Reflex Push Boundaries with Cider Label


Cast your minds back to 2020….

Back to the beginning – a time when we would get dressed before midday, our kids weren’t sat next to us during conference calls, and tiers applied mainly to elaborate wedding cakes.

Around this time our design agency, Graphic Brands, received a brief from Sacred Earth Cider to create a cider label like no other. One that would stand out against the mass-produced and formulaic corporate brands.  One that would act as the antithesis of mechanised cider making process, and champion the traditional artisanal skills of the small-scale farmers and cider-makers that have been practising an earth-friendly approach in and around Somerset for centuries.

Bringing brands to life is at our ‘core’

To any other design agency this may have seemed like a tall-order, but if there’s one thing our team at Graphic Brands love, it’s a challenge!

Creating a design that positions local Somerset legend, Jeremiah Yarbleton, at the centre of the design and surrounding him with the wildlife and botany he had dedicated his life to, the team created something completely unique to the cider world.

The finished design was enhanced with finishes that evoke depth and texture, intertwining them with the illustrated images to orchestrate a completely unique and interesting label that will stand out within the crowded cider shelf space. The cider category doesn’t traditionally engage with embellishments and in-depth designs, so The Appleyard King label is set to bring something completely new and unique to the landscape.

Award-winning labels

The stunning design was recognised by The Drinks Business Awards 2020, where it was awarded “Best Design & Packaging for Beer and Cider’. It also recently walked away with a Silver Medal at the Harpers Design Awards; an accolade reserved for the very best in the drinks industry.

Complete end to end process

Once the design was finalised, the next stage in the process involved sending the artwork files over to our printing specialists to establish which techniques and printing processes would best bring the label to life. This is where the technical expertise of our Reflex Label Plus site in Keighley and foil tooling supplier Arden Dies was vital. Both our Keighley site and Arden were very much involved from the outset, communicating seamlessly (in spite of the Covid related challenges that had been thrust upon us by this point!)

And finally, we had a finished label – hot off the proverbial press!

The stand-out factor here is undoubtedly the micro-emboss effect, which brings the apples, leaves and The Appleyard King’s facial features to life.

We caught up with Tony Allen from Sacred Earth Cider to see what he had to say when he first laid eyes on the first physical label sample:

From inception of an idea

“I wanted a label to reflect an artisanal earth-friendly craft cider that would stand out against the mass- produced and formulaic corporate brands.

The label would need to reflect my philosophy of organic farming and also the local history of apple growing and cider making (i.e., to convey a sense of place and heritage) I wanted its appearance to be the antithesis of mechanised or industrial apple growing or cider making, because small-scale earth-friendly farming and cider-making has happened for centuries on the hills and farms that surround Wells.”

To the story behind the brand

“I needed the label to tell a story and luckily there were plenty of legendary local cider-folk to choose from. Once a name for the cider and a historic person had been chosen as the central character, the next stage was asking the designers to reflect the heritage, patrimony and provenance, as well as conveying an organic and aesthetic sense of place and the high quality of the cider – while still staying relevant and modern.”

First impressions

“I could not have been more pleased with the result – the design team came up with a wrap-around label, almost like a triptych. The centre part of the label shows an interpretation of The Appleyard King – crowned with leaves and holding a pint of craft cider; this character appeals to craft cider drinkers and links the contemporary drinker with yesteryear.

The crafted font and the layout of the wording is very organic, unique and striking – more craftsman-designer than computer. The use of metallic foils reflects the high quality of the cider while the colours of the foils reflect the earth, orchards, blossom and apples; you can’t fail to notice a sense of place.

Both apple-growing and cider-making are very well conveyed within the overall image. The provenance is also very subtly integrated so as not to become the main headline (Somerset Apples) and the historic dates are cleverly positioned. The left-hand side of the label carries all of the legal information which the experienced designers did themselves using their expertise – even this section has beautifully integrated leaves, shoots and blossoms in green metallic foil. The right-hand side of the label is a second label in its own right and reinforces the main label by reconfirming the story and heritage in detail – answering the key question, who was the Appleyard King?”

About the design process

“The ideas, design and profundity throughout the design process were impeccable. The design team not only listened to and integrated my ideas, they also easily surpassed my expectations and added even more depth, due to their deep understanding and interpretation of the brief. I now have an organic and aesthetic label which has wide appeal and stands out from other ciders, while also appealing to drinkers of earth-friendly and sustainable craft ciders.”

We also spoke with Shaun Hanson, Operations Manager, Reflex Label Plus for his thoughts on the project:

“We’re all chuffed to bits here at Keighley with how the finished label has turned out. You could say that our printing press was the key to success here, but, if I’m being honest, whilst the ‘fancy press’ is important, I truly believe the effort that went into the pre-press stage was most vital for this project.”

Collaboration is at the heart of what we do

This project is a perfect example of three teams from different ends of the country, working together and creating a work of art. Once the job hit the press, all of the hard work had already been done and it ran smoothly first time. We received tooling ahead of the print run from Arden so that we could select the exact effect that was desired. We ran the trials for this ahead of the print run; you have to be so careful with micro embossing, as it has to be hit at the correct level in order to achieve the subtle 3D effect.

Want an (apple) slice of the action?

By working with Reflex you’re giving your brand the best chance to stand out and get noticed. Our comprehensive end to end service will take you from inception of an idea, right through to getting your product on the shelves.

We thrive on challenges, and solving problems is what we do best.

Whether you have a full-blown idea, or even just a concept you would like bringing to reality, let us show you what we’re made of.

Chat to us today

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We’re always happy to answer any questions or enquiries you may have.

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