We're a strategic and full-service design, packaging, logo development and branding agency specializing in wine, spirits and luxury foods. Imagine what we can create together.
Beautiful isn't enough. Great package design invokes a feeling in your heart, in your gut. That feeling creates an affinity that compels you to choose one product over another.
Our many years of experience in building successful brands have taught us how to make a meaningful connection to your consumers every time. We start each project by deeply understanding the consumer of your products, the personality of your brand and also what you as the brand owner need to accomplish.
We then work with you to create strategic solutions that get you the results you need, while also keeping an eye on your budget and deadline. That's how effective packaging is brought to life, in particular the intricacies of a wine label.
The marketplace is crowded, and the competition is unrelenting. You only get one chance to make the right impression with a new package.
So we start by learning everything we need to know about your brand to guarantee success. Our comprehensive design exploration includes understanding your competition, your product's retail environment, sales, profitability objectives and your long-term brand vision.
WHAT MAKES US DIFFERENT
Our work isn't done when you approve the final design. We continue to shepherd your new package design through final production to make sure our concepts are not only gorgeous but functional.
Our expertise in production also allows us to offer solutions in value engineering which can often lead to reduced costs for you--without compromising the integrity and beauty of the package.
“Clients call us when they need to revive a tired brand or bring a new brand to life, on the label and on the shelf,” says Ed Rice, Affinity Creative Group’s Director of Brand Strategy and Client Development.
Affinity Creative Group is an innovative, brand development and design agency that’s gaining traction as the go-to firm for branding, design and print production services for wine, spirits and beer producers.
One of the company’s greatest attributes is its informed and intuitive grasp of current market trends.
“A smaller proprietor may need more direction, maybe even help establishing their tiering strategy, relative to where their wines might be arranged within a particular portfolio,” Rice explains. “To ensure we get it right, we begin our programs by working on a single, crucial varietal, (or SKU), usually from the client’s core line. Once we solve for that, we extend our design solution across other varietals and then ladder up as required, to differentiate other tiers and price points in the winery’s portfolio.”
Affinity Creative Group works upstream of the typical advertising agency, serving clientele that includes sophisticated industry giants ranking within the top ten of U.S. wine producers, as well as boutique beverage entrepreneurs who might be introducing a new product line for the first time.
“Regardless of size, when we collaborate with a client, we ultimately show them a generous range of a half dozen to a dozen, strategic brand design executions,” Rice continues. “Our clients get psyched. It’s so exciting to see it happen—to see people light up when they realize how their brand can evolve and project real impact and market power. Some of them say ‘holy s___! I never thought my brand could look this good!'”
A case in point is the well-established Ménage a Trois brand. Affinity Creative Group was tasked with finding a way to distinguish a new offering in a category that has become hugely popular, as well as stiffly competitive: Red Blends.
“To achieve brand prosperity, we began by playing with a richer, deeper dimension of taste communication… presenting our client with a range of design options that suggested the mystery, the magic and the darkness, of midnight,” Rice describes.
The end result is now seen at retail locations across the country: Ménage a Trois Midnight; a stunning canvas of deep black, with touches of rich reds and nuanced, silver images that consumers find irresistible.
The impressive team of ten professionals equates to roughly 20+ years of in-depth experience per person, when you do the math. The group has a nice mix of ages, styles, and disciplines that run the gamut from classic design treatments to edgy hipster vibes, giving Affinity Creative a high level of unequalled category expertise.
An example of the team’s ability to deliver a new-to-the-world brand design completely from scratch is Affinity’s work on Ste. Michelle Wine Estate’s recent initiative, Drumheller, a new wine from the Columbia Valley AVA.
Affinity Creative worked to generate a range of design solutions that would create an evocative sense of place while communicating the story, feeling and uniqueness of theDrumheller Channels. The selected design solution accomplishes this, and more, by inviting further investigation, which drives consumer engagement.
Storytelling is often a crucial and valuable dimension to Affinity Group’s work. In their portrayal of the matriarch and inspiration for a legendary Napa Valley Family Estate, the Affinity team recast the previous brand mark and label with the creation of a new, compelling, iconic image of Flora on a crisp, clean, label, resulting in a powerful platform for the new icon and projection of an enhanced Flora Springs brand mark.
Although in its relative infancy, three-year-old Affinity Creative Group has already amassed a remarkable portfolio of new client work now seen on shelves, in tasting rooms and across the country, shipped directly to consumers.
From its studios along historic Officers Row on Mare Island in the San Francisco Bay Area, this ensemble of multi-talented individuals helps clients reach new marketing heights through the development of stunning and effective brand design solutions.
