A taxidermy sea lion suspended by pink balloons. That’s what people see upon entering Merrie Mill’s tasting room. And it makes for a fitting summation of Elizabeth Pelly’s (owner and creative director of Merrie Mill) weirdly whimsical design aesthetic. The challenge for the Joe Smith team became how to reverse-engineer an interior design into a personality that could govern the whole brand. We began by creating a narrative that positioned Merrie Mill as a “World of Wine and Wonderment" and built out a lexicon that translated the character of the physical space into a manner of speaking. We then poured this personality into label designs rich with stories and symbolism. Since, their launch, Merrie Mill’s playful packaging has enchanted customers and racked up awards ‒ beating out some of the biggest names in the beverage biz in numerous brand and design competitions.
Not bad for a family-owned winery in rural Virginia.