Aardvark Wine & Beer
Identity, Strategy, Writing, Print, Social
Aardvark Wine & Beer is a boutique shop created to take the snobbery out of wine. Founded by a self-taught connoisseur turned certified sommelier, Aardvark brings a humble, community focused approach to learning about and loving wine. They arrived with an idea and an off kilter name. We took it from there and created the visual system, character and illustration, and tone of voice that make Aardvark a destination.
Strategy & Brand Platform
We started with Aardvark’s dream, a wine shop that builds community and culture around remarkable wine, and created a brand strategy to keep them consistent on what they stand for, how they're different, and why people should care.
Let’s admit it: Aardvark is a weird name for a wine shop. That’s why we love it. We took that name and built an identity system around it, embracing the quirk with funky typography, a wine-inspired color palette, and a layer of hand-written humanity.
If an aardvark was a font, this would be it. We started with an off-beat typeface, then modified it to reflect the brand personality and, yes, feel Aardvark-ian.
One logo wasn’t enough. We created a bodega-and-neon inspired word mark to use in secondary applications and bring depth to the brand system.
Meet Aaron. He’s the curious fella that forms the face of Aardvark’s branding. We created a library of poses and versions that connect the real world animal to the Aardvark experience: curious, putting his nose to good use, and sometimes getting a bit tipsy in the best way.
Aardvark’s physical location is a bit off the beaten path. The building needed to be immediately recognizable and attention grabbing. We used bold brand colors for paint and worked with a local mural artist to put Aaron front and center. Now, you truly can’t miss it.
Custom lettering and signage bring the brand out to the street. We were able to salvage the vintage letter board portion of the road sign, and produce custom letters using Aardvark’s jaunty brand typography.
Aardvark’s attitude is all about making the wine shop less intimidating and more approachable. Shelf talkers have the potential to help a shopper quickly find their way, but in most wine shops they are so complex—full of arbitrary or proprietary “rankings”, obscure certifications, dense text—that they end up being more confusing than helpful.
Instead, we re-imagined what a talker should be; The voice of the sommelier when a personal recommendation isn’t possible, a place to show personality, and a way to spotlight great wine in a more relatable, creative way.
Wine & Beer Coolers
Working with inherited coolers for the beer selection and wine shelving, we explored ways to keep bringing Aardvark’s personality to life in tandem with clear navigation throughout the shop. They bring color and energy to the aardvark’s burrow.
We extended the Aardvark identity system to critical brand touchpoints: social media templates, business and gift cards, packaging, tasting note templates, and collateral for Aardvark’s first wine clubs.
Neil Wengerd — Creative Direction
Jeff Packard — Strategy
Amanda Burnside — Design + Animation
Anne Knellinger — Design + Illustration
Jacob Strous — Design
Nick Stull — Exterior Murals
Creative Palette — Environmental
Tonic Studios — Apparel
Art Direction / Design / Strategy / Photography