“The essence of our business is to create, discover, or unlock the power of a client’s brand, so it will resonate with a key target audience,” Rice explains. “We do not design merely for the sake of designing. We do it in a way that makes smart business sense. The creative output must be strategic and contribute to the overall health of the brand.”
Start your brand health conversation with Affinity Creative designers at the Wines & Vines Packaging Conference in Yountville at the Lincoln Theater on August 17, or contact the team now for more information: affinitycreative.com
Affinity Creative Group is a sponsor and exhibitor at the upcoming Wines & Vines Packaging Conference in Napa. The brand strategy and label design specialist will also be hosting a “speed date” with designers. These brief sessions will enable wine producers and marketers an opportunity to obtain professional opinions and suggestions for improving brand identity and enhancing package design. Participants include:
Edith Lee, Design Director
With two decades experience in the wine, spirits, beer and other luxury categories, it’s no surprise that Edith understands down to the molecular level what it takes to create a package design that’s engaging, motivating and successful. She is gifted with a soft-spoken style, a diligent work ethic and an unparalleled aesthetic. Edie has the ability to add those nuanced and subtle touches that make a package design truly ‘sing.’ Affinity clients are always thrilled with her creations.
Santosh Chawla, Senior Designer
Santosh loves creating attractive, clean and inviting design solutions that motivate customers to take a closer look and make a purchase. His nickname is ‘Sunny’ because he radiates positive energy that lights up Affinity’s studios, inspires his work and delights our clients. He brings an international perspective as well, having worked previously at one of the leading marketing and advertising agencies in Mumbai. Clients particularly love how Sunny thrives under the tightest of deadlines.
Other members of the Affinity team will be in attendance as well. Here are the details:
Date: Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Time: 8:30 - 4:30
Place: Lincoln Theater, Yountville, CA
With America’s birthday already in the rear view mirror, we wanted to mark the mid-year point with a pause from the day-to-day and heed sage advice from a great leader:
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln
The teams at Packagingarts and Affinity Creative Group capitalized on this idea by assembling for a one day workshop conducted by the energizing and inspiring coach and facilitator, Randy Roberts, known for her transformational work with high profile agencies including Apple, Genentech, Lucasfilm and NBC.
After a full day of insight and introspection we gathered together at City Winery in downtown Napa to enjoy some fantastic food, tasty libations and a continuation of our engaging discussion on how to be extraordinary—for our clients and ourselves.
It was a highly productive break and we all came away from the day recharged and re-energized. Now… back to work!
Special thanks to Packagingarts leadership, Randy Roberts and the staff at City Winery.
Affinity is proud to have contributed to the continued growth of this stellar brand, with branding and design expertise for the Midnight Dark Red Blend line extension.
Last week Affinity Creative attended an innovative and inspirational event at Dirty Habit, hosted by Saver Glass. We witnessed captivating art installation developed before our very eyes by DELA. (delacanvas.com) We even had the pleasure of taking a piece of it home with us. Designers Santosh Chawla and Kristin Yeh attended along side Director of Strategy Ed Rice. A good time was had by all. Special thanks to Franck Collet and his sharp colleagues for a clever and memorable evening. It’s always nice to break up the daily grind with something a little different, if you were lucky enough to be at the event as well we’d love to hear from you and get your take on the night.
Mare Island, California—With the help of Affinity Creative Group, Flora Springs Winery & Vineyard, one of Napa Valley’s premier family-owned estate wineries for over 35 years, has unveiled a new logo, labels and packaging designed to reflect a stronger brand identity and more clearly convey key messages about the Napa Valley estate’s core values. The new identity system is being introduced with the winery’s 2014 vintage white wines and 2013 vintage red wines as they are released throughout 2015.
“While critical elements of the original design have been retained, the new package tells the Flora Springs story in a clearer, more compelling way,” says Nat Komes, General Manager of Flora Springs. “Through imagery and words we’re communicating what makes Flora Springs stand out among our Napa Valley peers -- the core values that have been important to our family since we established our winery estate in 1978.”
“Our packaging is a key vehicle for communicating with our customers, particularly outside of the winery,” commented Komes. “We know our labels need to work hard for us, and as innovators and brand builders we felt this was an ideal time to freshen them up.”
Ed Rice, Affinity’s Director of Brand Strategy and Client Development commented, “It was an honor to help evolve and enhance such a storied Napa Valley brand, backed by three generations of family commitment. This was one of our most delicate creative balancing acts to date—arriving at the perfect point of equity retention and brand renewal.”
About Affinity Creative Group
Affinity Creative Group, with studios on Mare Island, California is a new name in the brand strategy and package design space. Named for the agency’s mission—to achieve close rapport and emotional connection between clients’ customers and their brands—the group has already established themselves as the go-to agency in the wine, spirits and luxury goods categories. Often described as the most savvy and seasoned “start up” in the business, Affinity is staffed with a tight knit team of knowledgeable pros who have worked together for over a decade and have created, grown and revitalized over 175 brands in the course of their careers. For more information: affinitycreative.com.
