back--note the price). It's most impressive. So why is it also rather disappointing? Frankly, it's because we are led to expect too much. Title and subtitle suggest a richly informed and wide-ranging survey of label art from many sources over many decades. In fact the coverage spans just a few years, a few places (nearly 85 percent of the designs are from California) and two designers (Jeffrey Caldewey and Chuck House, who are pre-eminent in their field). And the subject isn't art but labels and package designs, which are sales tools. Even the title is a pretentious flim-flam. 'Icon' means either 'sacred image,' which is hardly justified here, or those vulgar little cartoons that offend the eye on computer screens the world around. Surely they didn't mean ? Then revelation comes: Icon is the name of the design firm headed by Caldewey and House. It is hard to escape the conclusion that this is a glorified promotional brochure. Within those rather severe limitations this is a pretty attractive coffee-table production. Each of the more than 100 wines shown has its own page and is shown in full--the whole 'package,' not just the label. Some are delightful, charming, friendly and fun, notably those of Bonny Doon (whose owner is the famously humorous Randall Grahm), Frog's Leap, Gundlach Bundschu, Honig, Whitehall Lane and (too few) others. Elsewhere, elegance is to be found, as is cutting-edge stylishness--and, unfortunately, other labels that seem prim and merely dignified, as if standing on ceremony. Each package portrait faces a page with a blessedly brief paragraph of odd facts, high-flown hooey and grammatical lapses (one wonders about the editing here; the first error, although admittedly minor, occurs in the very first line of the introduction). By hooey I mean insider designer prattle like 'the five-sided label . . . represents the five grape varietals used in the blend.' To me, symbolism fails when the designer has to explain it. Especially because this selfsame label clearly lists not five but . Or 'A separate aureate banner proclaims the wine's reserve pedigree.' 'Aureate'? Oh, you mean gold-colored or gold-tone? 'Banner'? Oh, that's the tacky little strip-label made to resemble, complete with nail holes, the brass title tags found on old-fashioned picture frames. Frankly, a designer still using such old-hat stuff in 2000 has more reason to blush than to boast. One important point that does come through is that good design isn't simply 'dreamt up' but discovered and developed from facts and artifacts specific to each project. A good example is the elegant Lewelling label, inspired by the 19th Century calling card of the winery's founder. Another is Whitehall Lane's, based gloriously on the melted-crayon artwork of the winery owner's three-year-old daughter. Wine geeks will love this book and so will designers. Ordinary wine-drinkers will enjoy a quick riffle or two but then are likely to leave it on the coffee table and forget about it. --Bill Marsano is an award-winning writer on wines, spirits and travel.