Before Website Design
Though aesthetic sophistication is often wrapped with tradition, elegance does not transcend or preclude progressive flare. It was the melding of these two concepts that informed our design when young Imperatrix Cellars came to us for their winery's website design. They had multiple products on one site and, as they were about to bottle, it was time for their wine to have its own stage. The website design needed to communicate the earthy minimalism and young attitude of the brand while holding on to the air of sophistication embodied by the wine industry.
The philosophy of Imperatrix holds that the grape should tell its own story. The varietal, earth, weather, water and air give the fruit its flavor. As a winemaker, Jake sees it as his job to tell the grape's story, not write his own. In contrast to a Rombauer or Cakebread Chardonnay, every year is different. It was, therefore, our job to tell the story of Imperatrix.
They wanted something to communicate the brand identity rather than to promote ecommerce or to draw tasting room visitors. The purpose of the site was to educate and sell the idea.
Through discussion, we developed the outline of a creative brief that would inform the subsequent steps. The design would have to be:
- A blend of humans and nature
- Easily navigable
Being new to the scene, we could not boast the Vanderbiltian heritage that commands respect in the industry. Imperatrix had no gatekeeper, no sponsor into the circles of the esteemed that would allow us to stand with tradition. So we let go of the expected and decided to build something that would not try to be "one of them." Let's be contradictory because in contrast lies beauty.
Website Design Implementation
The black of the page is not void. It is shrouded in mystery, a surprise to be
revealed and enjoyed. Just as the terrior makes each vintage a new experience, your eyes explore the mystery of the page. In minimalist approach that mirrors Imperatrix's wine making, the black and white scheme avoids over complication and lets the forms tell the narrative. It retains the style of a tuxedo or little black dress, never out of style.
The monochromatic, organic style matches the logo. The clean, high contrast lines keep the site from appearing too urban or distressed.
The simple, large format illustrations and organic layout of the homepage coupled with the high value contrast reflect modern design aesthetics. We stepped away from the traditional photography used in so many winery website designs. Custom graphics took their place. The sharp color-contrast of the graphics gives them an almost "shiny" appearance.
We let the design cascade down the page like flowing wine. It spills over the invisible edges of pretension and class to make itself accessible to a wider audience. Rather than spilled like a bottle drunkenly kicked over, the wine is escaping the bottle, showing itself and telling a story, as every wine should. Imperatrix is not about the bottle or the label, it is about the wine. A wine that lets the true flavor of the grape express itself, unadulterated.
The color accent of the rollover effect ads a spark of color that is both striking and calming while guiding your eye as you search the rich black of the page. As expected, navigation is in the header and footer. Interface should always be intuitive.
The difference is in the feel, the atmosphere and the flavor. We have created an aesthetic design that lets the viewer really feel what Imperatrix is all about. By blending the classic with the modern and human with nature we have created something unique. An identity is communicated.
Let us communicate your identity