The inaugural Women of the Vine Global Symposium is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, March 13th and 14th, at the Meritage Resort, in Napa California.
To learn more and review the agenda focused on advancing women in the world of wine, follow this link: http://www.womenofthevine.com/
Create a wine brand specifically targeted to men:
• Opportunity – a male targeted wine brand; primarily millennials
• Tactic – Borrow cues and vocabulary from the bourbon category
• Objective – Create a clearly defined, designed and marketable brand
• Positioning development
• Brand story
• Brand identity
• Primary and secondary packaging
• Brand expression system
Affinity Creative Group developed a unique brand name, story and design centered on a symbol of American roots and heritage. Our icon was inspired by an article in the Smithsonian, which featured the American buffalo as one of the “101 Objects that Made America”. The name, 1000 Stories, hints at the tapestry of heritage, traditions and pioneering spirit that lives on today in all of us and continues to be at the essence of America’s character.
The brand’s look and feel projects a premium, sophisticated and traditional image while remaining approachable, credible and comfortable for the targeted male consumer. The brand logotype, embellished with inline and drop shadow detail, seems to jump off the dramatic “stage” created by the rich, matte black background. An engraved American buffalo drawn in profile attracts the eye, so that the key feature-benefit of “Bourbon Barrel Aged” is immediately taken in. Other design details include a unique border treatment and subtle buffalo silhouettes added to the capsule.
The project outcome is a concise yet richly woven presentation and articulation of the 1000 Stories brand that underscores and communicates the brand story. Since November 2014 the brand owner has been gradually conducting launch activities in the bourbon-culture states of Kentucky, Texas and beyond, targeting independent shops and chains to establish authentic buzz and grass-roots interest. The brand, design and sell-in process is already beginning to pay off. Our client has garnered interest from one of the largest grocery chains in the country, which has made a significant commitment to include the brand in the important new-item reset season, spring 2015.
Affiliated brand design and display firms, Affinity Creative Group and PackagingArts, both based on Mare Island, received this nice compliment:
"It’s not often that I can give both package design and point of sale credit to the same firm. Our thanks goes to the creative teams at Affinity and PackagingArts—a job well done."
--Andrew Rice, Trinchero Family Estates, Creative Director
50 case Ménage à Trois ‘Midnight’ store display showing unique lamp-post fixture produced by PackagingArts and bottles/shippers created by Affinity Creative Group, both of Mare Island, CA.
Mare Island, CA, September 5, 2014—Long time Mare Island based businesses, PackagingArts and their newest venture, the one year old Affinity Creative Group and PackagingArts, have been singing praises for the City of Vallejo Department of Building Inspections and Lennar Mare Island ever since a 6.0 earthquake rocked all of our worlds on Sunday morning, August 26th.
Remarkably, the wine packaging, display and brand design companies were back up, operating and open for business in record time. In this case, the very next day.
Although PackagingArts lost three chimneys and both buildings endured significant loss of plaster, many large plaster cracks, in every room and on every wall of the 8500 sq. ft. mansion along with some broken glass, neither business suffered a prolonged shut-down thanks to the rapid response of Abel Bustamonte, the tireless deputy building inspector who was actually on-site on Mare Island early Sunday morning. He was diligently reviewing degrees of damage done to the historical buildings on Walnut Avenue, also known as Officer’s Row. Once occupied by the Base Commander, who was in charge of the now decommissioned naval shipyard, the stately mansions now house a range of businesses and offices, owned and operated by Lennar Mare Island.
Working in close partnership with Lennar Mare Island, Mr. Bustamonte was on the case early, as he knew the fate of some of the most crucial and thriving businesses hung in the balance.
Dave Miller, Principal at PackagingArts and Affinity Creative and PackagingArts, remarked, “On Sunday morning I drove over to the Island to inspect the damage at both of our buildings on Walnut Avenue. I was originally informed that all the mansions are to be red tagged. Imagine my surprise when I met Mr. Bustamonte already there looking over the properties. He was very reasonable, realistic and practical. After inspecting each of our buildings he indicated that the damage incurred did not appear to be structural, except for the chimneys, which did not affect the integrity of the roof, and that following a structural engineers’ inspection, we might be able to occupy the properties as early as Monday morning. He told me our two buildings would not be red tagged. One would receive a yellow tag, the other a green tag. You can imagine my relief, knowing that, subject to a few access restrictions due to concerns related to the plaster walls and ceilings, we would be able to carry on with business as usual with PackagingArts and Affinity Creative Affinity Creative and PackagingArts back up and running the day after quake for our wine clients, many who were more severely impacted.”
