NapaLearns is an organization committed to putting forward-thinking methodologies in education into immediate action. How to embody this in a logotype most simply? We feel that the simple border that emanates directly from the ascenders and descenders of the typeface, wraps the type as an aperture, and terminates as two dots is not easily misinterpreted. Two simple lines paired with a font choice/color choice that both have strong subliminal connotations of "friendly high tech.” Sorry, but we’re nailin’ it here. Because we didn’t have to tell you it looks like a circuit board, right?
Taplin Cellars Logo
The Taplin family wanted their logo to exemplify both the old-world, slow-and-careful methodology that defines great winemaking as well as a more modern twist that speaks to state-of-the-art practices. The old-world part? they made that easy: we obtained from the family a fantastic old “milk book” from the 1920s that had page after page of delivery notations written by hand by actual Taplin family members. The calligraphy was gorgeous, personal, and unique. We pilfered the finest examples of each letter in the “Taplin” name and typeset it to suit. For the new-world part, we did a lot of in-depth type studies and eventually settled on a hand-modified version of At Sackers that nests under the ascender of the “p” in “Taplin” nicely without unbalancing the logo as a whole.
Take Hunger Off The Menu Logo, Gasser Foundation, Napa
Who says big business should get all the world-class design? We love a good cause, and love to give 'em the tools they need to change the world...or at least our hometown.
This logo for the Gasser Foundation's campaign to end hunger in Napa exhibits clean design that's evocative and to-the-point. It's clearly a menu, and hunger is clearly "missing" from it. All without being overtly illustrative and staying quite stylish.
Sonoma Ecology Center Logo
The two best things a client can say: "Everyone here still loves it three years later." "Other organizations we speak to have 'Logo Envy.'" This logo gets both compliments a lot. Beyond its elegant, simple forms, it implies a balance between land and water with the yin-yang fish-and-leaf. This year we've done an update for them to celebrate their 25th anniversary as well!
Revolution WInery Logo
Virginia-based Revolution Winery, working with Balzac, explored various methods for conveying the concept of revolution—both literal and abstract—before settling on an approach that plays more off the physical motion (as in a revolving object) rather than an act of civil revolt. The graceful arcing flourishes to the logotype suggest not only rotation but also a corkscrew.
Premiere Viticulture Logo
Premiere Viticulture designs online software to help winemakers track and manage all aspects of their annual crop. The primary visual goal of their logo as they envisioned it would be to convey a sense of nurturing and growth, which implies not only the relationship of winemaker to wine, but also the relationship between Premiere and its clients.
Napa Valley Life Magazine Logo
When rebranding Napa Valley Life Magazine—and redesigning its logo—the goal was to reach a sophisticated demographic while not ignoring the local element or losing a sense of playfulness. After all, the magazine is meant for enjoyment by locals AND visitors. So, while the “spell out” logotype is urban-yet-approachable, the “NVL” icon drops just a hint of viticulture in its leafy, interlocked forms.
Napa Magnet Schools, Napa Valley Unified School District
It’s hard to find ways to say “Napa” without resorting to trite visual elements like grape clusters, etc. It’s even harder to fuse that sense-of-place with another completely different message, all inside a logo that remains clean and uncluttered. The directive for Napa Magnet Schools was firstly to convey such concepts of aspiration, education, self-betterment, and achievement. Anything beyond that was, as they say, gravy. Pour it on: the magnet icon was certainly a gimme, but fusing the concept behind magnet schools with the aforementioned directives and adding a sense of locale (we love our hot air balloons around here) was a slam-dunk. Generally simple, rounded-off forms and loping curves throughout yield a vibe of childlike wonderment to boot.
Napa Valley 360 Logo
Napa 360 is an online auction and the title suggests that the Napa Valley is not just about wine, its about a complete and varied experience.
Mill River WInery Logo
Located on the picturesque North Shore of Massachusetts, Mill River Winery asked Balzac to create a logo and label that reflect the unique regional allure of these picturesque coastal marshlands. Following a thorough visual research phase and many hand-drawn thumbnail sketches, the ubiquitous red-winged blackbird was chosen as Mill River's emissary. By cleverly pairing the bird with a mirror image in silver-green foil stamping, we are able to create the perception of reflective and shimmering bodies of water in the negative space. Rugged WPA-era typography, with a common cattail "i" motif, completes the logo and speaks to the rural, working-class history of the area including the winery site itself, which was previously a Cider Mill.
Maverick Bottle Top Logo
Logos are always a challenge, and this one was no exception. The goal was threefold: to start, the overall look needed to be rather clean and high tech to convey the cutting-edge service and technology offered by the company. Secondly, the logo had to include some kind of visual reference to the specific technology —“ bottle encapsulation"—that is being sold, along with a sense of movement, both physical and conceptual. Lastly, the initials of the company should be referenced to create a logo that also works as a stand-alone trademark.
Encompass Human Resources Logo
Who says a great logo needs to be complicated? Not us! This logo’s bracketed motif quickly says, “We think of everything!” while at the same time conveying an aura of professionalism and efficiency with its clean lines and earnest color palette.
Drink Local Wine Logo
Well, we can’t always take credit for every good idea. We’re lucky to have some pretty smart clients. The push pin thing was DLW’s idea, and after trying out a bunch of other concepts, it was pretty clear that this was the simplest, most elegant way to embody “going local” by way of web-based tools. We’ll take credit for the map in the drop shadow, though.
Courtney Custom Boots Logo
In all fairness, this subject matter simply begs for a logo treatment, and it’s not hard to tell folks that you make cowboy boots given the easily-identifiable nature of the central icon. That said, we wanted to convey a sophisticated aesthetic in keeping with this Napa Valley company that makes boots for the Beverly Hills set, with prices reaching quadruple digits…and we think we’ve done just that. The clean-yet-accessible sans-serif font and icon pairing definitely buck (pun intended) the typical “gee-howdy” vibe that similar manufacturers seem dig their heels into.
BOB Wine Bottle Closure Logo
This logo is as effective as it is simple. The BOB name is an acronym for ”Best of Both Worlds," a product that serves as both a traditional-looking/behaving wine capsule and a forward-looking/thinking resealable wine bottle closure. The logotype’s color-separated arrows forming the “O” imply this duality of function. As a bonus, it’s bold and simple enough to reproduce quite small on the capsule itself.
868 Estate Winery Logo
When you start with a great name, great design gets a lot easier, and longtime Balzac clients Carl and Erin DiManno always pick great names for their brands. If you read this eNewsletter, you've seen proof of this before in the logotype we created for their former brand, Revolution. Marketing acumen strikes again in their first series of estate offerings, hailing from their very own art, tasting and dining destination property in the up-and-coming winemaking haven of Virginia (wait for it). 868 Estate is the place, and the branding was developed with ordained iterations for vertical and horizontal usage that carry equal elegance and weight. Each year Balzac works with their gallery curator to pick pieces by local fine artists most reflective of the 868 aesthetic, and adjust color cues accordingly.