That said, there were still many repairs to be made. Brenda Sanders, Property Manager and Brian McDonough, Construction Manager at Lennar Mare Island went into action to ensure that repairs began as early as Tuesday morning, after damage assessments were made on Monday. By mid-week, the remaining damaged plaster was being removed and in some spots, new finishes were already being installed. Employees at PackagingArts and Affinity Creative were stunned by the rapid response of the Lennar Mare Island work crews. Chris Lynch, office manager at Affinity Creative remarked, “The work team under Lennar’s direction is amazing—polite, expert and efficient. Most of our damaged plaster is being repaired in record time. A remarkable effort.”
John Swain, President of PackagingArts and a Principal at Affinity Creative, who was traveling during the big shaker, commented upon his return to the area, “Both PackagingArts and Affinity Creative are grateful in that our clients survived the quake and have been able to bounce back quickly. And we are indeed fortunate that the damage incurred by our firms was quickly addressed by the City of Vallejo and has undergone immediate repairs by the professional contracting team assembled by Lennar Mare Island. We are very grateful and most appreciative of the stellar response by both parties.”
In the following article from the July 2014 issue of Labels and Labeling magazine, Ed Rice, Director of Strategy at Affinity Creative, explains the importance of collaboration between clients, creative groups and production teams. Awareness of production requirements can actually enhance the design process. And matching the right printer to the right job will ensure that the redesigned label lands on the shelf with the right look, as it was envisioned from the outset.
"Effective Wine Brand Delivery" by Labels & Labeling
Affinity Creative Group was engaged by Trinchero Family Estates to create branding and packaging design for Ménage à Trois Midnight. This is a new product tier for the popular line of wines. Affinity was tasked with the following program goals:
Capture the "Dark Blends" Customer
Increase shelf space and shelf presence
Gain incremental sales for the Ménage à Trois brand
Based on initial trade and customer reaction, Midnight is achieving all objectives, and more.
For additional information, please contact Ed Rice, Director of Strategy, Affinity Creative Group, 707-558-0744 or email him: Ed@affinitycreative.com.
Affinity Creative Group will be in attendance at the WSWA Annual Exposition and Convention in Las Vegas at Caesar’s Palace, April 8th to 10th. We’ll be In booth #330, joining our sister company, packagingarts. They will be highlighting their capabilities in the following disciplines: Development of Iconic Promotions & Retail Strategies, Production of Value-added Packaging and Execution of Branded Retail Displays.
Packagingarts principal, Dave Miller will be there, along with Creative Director Mark Ray. Joining them from Affinity Creative Group will be Ed Rice, Director of Strategy. Affinity specializes in Brand Development, Naming, Brand Identity Systems and Creation of Packaging Design for wine, spirits, other beverages and luxury categories.
Affinity Creative Group, a new yet highly experienced firm providing branding and design services for packaging in the wine, spirits, beer and luxury categories has announced the appointment of Ed Rice as Director of Strategy.
Ed brings two decades of experience in brand strategy, consumer insights and client development, with particular focus on adult beverages and luxury goods. He began his career at Landor Associates, the international brand consultancy, where he built their consumer beverage practice. He also understands what it’s like to be on the client side of the desk, having served as Global Brand & Marketing Director at THX Ltd., the entertainment technology company founded by George Lucas.
Prior to joining Affinity, Ed immersed himself back into the agency world at Trinity Brand Group where he successfully led client development activities, adoption of new strategies and increased the firm’s public profile.
Ed remarks, “I am thrilled to join the experienced, knowledgeable and incredibly talented team at Affinity. I am in awe of their attention to detail, clever designs and execution of compelling creative solutions for niche and mainstream brands. It’s a treat and an honor to become part of the tight-knit family known as Affinity Creative Group.”
Ed will be based at the firm’s Mare Island, California studio, conveniently located for access to the Northern California wine country, the greater bay area and beyond.
About Affinity Creative Group
Affinity Creative Group is the new brand strategy and package design agency comprised entirely of industry professionals who have worked together for more than a decade. The group has over 80 years of combined category experience in wine, spirits, other beverages and luxury goods.
The team is known for smart brand strategy and well-crafted design that helps clients build successful brands that have impact on the shelf, in the hand or on the table.
Affinity was founded with the intent of building trusted, long-term partnerships through close collaboration and open communications to help clients achieve their business goals. The result is a dynamic, responsive and committed creative resource poised to fulfill both current needs and emerging trends in the competitive beverage alcohol industry.
For more information, please visit: www.AffinityCreative.com or call 707.558.0744.